A step forward for the Reds as the losing run in the league was halted, but in truth nowhere near enough of an improvement as Liverpool drew 0-0 with Chelsea.
Liverpool 0-0 Chelsea
Premier League (19), Anfield
Saturday, 21 January 2023
Alisson Becker – 8 (out of 10)
Made a brilliant save on his line to deny Badiashile and was really authoritative in the air after the visitors threatened the first few times from set plays.
Quick off his line, did what he needed to.
His first cleansheet in the league since October against West Ham, 10 games ago.
James Milner – 6
Crossing was questionable to say the least, but he fared well defensively in the few one-v-ones he had in the first half.
Did partake in some good build-up play down the right and tried to overlap Salah whenever possible.
As soon as Mudryk came on it was a clear problem with pace and he took the early booking as a welcome to the Premier League. Got away with it a bit as the Ukrainian had two chances behind him off crosses before Milly was subbed.
Ibrahima Konate – 8
Mostly dealt well with Havertz in the first half and played out of the back well.
Constantly in position to make important and necessary interceptions and a generally strong showing.
Followed Havertz out to midfield at times and gave a few fouls away to ensure there was no running in behind him.
Joe Gomez – 8 – Man of the Match
A little loose and sloppy on the ball early on, like a few of his teammates, and made some needless fouls which put the Reds under pressure.
But he also recovered ground quickly, was solid in the air and second half was quick to step out of defence and really keep the pressure on Chelsea.
Defended well against Gallagher twice in the box and went on one Matip-style adventure, before a vital block on Ziyech’s shot. Now he needs consistency.
Andy Robertson – 8
The only real outlet in the first half with his surging runs down the flank.
This was good, as he played at speed and made some good exchanges to open space, but also bad, as his final pass was overhit or misdirected every time – though he almost nipped in to score, too.
Great battle with Ziyech all game and a crucial late block on Chukwuemeka.
Stefan Bajcetic – 8
Definitely deserved to stay in the side and was a strong performer from the base of midfield, winning a few tackles but more notably being quick to take up good positions when the Reds lost possession and being clever on the ball himself.
A few shifts of the body moved opponents out of the way in style and he was also useful in the air in both halves of the pitch.
Naby Keita – 7
A first league start of the season and played pretty well – not too dramatic on the ball and sloppy with too many passes, but diligent with his positional play, hard-working in the channels and one or two moments where he forced the issue in attack.
Never a display which was going to win the match, but most importantly given midfield issues this term, also not a performance to lose it.
Thiago Alcantara – 8
Simultaneously the best midfielder on the pitch and the riskiest one. Some excellent changes of direction in play and always our main conduit through the middle but played too many dangerous balls which were intercepted.
A very dynamic performance and it was good to see some real pressure built up by the midfield functioning better off the ball, with Thiago key to it.
Mohamed Salah – 6
Really quiet for most of the first half as we didn’t really get him involved, but then had two great chances: an air shot and a curler miles over.
Was more involved in our play second half and had a couple of other openings, but it was far from vintage Mo; why can’t he beat a man any more?!
Cody Gakpo – 6
Quiet early on but got himself a lot more involved after he went wandering around deeper areas.
The nicest parts were some aerial wins to keep moves going and a few clever bits of link play, but he also earned himself a shot after a press and tackle outside the Chelsea box.
The biggest threat on goal, but not a constant or clinical one – firing over in an erratic manner.
Harvey Elliott – 6
A midweek winner was enough to earn him a starting spot here, playing left wing this time. Sent over one good cross but otherwise it was much more about short link passes and industry to hold position.
Went central midfield for the last half hour and the team play suffered in truth.
Darwin Nunez (on for Keita, 61′) – 7 – Brought energy and a few chances but no finesse.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (on for Milner, 71′) – 6 – Blazed a good chance over the bar.
Jordan Henderson (on for Elliott, 81′) – n/a – One good run down the right but didn’t deliver the best ball.
Curtis Jones (on for Gakpo, 81′) – n/a – Couple of driving runs, booked for a foul after a foul on him wasn’t given on the edge of the box.
Fabinho (on for Bajcetic, 81′) – n/a – Very nearly lost us the game with a loose pass outside the box.
Subs not used: Kelleher, Matip, Tsimikas, Oxlade-Chamberlain
Jurgen Klopp – 7
His 1000th game as manager and probably in his top 10 for most frustrating.
It was well overdue for the boss to leave players out who were underperforming and this time he did it – Hendo, Matip, Trent and Fabinho among those who didn’t return to the XI.
The reward was a much steadier showing out of possession, a team which looked a bit more cohesive defensively – if still not exactly firing on all cylinders on the ball.
As for the subs, they probably came at the right times, though leaving Elliott in the middle didn’t work out.
The end of the match was totally scrappy without any control for either side, resulting in the boss mainly bellowing at the officials for not giving throw-ins the Reds’ way.
Overall he got the decisions right, but the quality was lacking to take the points.