This frankly idiotic season took an unbelievable turn for the bizarre on Sunday as Liverpool took a three-goal lead only to win 4-3 late on against Tottenham.
Liverpool 4-3 Tottenham
Premier League (33), Anfield
April 30, 2023
Goals: Jones 3′, Diaz 5′, Salah pen 15′, Jota 90+4′; Kane 40′, Son 77′, Richarlison 90+2′
Alisson – 6 (out of 10)
Calm on the ball under pressure but was left weirdly exposed by his defence considering we went three up so fast.
Was beaten six times: Kane scored, three times Spurs struck the post, Son scored, Richarlison thought he’d taken a point.
Couldn’t do anything about any of them, so no huge blame attached, and he was strong aerially when he needed to be – but the amount he had to do is a real concern.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8
If earlier in the season he was one of the worst in the team, now he’s arguably the best on the ball.
Looks full of confidence again, passing the ball anywhere he wants and with far more licence to break forward centrally at pace.
Great ball in for Jones’ goal and fed openings for Gakpo too early on.
There was another goal scored against Liverpool down his flank, but this isn’t really a Trent issue, more one for Klopp to fix tactically – who covers when? Why is it a rotating, reactive cast which fills that space?
Ibrahima Konate – 5
Very aggressive with his challenges higher upfield than usual, happy to step into midfield to do so and track Kane really deep.
Did well pulling wider to right-back too when he needed in the first half, but several times seemed to switch off with runners behind centrally.
Lucky when Son sprinted beyond him once and hit the post; got no such luck the second time around as the South Korean scored.
Did make a big tackle in the box soon after, but far too ragged and we had no defensive line.
Virgil van Dijk – 6
An untimely slip saw Perisic get past him too easily for Spurs’ first-half goal, but just before that, he’d made a brilliant block on the line to prevent them scoring.
Like Konate, caught too easily slightly out of position, leaving easy runs forward for Spurs forwards and could never get back in behind them.
Andy Robertson – 5
A very strong start with his overlaps and winning tackles, but then also a couple of very loose moments – found himself nowhere helpful and lost Kane for his goal, then almost gave another away straight away when Kulusevski robbed him.
A bit better defensively after the break but didn’t stop a succession of crosses from his side.
Fabinho – 7
Looked in good shape as he kept the Reds’ play moving smoothly, won back the ball in typical fashion in midfield and produced at least two of his trademark wide-eyed ‘that’s a terrible decision, ref’ faces.
Totally bypassed second half with Spurs’ fightback as they went direct from deep straight into the attacking line, but late on made a couple of big clearances.
Harvey Elliott – 6
A first real involvement for Elliott in a while and it maybe showed a little in terms of his early involvement.
Worked hard and got himself into the game more as it went on, but as could be expected, didn’t fare particularly well in terms of the defensive job behind Trent.
Curtis Jones – 7
Has had such a good run of form of late and thoroughly deserves his run in the team. Great finish to open the scoring early on.
Tremendous work rate once more and this is why he’s winning a place in the side at the end of the campaign – the mix of industry and ingenuity, with a goal and an assist now in the past few games.
Mohamed Salah – 7
Put those penalty problems behind him to clip one into the roof of the net and was a real menace in most of the Reds’ build-up play.
Didn’t always make the right decision to be totally truthful, with some wayward passes at the end of his dribbles or no end product at all, but he’s such an outlet and constant threat that he kept Perisic deep for long stretches.
Some very good tracking back, too, both outside their box and racing back down the flanks.
Luis Diaz – 8
A first start since coming back from injury – and what a start. Brilliantly taken goal on the volley and some of those trademark dribbles infield which caused havoc.
Just having his energy and aggression back is a really big thing for the team – with more fitness and match form will come more of that world-class final-third threat.
Cody Gakpo – 8 – Man of the Match
Really lively start saw him set up one and win a penalty for another in the first 15 minutes. Showed great movement and first touch, albeit with Spurs allowing him acres any time he wanted, and really made the most of it.
Definitely deserves praise today for some good tracking back and ball-winning too, nicking challenges and restarting play as Spurs shuffled out of defence.
Jordan Henderson (on for Elliott, 62′) – 4 – Dismal. Lost the ball too easily and certainly didn’t win it back.
Diogo Jota (on for Diaz, 62′) – 7 – Somewhat lucky not to get a red card for kicking Skipp in the head – then buried a superb stoppage-time winner for his fifth goal in four appearances.
Darwin Nunez (on for Gakpo, 73′) – 5 – Bustling, but we were poor by the time he came on.
James Milner (on for Jones, 86′) – n/a – Got booked. Not sure there was much else.
Subs not used: Kelleher, Gomez, Matip, Tsimikas, Carvalho
Jurgen Klopp – 6
Well, this strange match probably shows a few things: we have a good team and from an attacking perspective it’s set up to benefit them.
But, defensively, this system still has gaping holes in it and it all only underlines in big, thick lines that midfield signings this summer are crucial – not just for options but for tactical balance.
Clearly there’s plenty that Liverpool are doing right in training. The buildup play looks better, the home form and confidence when the ball starts to flow is good.
But it can’t simply be a matter of waiting until summer to fix some glaring gaps in the middle, and now behind Trent when he roves infield.
Another worry would be the fact that again the subs made the team considerably worse, with Darwin, Jota and Henderson doing little to maintain possession, composure on the ball or relieve pressure with defensive acumen.
All told, from a fantastic first 15 minutes this game was a real slog thereafter and the total lack of control almost proved costly.
It did for Klopp anyway – he pulled his hamstring celebrating by shouting at the fourth official!