Liverpool were thumped 4-1 away to Man City on their return to Premier League action, with so many players again simply not good enough.
Man City 4-1 Liverpool
Premier League (28), Etihad
April 1, 2023
Goals: Alvarez 27′, De Bruyne 46′, Gundogan 53′, Grealish 74′; Salah 17′
Alisson (out of 10) – 4
Alisson has been Liverpool’s standout player this season and he was largely a safe pair of hands, despite the harrowing scoreline.
The Brazilian’s distribution in tight spaces was largely reliable and his handling was good, although he was arguably questionable for Kevin De Bruyne’s goal after staying on his line.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 3
This certainly hasn’t been Trent’s season and this was a performance that rather summed up his disappointing campaign to date.
The right-back struggled to affect matters in the attacking third, often being pinned back, and he got into needless tussles with Jack Grealish, committing a number of fouls and being run ragged by him.
This is still a shadow of the player who has wowed us all for the last four or five years – far too sloppy.
Ibrahima Konate – 4
Konate’s presence in Liverpool’s defence was much-appreciated, given the form of Joel Matip and Joe Gomez, but he was nothing more than adequate overall.
One misplaced pass put the Reds in trouble before half-time, and while his pace and strength were important at times, he was part of a dysfunctional defence.
Virgil van Dijk – 4
Like Konate, Van Dijk was solid a lot of the time at the Etihad, but when you lose 4-1 you have to shoulder some of the blame.
He looked more focused than he did during a lethargic showing at Bournemouth, for example, but De Bruyne got in front of him to put the hosts 2-1 up and he looked increasingly lost as the minutes passed.
Still not the Van Dijk we were once in awe of.
Andy Robertson – 3
Robertson is so often Liverpool’s Mr. Consistent, but he was completely out of sorts.
His final ball and general use of it was erratic, putting his team-mates in danger, and he jumped in on De Bruyne in the lead-up to Julian Alvarez’s goal, allowing the whole pitch to open up.
Can be so much better and was deservedly substituted.
Fabinho – 4
For about 10 minutes on Saturday, it looked as though Fabinho has aged another decade during the international break!
Three fouls in quick succession made it look as though he was miles off the pace, but thankfully, he did at least get a little better.
He made some key interceptions and one vital block to stop an Ilkay Gundogan shot, although he still isn’t the force of old and he was horribly lacking in intensity for Gundogan’s goal.
Harvey Elliott – 5 (Man of the Match)
Elliott was comfortably the youngest midfielder on the pitch, but for much of the game he looked as mature as anyone.
In possession, he used the ball intelligently and with purpose – his pass nearly led to Mohamed Salah squaring for a clean-through Diogo Jota – and he also mucked in defensively.
Not the most physical, which can be an issue, but Liverpool’s best midfielder on the day.
Jordan Henderson – 3
While a lack of legs has become abundantly clear in Henderson’s game this season, so has an all-round lack of quality of composure.
Far too often, the skipper went with a hit-and-hope approach or was robbed in possession, and he needed to be far calmer overall and more switched on positionally.
This was yet another game that showed how far past his best Henderson is.
Mohamed Salah – 5
Salah was the match-winner against City at Anfield earlier this season, and for a short time on Saturday, he looked like he may play an important role again.
The Reds’ legendary No. 11 fired Liverpool in front with an emphatic finish, in what was his 23rd goal of a supposedly ‘poor’ season, but was then given no service whatsoever.
He always looked like a threat, combining movement, speed and such underrated strength, but wasn’t helped out at all.
Diogo Jota – 4
Much has been made of Jota’s lack of goals – he hasn’t scored in the Premier League for nearly a year – and he struggled overall on the left-hand side against City.
He teed up Salah for his goal after holding the ball up well, but his influence wasn’t too noticeable and City got a grip on him.
Cody Gakpo – 4
Gakpo led the line, as he has done so often, but he was one of so many who was on the periphery of things, despite flashes of silky quality.
He had one penalty shout and was also denied by Ederson, before being given offside, but he simply didn’t do enough overall.
The least of Liverpool’s problems on the day, in fairness.
Kostas Tsimikas (on for Robertson, 70′) – 4
Was barely noticeable, but was at least slightly better than Robertson!
Roberto Firmino (on for Jota, 70′) – 4
Had no impact at all.
Darwin Nunez (on for Salah, 70′) – 4
Slipped over once – did he do anything else?
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (on for Elliott, 70′) – 3
Abysmal work ethic for the fourth goal. Get rid.
James Milner (on for Gakpo, 82′) – N/A
No time to affect matters against his former club, with the game over when he came on.
Subs not used: Kelleher, Matip, Gomez, Arthur
Jurgen Klopp – 3
After 16 days without a game, this was a huge afternoon for Klopp, who desperately needs to inspire his side to an improved run of form.
Given the calibre of Liverpool’s opponents on the day, this wasn’t necessarily a nadir for the season overall, but effort levels, focus and quality were again not up to scratch.
Klopp will know that more than anyone, and while top-four hopes are not dead yet, he must be desperate for this grim season to just end.
Next up: Chelsea away on Tuesday night – frankly, another defeat is to be expected, on this evidence.