Jack Hallows rates Liverpool’s players after a solid performance against Arsenal at Anfield, sending the Reds into the top four.
Simon Mignolet: 7 – He made a really poor decision coming to try and narrow an already tight angle when Welbeck got in one on one and lofted over him but overall the Belgian had a good night. A great save off Giroud early in the second half and a couple of decent palm-aways from crosses being the highlights.
Nathaniel Clyne: 7.5 – Had no trouble with Iwobi whatsoever but was given a slightly tougher run around by Sánchez for the second half. Was impressively solid throughout however and made a number of important tackles and clearances across the 90.
Jöel Matip: 8 – Solid. That’s more like it Jöel. The big Cameroonian kept it cool, calm and collected at the back and looked far more assured with Klavan alongside him than he has done with Lucas by his side. Made a number of very good defensive headers to marshall Giroud and was unlucky not to connect better with an effort in the opposition box.
Ragnar Klavan: 7.5 – Had a 15 minute period in the second half where he looked to be struggling but recovered superbly and put in one of his best shifts in a Liverpool shirt. As always, looks very, very good on the ball and his passing is actually fantastic.
James Milner: 7 – Gets an extra half mark for his effort and persistence over the 90 but was once again slightly exposed in the second half – especially with the pace of Walcott and Bellerin doubling up on him. Unlucky not to register an assist when Origi headed his free kick onto the far post.
Emre Can: 7 – Lucky in truth not to be sent off in the second half when a rash tackle saw him hurt himself, take out Jöel Matip and foul Theo Walcott in one foul swoop. That challenge aside, however, the German enjoyed one of his better outings this season and his use of the ball looked far less slow-mo. Still not at his best but not at all at his worst which is encouraging.
Adam Lallana: 8 – Was like one of those Duracell Energiser bunnies for the entire 90, throwing himself into challenges, bombing up and down the field and doing the hard yards. Exhibited a lot of gorgeous ball control throughout as well as being heavily involved in the Reds’ third goal.
Gini Wijnaldum: 8.5 – Defensively fantastic, offensively intelligent and most importantly, taking up a slightly new role. The Dutchman generally stayed a little deeper than usual, helping out Milner on the left-hand side and doing his best to act as part-box-to box midfielder, part pendulum in Henderson’s absence. Got himself a goal to gloss the scoreline at the end with a beautiful finish to cap off a blistering counter.
Sadio Mané: 9 (Man of the Match) – Whenever he gets the ball in space in the box you just know it’s a goal. The Senegalese was at his scintillating best against the Gunners, scoring one and setting up another for Firmino. As noted by many of my fellow RTK writers as well, the speedster showcased some wonderful footwork throughout as well, highlighting the continual improvements in his game. Scary to think he’ll only keep getting better.
Roberto Firmino: 8 – Pressed heavily throughout and got on the score sheet with a tidy finish in the first 10 minutes, getting Liverpool off to a flier. The Brazilian still looked a little patchy at times and wasn’t quite as clued in as his two attacking comrades but overall it was a much better showing than anything we’ve seen from him in recent weeks. Lovely touch and turn in Arsenal’s box in the second half that should’ve been worth a goal in itself.
Philippe Coutinho: 8 – His best performance since his return from injury. Didn’t manage to get on the score sheet but it wasn’t for want of trying. The Brazilian forced a very good reflex save with a sharp left-footed effort from 18 yards before rushing his finish after a sublime take out of the air as he brushed off Mustafi. Quick feet, smart passes, flair and shots on target. He’s looking ever closer to his best.
Divock Origi: 7 – Held up the ball well, winning a free kick soon after his introduction which he ultimately headed onto the far post. Wasn’t put down about it though as he broke away late on, latching onto a Lallana long ball and slotting the ball across goal for Wijnaldum to bury.
Lucas Leiva: N/A – Brought on to close the doors.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: N/A – Given a minute to stretch his legs.
Jürgen Klopp: 9 – Far better from Klopp who recognised from kick off that Arsenal were going to attempt to hit the Reds on the counter. Started Klavan in defence over Lucas which was always going to help but also seemed to instruct his team to cause as much chaos as possible which they more than obeyed. Huge response from the Reds and he’ll know they now must beat Burnley next week to keep momentum on their side.