Liverpool’s top-four hopes effectively ended with a 1-1 draw at home to Aston Villa on Saturday, despite some late Roberto Firmino drama.
Liverpool 1-1 Aston Villa
Premier League (37), Anfield
May 20, 2023
Goals: Firmino 90′; Ramsey 27′
Alisson (out of 10) – 7
Alisson was again one of Liverpool’s strongest performers at Anfield, with his sheer presence arguably playing a part in Ollie Watkins missing a penalty.
He made one big save to deny Douglas Luiz after the Reds had been opened up, and couldn’t do anything about Jacob Ramsey’s opener.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 5
Alexander-Arnold has been in imperious form of late, excelling in a tweaked role, but he was less effective here overall.
He switched off at the back post, allowing Ramsey to steer home the opening goal – we have seen that too often this season – and his passing radar wasn’t as inch-perfect as usual.
Booked after kicking the ball away and looked hugely agitated.
Ibrahima Konate – 6
Konate has been Liverpool’s best centre-back this season, but this wasn’t one of his best showings of the campaign.
He clumsily conceded the penalty that Watkins missed and generally didn’t look as composed and dominant as he has of late.
Still some good moments, though, preventing one counter-attacker from the visitors after the break.
Virgil van Dijk – 7 (Man of the Match)
Van Dijk has been much better in recent weeks and he was largely good this time out, doing his job in effective and unruffled fashion.
The Dutchman was good in the air, while one great Bobby Moore-esque interception also stood out, and it was hard to think of a poor moment, despite the scoreline.
Andy Robertson – 4
Robertson really struggled to make an impact against a well-drilled Villa side, often looking frantic and growing increasingly frustrated by some of the officiating.
He was solid enough defensively, but he couldn’t get going in an attacking sense and his relationship with Luis Diaz down the left flank didn’t click.
Awful crossing throughout.
Fabinho – 6
Fabinho was certainly a noticeable presence on Saturday, but it was a mix of good, bad and frustrating on show.
He committed several early fouls that affected Liverpool’s rhythm – some of them were soft, in fairness – but he did also time some tackles well.
Still not the player he was.
Jordan Henderson – 4
Henderson has been way below the required standard too often this season and he was desperately disappointing once more against Villa.
There was no creativity to be seen on the ball, with too many aimless crosses sent into the penalty area with no pace of them, and he no longer has the legs to help dominate midfield battles.
Liverpool can do much better in that right-sided No. 8 role now.
Curtis Jones – 5
Jones has been superb lately, enjoying a pleasing run of form and plenty of minutes, but he couldn’t have the same influence at Anfield.
The 22-year-old was neat and tidy, with one early flick summing up his confidence, but he was on the periphery of things too often.
Could do with getting rid of the ball quicker at times.
Mohamed Salah – 5
Salah has again been Liverpool’s most impressive attacking player in 2022/23, but Villa largely did an excellent job against him.
He looked to make things happen, twisting and turning in tight areas, but too often it was to no avail – although he did assist Firmino’s equaliser.
Some of his decision-making and use of the ball left a lot to be desired, especially by his world-class standards.
Luis Diaz – 5
It’s only natural that Diaz is looking for match fitness and rhythm after such a long time out injured, and he struggled at Anfield.
His pre-injury goal threat has evaded him and he ran down blind alleys and lost the ball, with his general touch not quite there currently.
Just giving him minutes this season feels like a bonus – next term is the one to properly judge him.
Cody Gakpo – 5
Gakpo is a lovely footballer to watch, but there are times when a little more is needed and this was one of those occasions.
The 23-year-old old failed to link with those around him, being gobbled up by a well-organised Villa defence, and it was hard to think of a genuinely telling attacking contribution, aside from his disallowed goal.
Better days lie ahead for him.
Diogo Jota (on for Jones, 63′) – 5
Couldn’t get going, like so many attackers. Messy on the ball.
James Milner (on for Henderson, 72′) – 6
Not the farewell Milner would have hoped for, in what was a quiet final Anfield appearance.
Roberto Firmino (on for Diaz, 72′) – 7
Bobby just had to score, didn’t he? Not a winner, but a nice way to bow out at Anfield.
Kostas Tsimikas (on for Robertson, 72′) – 5
Similar to Robertson, in terms of poor final ball.
Harvey Elliott (on for Fabinho, 81′) – 6
Didn’t have time to make a proper impression on the game.
Subs not used: Kelleher, Gomez, Matip, Carvalho
Jurgen Klopp – 6
Sitting in the stands as he serves a touchline ban, Klopp will have been so frustrated with what he witnessed.
Not only were Liverpool flat, but the refereeing performance of John Brooks was abysmal, with Tyrone Mings somehow avoiding a red card and Gakpo’s goal mysteriously ruled out for offside.
Klopp failed to get a good display out of his team, as they ended their home campaign in a disappointing manner, and the boss will just be wanting the campaign to end now.