Liverpool are through to the Champions League quarter-finals despite a fairly low-key showing and a 1-0 defeat to Inter Milan, with the away-leg goals proving key.
Liverpool 0-1 Inter Milan
Champions League Last 16 2nd Leg, Anfield
March 8, 2022
Goal: Martinez 61′
Alisson – 7 (out of 10)
Beaten by a rocket he couldn’t do much about, having been mostly untroubled for an hour beforehand.
Good with his distribution and aerial handling, nothing too worrisome in terms of having to race out of his box and so on.
Got the commentators a bit nervous with side-stepping the press at times but honestly, is anyone Liverpool-related even vaguely concerned by this any more?!
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8 – Man of the Match
Close to scoring a free-kick just before the break but most of his first half was spent far deeper than usual, with the Reds having no major need to bust a gut in attack being two goals to the good.
Overall he was Liverpool’s top performer: diligent in possession, really good defensively against Inter’s best outlet in Ivan Perisic and sent a string of enticing set-pieces into the box.
Joel Matip – 7
Hit the bar with a header like a cannonball.
Was mostly good in terms of defensive work but did also rattle a few cages with some overly aggressive challenges. Gifted the ball away for the Inter goal.
Virgil van Dijk – 7
It must be so demoralising to think you’re in on goal, then suddenly realise the covering defender is Virgil van Dijk – we assume that’s why Lautaro is always so keen to give up the ghost after about two steps when it’s a race.
Then again, that’s probably why he scored a worldie – didn’t want to run our No. 4, so just hit it.
Totally dominant on long passes, recoveries and aerials, but Virgil definitely should have closed Martinez down a lot quicker before the strike.
Andy Robertson – 7
Yeah, decent. Pretty standard Robbo fare, to be honest. What more do you need?
Fabinho – 7
Fairly sloppy in possession early on and had a few dubious fouls go against him, but grew into the game soon after.
Some of his challenges in midfield were class and once the Reds clocked onto the ref basically letting everything go unpunished, Fab started to dominate a lot more and force Inter to bypass that zone with higher passes – which were perfect for Virgil to deal with.
Thiago – 8
Fortunate not to get a pretty bad injury when Alexis Sanchez decided to tackle pretty much the outside of his knee, with the ref naturally opting against so much as a free-kick.
Antonio Mateu Lahoz was dreadful. Thiago wasn’t, though.
His ball work was absolutely sensational at times, helping craft some of our best chances and being typically solid with his midfield pressing work too.
Curtis Jones – 8
Restored to the team, he put in a really strong first-half showing with his dribbling, winning the ball back quickly and ability to switch play.
Fouled a few times on account of being far more agile than an ancient-looking Arturo Vidal and having the capacity to change direction quickly.
Played a decent hour before the changes.
Mohamed Salah – 7
Kept very quiet in the first half without much supply line or combination play around him.
Much more involved in buildup play second half and later in the game when spaces opened up and was absurdly unlucky not to score at least one.
Hit one post on a fairly easy chance, hit the other post on a brilliant right-footed finish on the bounce and generally proved unstoppable with his close control and crazy footwork in one-on-ones.
Sadio Mane – 5
Just about the brightest of the front three in the first half, through a couple of early individual moments, but had hardly anything going for him after the break.
Notably fell over the ball and failed to really get quick enough link-ups going with Robertson or Jota, and didn’t really look a goal threat at all.
Diogo Jota – 4
Looked like Diogo thought he was sub again for the first half of the game, given his lack of touch and movement.
Didn’t really get involved in buildup play in a positive way, lost possession far too easily and then was booked for a foul just outside the Reds’ box.
Not the type of performance to keep him in the team with players fit and available and competition for places fierce now.
Jordan Henderson (on for Jones, 65′) – 7 – Added a bit of nark, one or two fast exchanges to move the ball on.
Luis Diaz (on for Jota, 83′) – N/A – Should have scored!
Subs not used: Adrian, Kelleher, Gomez, Tsimikas, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Elliott, Minamino, Origi
Jurgen Klopp – 7
A surprise midfield lineup but certainly nothing to complain about with the changes – everyone coming in was either a regular starter or a first-team option.
If any of the woodwork chances go in then we have no discussion to have whatsoever – the team was fine, the game wasn’t lost, the Reds go through.
As such, it shouldn’t really be a ‘thing’ that Klopp’s team wasn’t the right one and so on, though the forward line definitely needs a word or two (or a very intense training session or two) to get them back up to speed with combination play, finishing and linking with each other.
Subs were fine, looked to establish midfield control, though there was definitely a case to make a half-time change with Jota coming off.
And not making five subs when he could have, just days after asking for it again, won’t go down well in some circles either.