Liverpool 5-2 Norwich
FA Cup 4th Round, Anfield
January 28, 2024
Goals: Jones 16′, Nunez 28′, Jota 53′, Van Dijk 63′, Gravenberch 90+5′; Gibson 22′, Sainz 69′
Alisson (out of 10) – 7
Alisson came back into the team after a midweek rest, and for much of the game he was as much of a spectator as the fans.
Liverpool’s No. 1 could do nothing nothing about Ben Gibson’s header or Borja Sainz’s stunner, and he was otherwise solid when called into action.
Conceding twice which will irritate him, though.
Conor Bradley – 8 (Man of the Match)
Bradley has impressed in the absence of Trent Alexander-Arnold, and this was another big step in the right direction for him.
The Northern Irishman’s direct style was always a threat for Liverpool, and it was one surging run and pass that led to Darwin Nunez making it 2-1.
Beginning to look like a genuinely good squad option.
Ibrahima Konate – 8
Konate was the senior man at the heart of the Reds’ defence and he coasted through proceedings, looking every bit the class act that he is.
The Frenchman was dominant in the air throughout and forged a strong partnership with Jarell Quansah, also making well-timed tackles.
He is enjoying a superb run of form.
Jarell Quansah – 7
Another game, another strong display by Quansah.
Ahead of his 21st birthday on Monday, the young centre-back looked focused and confident, and while he wasn’t called into action much, he did his job expertly.
Slightly weak header in the lead up to Sainz’s goal, but that’s being ultra-harsh.
Joe Gomez – 7
Gomez is almost threatening to hit cult hero status, with a comedy element surrounding his search for a first-ever goal.
The 26-year-old fired wide early on, as fans screamed “shoooot” every time he got it – but joking aside, this was another accomplished showing at left-back.
Neat and tidy in possession and good positionally, his resurgence this season has been so pleasing.
Curtis Jones – 8
Jones may still only be 22, but there is a stature about him now that makes him one of Liverpool’s best midfielders.
The Scouser scored his fifth goal of an excellent season, heading home at the back post – he loves that area of the pitch – and he was typically press-resistant in possession.
It feels like a long time ago now that he was being written off by some, and he is now an undoubted member of the Reds’ strongest XI.
James McConnell – 8
It was a proud day for McConnell, who was handed his first-ever Liverpool start by Jurgen Klopp, taking up his place in the midfield.
The 19-year-old had an afternoon to remember at Anfield, not only proving to be a tenacious figure in the middle of the park, but also providing the assist for Jones’ goal.
Should be pleased with his efforts.
Ryan Gravenberch – 7
Gravenberch has been the most hit-and-miss of Liverpool’s summer signings, and this performance rather summed up his enigmatic nature.
On the ball, he was classy, but he was also a little loose in possession, and allowed Gibson to get the better of him and head home an equaliser.
Did score Liverpool’s fifth of the day in the dying seconds, though, taking his tally for the season to three.
Diogo Jota – 8
Jota is flying at the moment and he was again a hugely dangerous member of Liverpool’s attack, often appearing more on the right-hand side.
One lovely left-footed cross just evaded the flying feet of Nunez, and his touch and movement caused problems for the visitors’ defenders.
Rifled home an inch-perfect finish to put Liverpool 3-1 up in the second half – Ian Rush would have been proud of it.
Cody Gakpo – 6
Much like his compatriot Gravenberch, Gakpo was one of Liverpool’s more inconsistent performers, with a combination of good and bad thrown in.
The Dutchman always looked to make things happen in the final third, but his end product was lacking, not least one incredible miss in front of goal.
Darwin Nunez – 7
Nunez is threatening to explode at the moment, and this was another game that saw his attacking expertise come to the fore.
A superb effort cannoned off the post in the first half, but he wasn’t to be denied for long, finishing smoothly to put his side back ahead.
Aside from that, there was constant endeavour on show from Nunez off the ball, as he continues to endear himself to the supporters.
Dominik Szoboszlai (on for Jones, 55′) – 7
A welcome return for the Hungarian, who teed up Van Dijk to score from a corner.
Virgil van Dijk (on for Konate, 55′) – 7
Remarkably, this was Van Dijk’s first-ever sub appearance for Liverpool!
He cruised through his cameo in serene fashion, even powering home Liverpool’s fourth goal with his head.
Andy Robertson (on for Gomez, 55′) – 6
Feels huge having Robertson back, doesn’t it? Eased his way back in more than anything.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (on for Nunez, 65′) – 6
Was in second gear, in truth, but still good to watch and had one long-range effort saved.
Luis Diaz (on for McConnell, 78′) – 6
Bright cameo, did nothing wrong and involved in Gravenberch’s goal.
Subs not used: Kelleher, Beck, Elliott, Clark
Jurgen Klopp – 8
This may not have been Klopp’s biggest day in the job, but my word it was an emotional one!
The rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone before the game felt extra-special, with the German looking moved on the touchline, but he didn’t allow his team to lose focus.
Klopp oversaw a good performance overall – his decision to play McConnell was somewhat forced by Alexis Mac Allister‘s fitness, but proved a successful one – with fringe players doing well and key men returning from injury.