Arsenal 3-1 Liverpool
Premier League (23), Emirates
February 4, 2024
Goals: Saka 14′, Martinelli 67′, Trossard 90+1′; Gabriel OG 45+1′
Sent off: Konate 88′
Alisson (out of 10) – 3
Alisson knew he could have a busy day against strong opposition, and it ended up being disastrous.
Liverpool’s No. 1 saved to deny Kai Havertz before Bukayo Saka tapped home to make it 1-0, but he absolutely gifted Gabriel Martinelli his goal just when the visitors were improving.
Then allowed Leandro Trossard to finish through his legs in stoppage time – although there was a nick off Virgil van Dijk, in fairness.
How big could that Martinelli moment be in the title race?
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 4
Alexander-Arnold came back into the team, but it’s fair to say he had a mixed evening.
As has happened a lot in the past, Martinelli caused him lots of problems, and he rarely looked comfortable at any point.
There were moments of class in possession, though, not least one superb cross that Cody Gakpo failed to get on the end of, and he came off around the hour mark.
Ibrahima Konate – 3
Konate has been exceptional this season, but he was one of many who was completely off the boil.
His positioning left a lot to be desired for Saka’s goal, stepping out and allowing Havertz to be played in, and he wasn’t his usual calm self in possession.
Sent off late in the day for a second yellow card, compounding his and Liverpool’s misery.
Virgil van Dijk – 3
Van Dijk made a really sloppy start, misplacing a few passes and generally looking sluggish.
While there were typical good moments thrown in, but he was part of a truly disastrous mix-up with Alisson, when he could arguably have just cleared the danger before his team-mate’s cock-up.
Too lackadaisical all game.
Joe Gomez – 5
Gomez continued at left-back, but it was one of his least convincing performances for a while, up against the dangerous Saka.
A yellow card in the first half put himself under real pressure for the rest of the game, and while he remained fairly solid, there was almost no attacking threat.
Did fine when switched to right-back, but nothing more.
Alexis Mac Allister – 7 (Man of the Match)
Mac Allister was one of Liverpool’s better players in the first half, and while he wasn’t perfect, his use of the ball was purposeful.
The Argentine made a brilliant tackle to thwart the goal-bound Havertz, too, and had several well-struck long-range strikes narrowly miss the target.
A standout figure for his side on a shocking day.
Ryan Gravenberch – 4
This was a huge game for Gravenberch, who was drafted into the starting lineup after Dominik Szoboszlai missed out through injury.
He really disappointed, unfortunately, proving to be anonymous for large periods and not doing enough off the ball.
Did play in a role in Gabriel’s own goal, in fairness, chipping a nice pass in behind to Luis Diaz, but was rightly substituted.
Curtis Jones – 5
Jones’ rise this season has been great, but he was part of a midfield that got outplayed for large chunks on Sunday.
He lacked energy, like so many, and was guilty of not providing the attack with any service, with little influence in all facets of his game.
Did better in a deeper role in the second half, but not good enough.
Cody Gakpo – 4
Perhaps a surprise inclusion at the expense of Darwin Nunez, Gakpo started on the right-hand side of the attack, and looked like a square peg in a round hole.
The Dutchman fired wide with one effort and held the ball up well a few times, but this was one of those games when he felt on the periphery too much.
A very different player to Nunez, for good and bad.
Luis Diaz – 6
Diaz returned to the ground where he suffered a serious knee injury last season, producing a mixed showing overall against Arsenal.
He didn’t get much out of Ben White, but it was his battling that eventually led to Gabriel turning the ball into his own net.
End product still isn’t world class, and you can be left wanting more when he gets himself into great positions.
Diogo Jota – 5
Jota started down the middle – playing Gakpo there may have been the better call – and he was a threat without ever being at his best.
The 27-year-old almost pounced in the first minute but his touch just let him down, and he looked as likely as anyone to score a decisive goal.
Cut a frustrated figure after getting so little service.
Andy Robertson (on for Alexander-Arnold, 57′) – 5
Didn’t really have an influence, but good to see him getting more minutes.
Harvey Elliott (on for Gravenberch, 57′) – 5
Didn’t have anywhere near the impact Liverpool needed.
Darwin Nunez (on for Gakpo, 57′) – 5
Made one grim decision shooting from a tight angle, and didn’t produce the cameo we craved.
Thiago (on for Gomez, 85′) – 5
Only on for a short time, after nine months out. Lost possession with one awful pass, but great to see him back.
Subs not used: Kelleher, Adrian, Quansah, McConnell, Clark
Jurgen Klopp – 5
The Liverpool manager’s team selection did raise eyebrows, with no Nunez a big call, and it ultimately didn’t work at all, with the Reds comprehensively outplayed.
The performance as a whole was so bitterly disappointing, some of which has to be down to the boss, and you worry about how fatal this result could look come May.
Klopp’s tactical switch to play Jones alongside Mac Allister did threaten to work, but in truth, Liverpool never deserved anything.