How did Liverpool and Arsenal’s players perform on Saturday Night Football? Mohamed Salah shone in a win for the hosts, and David Luiz struggled…
Adrian – 7
Didn’t have much to do, but an important early save from Nicolas Pepe kept the scores level. Was unsighted and couldn’t have done much about Arsenal’s late goal.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7
His wicked corner for Joel Matip gave Liverpool the lead, and was generally troublesome for Arsenal down the right, but his delivery from deep was not always up to his high standards. Gave the ball away for Arsenal’s goal.
Joel Matip – 8
A menace for Arsenal in both boxes, muscling himself into space to score the opener. Won every single one of his duels, and made more interceptions (3) than any other Liverpool player.
Virgil van Dijk – 7
Cool, calm and collected, as per, though he was dribbled around by Pepe, having prevented any take-ons in the Premier League last term. His distribution from defence is so important, and was up nearing 93 per cent completion.
Andrew Robertson – 7
Tireless. Arsenal allowed him far too much space, particularly in the first half, as most of Liverpool’s attacking play came down the left. In search of the opener, did leave some space behind him, but it wasn’t punished.
Fabinho – 8
A powerful, cool hand at the base of midfield, and made a fine pass for Salah’s second. He also dropped into the defence from goal kicks, giving Liverpool another option to build from the back.
Jordan Henderson – 8
Not always the safety-first player we think he is, Henderson was keen to try the tricky first-time ball when the game was level and tight. A superb midfield performance with and without the ball, otherwise.
Gini Wijnaldum – 8
Obliterated Arsenal’s midfield, and was given a huge ovation when subbed off. Registered 98 per cent pass completion in Arsenal’s half, a team-high.
Sadio Mane – 7
Always a threat, and his work rate will rarely be criticised, but not as sharp as we are used to. Did defend well from the front, making more tackles (6) than any other Liverpool player.
Roberto Firmino – 8
Deserved a goal with his bright, one-touch play both on halfway when Liverpool broke, and around the penalty area to break down a stubborn Arsenal in the first half.
Mohamed Salah – 9
Wasn’t quite at it in the first half, but turned it on to take the game away from Liverpool in the second half. His majestic second was Salah all over: twinkle-toes, out of a cul-de-sac, pace and the finish. When he’s at his best, he is the best.
James Milner – 7
Threw himself into a few tackles, and did a similar job to Wijnaldum.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – N/A
Adam Lallana – N/A
Bernd Leno – 6
Did well aerially, and could do little about the goals conceded. Rushed off his line to some success in the first half.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 5
Not composed when playing out from the defence, but was dealt a tough hand with a lack of cover on the right, having to deal with Robertson constantly in the first half. Couldn’t show his attacking prowess, constantly pegged back by Mane.
David Luiz – 4
A game of two halves for the summer signing. Decent in the first, his foolish grab on Salah’s shirt after the break gave the referee a decision to make, which went against Arsenal. However soft, the action wasn’t necessary. Then, on a yellow, he could only observe as Salah darted past him for Liverpool’s third. Not a good day at the office.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos – 6
Made several fine, last-ditch blocks, but was out-wrestled for the opening goal, though Arsenal felt it was enough for a foul.
Nacho Monreal – 5
A passenger for most of the game, and his lack of pace was telling. Likely to leave Arsenal before the window closes.
Matteo Guendouzi – 6
Energetic in providing for attack and dropping back when Liverpool had the ball, but overpowered by Liverpool’s impressive midfield three.
Granit Xhaka – 6
Caused problems with his forward balls in the first half over Liverpool’s defence, had the most passes of any Arsenal player and won the ball more than any player on the pitch.
Joe Willock – 6
Asked to play narrow in Arsenal’s midfield, and couldn’t get a foothold at times. Saw both full-backs stroll past him continually, but did break through Liverpool’s midfield on a couple of occasions. Promising overall.
Dani Ceballos – 5
His technical quality is clear to see, but this game passed him by to an extent which may alarm some Arsenal fans. Tried to be too clever in tight areas deep in his own half, and an awful square clearance almost allowed Firmino an opener.
Nicolas Pepe – 6
His electric pace caused Liverpool problems early on, coming in from the right onto his left foot, and nearly scored from a fine curling effort. Struggled to get into the game thereafter.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 5
Has scored just three in 14 against the big six sides, and will be disappointed with his own performance at Anfield. Liverpool’s defenders weren’t pressure nearly enough by the forward, and his finishing was wayward.
Lucas Torreira – 6
Took his goal well and worked hard, which turned out to be more of a question to Emery: ‘Why didn’t I start?’
Alexandre Lacazette – N/A
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – N/A
Liverpool now go to Burnley on Saturday Night Football, live on Sky Sports Premier League at 5.30pm, while Arsenal host Tottenham in the north London derby on Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League at 4.30pm, with Jose Mourinho in the studio from 1pm.
Burnley vs Liverpool
August 31, 2019, 5:00pm
Arsenal vs Tottenham
September 1, 2019, 4:00pm