Liverpool were infuriatingly flat in their 0-0 draw at home to Man United on Sunday, with some top players so far below their best.
Liverpool 0-0 Man United
Premier League (17), Anfield
December 17, 2023
Red card: Dalot 90′
Alisson (out of 10) – 7
For much of Sunday’s game, Alisson was like a spectator, watching his team-mates desperately try to find some quality in the final third.
He made a big save to deny Rasmus Hojlund fairly late on, though, as United grew in confidence when the game opened up.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6
While some had predicted Alexander-Arnold to start in midfield, he remained at right-back, but struggled to influence proceedings.
His wand of right foot wasn’t at its pinpoint best, and defensively he didn’t always look entirely comfortable when Alejandro Garnacho ran at him.
More involved when he went into midfield, though, and fired inches wide, as well as making a vital tackle on Garnacho when he was clean through.
Ibrahima Konate – 7
The Frenchman wasn’t forced into action too much, but he kept the ball ticking over and was reliable when asked to get stuck in.
Should have connected with a header late on, though, and drilled a shot straight at Andre Onana.
Virgil van Dijk – 8 (Man of the Match)
Like Konate, Van Dijk wasn’t exactly busy in a defensive sense, but he was so dominant when he needed to be, helping extinguish threats.
He was typically calm on the ball and kept United’s attack quiet, and tested Onana with a first-half header.
Kostas Tsimikas – 7
Tsimikas was arguably one of Liverpool’s livelier players at Anfield, providing constant overlapping runs but not always being found by greedy team-mates.
Did well up against Antony in an interesting duel, too, and continues to do a dependable job in the absence of Andy Robertson.
Wataru Endo – 6
Endo carried on in defensive midfield, and while he was efficient in the middle of the park, there was a lack of guile to say the least.
The Japanese couldn’t break the lines with his passing, often choosing to go backwards, and he bit into tackles in his usual tenacious style.
Not close to Alexis Mac Allister‘s level.
Dominik Szoboszlai – 4
Szoboszlai has been a fantastic signing for Liverpool, but he had an absolute stinker by his high standards here.
The 23-year-old continually lost possession before half-time, overhitting passes, and it seemed to affect his confidence more every time.
Worked hard, as always, but was short of what he have come to expect. Deservedly substituted.
Ryan Gravenberch – 5
Gravenberch was again picked in place of Curtis Jones, and while he was better than Szoboszlai, you were still left wanting more.
There was some nice footwork and dribbles, and his defensive work was better than it has been in other matches, but he was still part of a Reds midfield that lacked cohesion.
Feels more of an individual than a key cog in the machine at the moment.
Mohamed Salah – 5
Salah may continue to register goal involvements at a fairly rapid rate, but if we’re being honest, his all-round game has been so sloppy of late.
Like Szoboszlai, the Egyptian couldn’t stop losing the ball in the opening 45 minutes, and there were times when he chose to shoot instead of pick a better option.
Was a threat, always looking to create some magic, but just wasn’t his day.
Luis Diaz – 6
Diaz has taken some flak for not offering enough end product in recent weeks, and while again not on top form on Sunday, he was Liverpool’s best attacker.
The Reds’ No. 7 felt like making something happen when he got the ball, and linked well with Tsimikas, but that killer moment at the end still wasn’t there.
Doesn’t quite look as electric as he did 18 months years ago.
Darwin Nunez – 4
Nunez is starting to become a bit of a problem.
For all his lovable personality and unpredictability, the Uruguayan is offering nowhere close to enough, not linking with others and failing to find the net.
Booked in dim fashion and seemed too easy to defend against – not focusing on keeping the ball in when Diaz was denied just about summed it up.
Cody Gakpo (on for Gravenberch, 61′) – 6
Held the ball up better than Nunez, but still didn’t offer enough. Headed over in stoppage time.
Joe Gomez (on for Szoboszlai, 61′) – 6
Brought some energy, but not always enough quality. Shot into the side-netting in a good position.
Curtis Jones (on for Diaz, 78′) – 6
Fairly forgettable cameo from the boyhood Liverpool fan.
Harvey Elliott (on for Nunez, 78′) – 6
Same as Jones.
Subs not used: Kelleher, Adrian, Quansah, Bradley, McConnell
Jurgen Klopp – 5
In fairness to the Liverpool manager, there was nothing he could do about the constant losses of possession, and there were few qualms about his starting lineup.
Klopp went to a 4-2-4 formation in the second half, but it made the Reds losing control of the game, and it was an afternoon to forget.
The Reds’ form has not been good for some time, in truth, despite some thrilling late wins, and Klopp has to be blamed for that to an extent.