Luton Town 1-1 Liverpool
Kenilworth Road, Premier League
Sunday 5 November 2023
Goals: Chong 80′; Diaz 90+5′
Alisson – 6 (out of 10)
There was a lot of first half noise but Ali was probably wondering what all the fuss was about – he had a largely watching brief, other than one early, rolling shot straight at him.
Was called upon just past the hour mark to make a massive save from Morris, but couldn’t do much when left exposed on the counter-attack late on. One big stoppage time parry to leave it all square.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 4
Had his hands full defensively with Chiedoze Ogbene and certainly couldn’t claim to have won that battle, even if he did block a few dribbles and attempted passes inside.
One great pass freed Nunez to hit the bar but otherwise was kept to a minimum in terms of attacking output.
Easily beaten on the run by Ogbene for Luton‘s big chance just past the hour, poor set pieces throughout.
Ibrahima Konate – 5
A majestic surge forward through about eight challenges opened things up nicely early on, though he couldn’t find a pass at the end. Very Joel Matip of him all the same.
A few too many fouls at times, needlessly aggressive at times. But his speed and physicality were also required at times to deal with Morris. Almost equalised with a late header just wide.
Virgil van Dijk – 6 – Man of the Match
Dominant in the air against a barrage of deliveries and long passes. One surge forward to try and open up the game worked well but the skipper was primarily, and naturally, concerned with keeping the door closed at the other end.
Didn’t really do anything wrong, thought he had a penalty just before Luton went and scored.
Joe Gomez – 5
Lined up at left-back for the first time this season from the start of a match – we might see him a few more times here before the year’s out.
Offered a decent outlet first half, running ahead of play when he could, though of course there was no direct service from him into the box from that side.
Did get turned around a few times after the restart and subbed in the triple change, unsurprisingly.
Use of him at left-back left Liverpool far too narrow.
Alexis Mac Allister – 4
Sloppy start in possession and was one of the Reds who got caught up in the physicality and frantic nature of the game.
Got his eye poked, which earned him plenty of jeering from the home crowd, then was taken out by a pretty poor challenge just before the break and followed it all up with an air-kick half volley.
Booked after the restart for a foul following his own loss of the ball to compound what had been a really poor afternoon’s work – he’ll now be suspended next week vs. Brentford.
Clearly not a No.6, and this game shows why.
Dominik Szoboszlai – 5
Couldn’t really dictate anything at all first half, with the Reds at least matched for run and fight by the Hatters.
Once or twice tried to pull wide or drop deep to get on the ball and create from range, but this was his poorest game since signing by a margin and although it was still a surprise to see him be subbed, he could not really have any complaints.
Most notable thing he did was boot a ball out of the stadium with a Luton man down injured.
Ryan Gravenberch – 6
Marginalised a little in the game’s early stages but one bursting run saw him beat two and set up a chance for Jota.
A bit more inventive and forceful with his passing forward than his midfield teammates but still another game where he struggled to have a 90-minute-long impact. A left-footed strike was saved with ten minutes to go.
Mohamed Salah – 5
Kept wide in search of space and a couple of times had running opportunities at his man but by and large on the periphery first half.
Had a great opening when he half-volleyed miles off target, after a poorly cleared set-piece dropped invitingly to him.
Other than that it was slim pickings for Mo, who has been tasked with creating a lot more this term again and didn’t really get anything made for him – a tough 90 minutes.
Darwin Nunez – 5
On a shooting mission right from kick-off. Hit the bar and forced the ‘keeper into two saves, all in the first 15 minutes of the game.
That’s four efforts against the woodwork this term – no other Premier League player has struck it more than twice.
Some of the efforts weren’t tremendous, but he was at least fashioning moments – nobody else did in the first half.
Then again, the frustrations with him at times are easy to see: he might have been offside but still should have scored from three yards, instead blazing over.
Diogo Jota – 5
Had one sight of goal just after the half-hour mark and forced a near-post save but didn’t really offer enough for long spells. A good run down the left just before half-time, but it didn’t lead to a chance.
Some hard running, a few fouls, not a whole lot else.
Harvey Elliott (on for Szoboszlai, 66′) – 7 – Plenty of energy but no cutting edge – then delivered the brilliant cross for the equaliser.
Kostas Tsimikas (on for Gomez, 66′) – 5 – Gave us a crossing outlet but didn’t deliver a whole lot.
Cody Gakpo (on for Jota, 66′) – 5 – Could have scored within minutes but couldn’t control his close-range effort.
Luis Diaz (on for Gravenberch, 82′) – 10 – Made his return to action, scored a 95th-minute equaliser. Have to love him.
Subs not used: Names here Kelleher, Matip, Quansah, Endo, Doak
Jurgen Klopp – 5
The boss shuffled his pack with some expected returns and one or two choice calls made including Gomez starting at left-back.
While nothing backfired, as such, he can’t have been happy with the output either; the Reds created very little from actual open-play chances, struggled to match the hosts’ physicality at times and almost fell behind on the hour mark.
That was enough for Klopp to react with a triple sub but there was still very little about the team other than seeming to hope for a moment of magic; no real patterns to open up a stubborn defence fighting for their lives, no clear change in policy other than a slight alteration to leave two up top.
This would have been a humiliating defeat for Liverpool and for Klopp, no question, and only Diaz, of all people, stopped some massive questions and headlines.