Jack Hallows rates the Liverpool players after they continued their winning start to the season with a 2-0 victory at Selhurst Park.
A game at Selhurst Park always makes me sweat a little bit more than most other away fixtures but while the game was tightly contested, Liverpool never looked in real trouble and were good value for their 2-0 win.
They lacked their usual style and swagger – especially the front three – but a dogged, ground out victory will always be just as impressive, especially when it’s an area that the Reds have often been criticised for lacking in under Klopp.
So, how did the boys get on individually?
Alisson Becker: 8 – My word he’s some keeper isn’t he?! After a fairly innocuous first half, the Brazilian made a pair of stellar stops to deny Palace after the break including one incredible diving save from a free kick.
His distribution throughout was also fantastic with his ability to receive the ball to feet, compose himself and then ping a pass to his full-backs getting Liverpool out of trouble on more than on occasion. Looked worth the £ and then some!
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 6.5 – Struggled up against the tricky Wilfried Zaha in a similar vein to the Selhurst fixture last season as the Ivorian tormented him down Palace’s left hand side. His crossing once again wasn’t up to his usual standard and there’s definitely a little extra rust on the Englishman after his lack of a pre-season.
Joe Gomez: 9 – Awesome. Absolutely awesome. There have been questions over whether the Englishman has the temperament to actually succeed at centre half but his height, strength and recovery pace are all remarkable assets to his game. Didn’t look fazed by battles with Benteke and covered for Trent a couple of times to deal with Zaha. Well in.
Virgil van Dijk: 9 – Faultless as ever from the big Dutchman who enjoyed more than his fair share of tussles with Benteke throughout their shared time on the field. Had one potentially hairy moment in the second half when misjudging the bounce of the ball but as you’d expect he recovered in style.
Andy Robertson: 7 – I might get slated for this but I felt the Scotsman had his worst 45 minutes in a Liverpool shirt during the first half. It’s not that he particularly did anything wrong, it’s just that he wasn’t quite up to his usual standard and looked a little off the pace.
Was far better in the second period however and provided a consistent outlet for Alisson in particular on the left hand side.
Gini Wijnaldum: 7 – Controlled the game well from the holding midfield position and while his use of the ball at times was a little too conservative for my liking, that’s simply the role of being a ‘6’ in a Klopp system – especially in a game where you’re expected to have the lion’s share of possession. Still prefer him in a more advanced role.
James Milner: 7 – It didn’t all come off for James ‘Penalty King/The Machine’ Milner against the Eagles but even if nothing else, he did the one thing he really needed to during his time on the field: converted the penalty. Otherwise, the Englishman was full of his usual running, energy and pit-bull-like nature.
Naby Keïta: 8.5 – Aside from one dreadful no-look back-pass that almost gifted Palace a goal in the first half, the little Guinean was imperious. Could easily have scored twice and if his teammates had been a little sharper could have had a couple of assists too.
Was one moment in the first half where he turned on a dime, got his head up and pinged an incredible ball over the top for Salah, showing why the Reds paid £52m for him. Wow.
Mohamed Salah: 7 – Was effectively kicked out of the game every time he got on the ball really. The Egyptian had a couple of half chances, sending one dinked effort onto the roof of the net in the first period before winning the penalty, while his best chance of the second was taken away from him when Palace defender Wan-Bissaka was left with no choice but to scythe him down.
Will definitely have more exciting appearances this season.
Roberto Firmino: 6.5 – Like with Trent, the lack of a real pre-season for Firmino is certainly evident as the Brazilian continues to try and shake off the rust. Also as noted by many, looks to be playing in more of a “false” nine position again, dropping deeper to get involved with link-up play rather than acting as an out and out striker.
Sadio Mané: 8.5 – 14 goals in his last 18 appearances for Liverpool. The Senegalese winger was the best of Liverpool’s front three tonight and got his deserved goal late on when he rounded Hennessey on the counter-attack.
Looks much quicker again than he was last season and any confidence issues he may have struggled with during that campaign certainly look a thing of the past. Such a quality player.
Jordan Henderson: 7 – Brought some extra energy to Liverpool’s midfield late on.
Adam Lallana: N/A – Has a bad hair style and gave away a free-kick.
Daniel Sturridge: N/A – Given 15 seconds at the end. Wonder if Klopp had a bet with him to see how quickly he can score after the West Ham game?