Liverpool returned to action and returned to winning ways, smashing Arsenal and their 10-match unbeaten run all over the place to run out 4-0 victors.
Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal
Premier League (12), Anfield
November 20, 2021
Goals: Mane 39′, Jota 51′, Salah 73′, Minamino 76′
Alisson – 8 (out of 10)
Saved a very routine shot and beyond that didn’t have anything to do except pass out in the first half.
After the break, it was hardly an onslaught he faced either, but his two saves were excellent: an outstretched boot to stop Aubameyang’s effort across goal and a flying tip over the bar.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 9
Blunderbuss shot tipped over, great low cross almost gave Jota a tap-in and a wicked free-kick delivery assisted Mane – a very standard Trent first half, in other words.
Second half was largely more of the same, but better: another excellent assist near the end, loads of good moments backing up the press, several chances made with quick passes and switches.
Joel Matip – 8
The sight of our Cameroonian centre-back taking on opposition strikers will never not be magic.
Didn’t have huge amounts to do given Arsenal attacked about eight times all game, but his passing out was good, he defended a couple of free-kicks well and he had a beaming Joel Matip Special Smile more than once, which is good for an extra point.
Virgil van Dijk – 8
Fairly strong and dominant against the direct balls forward, with one or two recoveries when called upon – notably right after the restart with Aubameyang running through.
A bit of a stroll for the Dutch captain.
Kostas Tsimikas – 8
His crosses are just wicked. With every passing performance which impresses in both halves of the pitch, there’s more emphasis on an upcoming question about which left-back deserves to start on a weekly basis.
Could have been in for a goal himself once or twice if his runs had been spotted.
Fabinho – 9
Two fantastic first-half interventions from a defensive perspective including a must-win tackle when Arsenal countered two-on-one.
Was exceptional all game long, not just winning the ball but with really positive distribution, blocking their runs forward and making sure the entire midfield line was in proper position.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 9 – Man of the Match
Bit of a debate in TIA Towers as to whether Fab or Ox got the nod for the award, but the No. 15 was excellent and just edges it.
A really good first half where he was busy harassing opposition players, made a great block inside his own six-yard box and was driving forward in possession whenever possible.
Pressed the life out of Arsenal‘s back line, creating a number of chances as a result, and side-footed a shot of his own just past the post after the restart.
Amazing what game time and confidence can do for a player.
Thiago – 8
A few misplaced passes early on but quickly grew into the game, having an increasingly important impact on the Reds’ performance.
Sprayed it all over the pitch, was never rushed when they tried to press him and helped fashion several openings.
Mohamed Salah – 9
Didn’t really get the great shooting chances fall his way for most of the match but was a huge part of the team’s relentless chance creation, especially second half.
Teed up Jota for what should have been a goal, helped win back the ball for another goal and then took his chance from close range before freeing Trent for Taki’s fourth.
Some of his first touches on the sideline were ridiculously good.
Sadio Mane – 8
Gave the ball away eight times, then riled up Arteta, then scored and then booted Ben White into Row 8 for a yellow card. Quite a busy first half.
After the break he was a lot more involved and lot more finessed with his on-the-ball work, culminating in a brilliant assist for Salah.
Diogo Jota – 8
Was busy without really being effective for a chunk of the first half, but ended up with a sublime goal, two great chances for others and loads of moments where he almost set up strikes for his partners in attack.
A typical Jota game of moments and end product!
Takumi Minamino (on for Jota, 75′) – 7 – On, run, goal!
Jordan Henderson (on for Oxlade-Chamberlain, 75′) – 7 – Brilliant lofted pass for the fourth.
Tyler Morton (on for Thiago, 84′) – N/A – Premier League debut, a great moment.
Subs not used: Kelleher, Konate, Phillips, Beck, Bradley, Gordon
Jurgen Klopp – 10
One has to question exactly what went through Mikel Arteta’s mind when he tried to shout down maybe the most wild and vocally aggressive – and very tall – manager in European football over the last few years.
It was never likely to end well.
In any case, Klopp’s team selection was not really ‘right’ so much as ‘what was available’, but the planning of where and when to target the Gunners was spot-on.
A slow start, sure, but once the atmosphere and tempo cranked up, there was only one winner.