Michael Mongie rates the Liverpool players after their 5-1 win over Arsenal at Anfield on Saturday evening which stretched their lead at the top of the table to 9 points.

Liverpool went into the clash at Anfield full of confidence after winning seven games on the bounce during the month of December.

Even though Arsenal struck first, the home side went into the half time break with a 4-1 lead and the result effectively in the bag.

With yet another three points, Liverpool have stretched their lead at the top of the league to nine, with Manchester City still yet to play Southampton.

Starting XI:

Alisson Becker: 8 – There was little Alisson could have done about Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ early goal for the visitor’s but it was his pinpoint kick that sprung a counter-attack that saw Salah win and convert a penalty right before half-time to make it 4-1.

The Brazilian brought composure to the Reds’ backline as they played the ball out from the back under intense pressure from Arsenal.

Trent Alexander-Arnold: 7 – The Scouser was a little quiet in the first half but was always willing to get up and down the touchline to support attacks and was quick to get back to ensure Alex Iwobi didn’t cause too many issues for the Reds.

He lacked sharpness with his passing and didn’t offer much down the right flank in terms of end product but he successfully stretched the Gunners’ backline.

Dejan Lovren: 7.5 – Despite being partially at fault for Arsenal scoring early as he stepped up from the defensive line to make a challenge but failed in his attempt to get the ball, the Croatian was solid throughout and even won a penalty in the second half.

Virgil van Dijk: 8 – As per usual, van Dijk was immense for the Reds, easily dealing with joint-leading goalscorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and confidently organised the Liverpool backline as he has done so consistently since joining the club in January.

Andrew Robertson: 6 – The Scotsman started the game brilliantly by firing a tasty ball across the Arsenal goal but it was all downhill from then on as he regularly misplaced passes.

He was caught sleeping at the far post and allowed the young Maitland-Niles the chance to ghost in at the back post and score Arsenal’s goal.

That said, given how good he is on a regular basis, he is surely allowed one or two bad games a year, right?

Fabinho: 7 – Started the game poorly just like Robertson with a number of poor passes allowing Arsenal to get at the Liverpool defence but he settled in well towards the end of the first half.

 

Alongside the impeccable Wijnaldum, he helped boss the engine room and gave the Reds’ attackers the opportunity to swamp the Arsenal backline.

Georginio Wijnaldum: 9 – Absolutely immense. There are few midfielders at the club that relish the big games quite as much as our Gini. His energy, ability to win the second ball so consistently and clever passing allowed the Reds to navigate around Arsenal’s high press expertly.

If it weren’t for a hattrick from Roberto Firmino, he would have been my Man of the Match.

Xherdan Shaqiri: 8 – The Swiss attacker has been compared to Coutinho in recent weeks in terms of his end product but Shaq is a completely different player and showed maturity in a deeper role against the Gunners.

Once again, he helped move the ball around in midfield, occuyping the half spaces behind the likes of Torreira. His ability to ghost in between oppostion midfielders and turn when receiving the ball is an asset for Liverpool.

Mohamed Salah: 9 – Scored his second penalty in a week and although he was a little bit quiet in the first half, he was constantly a threat with Sokratis doing terribly in his job to keep the Egyptian King quiet.

The Egyptian also picked up an assist for Sadio Mane’s first half finish and was generous enough to let Bobby take the second half penalty he won after being felled by Sokratis.

Roberto Firmino: 9.8 – Speechless. The Brazilian has a penchant for popping up with a goal against Arsenal and he popped up with three against the North London side on Saturday, with his second reminding me a lot of O Fenômeno the Brazilian legend with his close control, composure and clinical finishing.

Sadio Mané: 8.5 – Scored with a fine finish in the first half after Andy Robertson recycled play to Mohamed Salah, who teed up the Senegal forward perfectly. Mane has been accused of being inconsistent and while this is true, he is undoubtedly a crucial part of this Liverpool side.

Substitutes: 

Jordan Henderson (62′): 8 – The skipper was given thirty minutes after replacing Mane and was afforded more freedom to roam forward, something I feel benefits him hugely.

Adam Lallana (78′): N/A – Within seconds of joining in the action at Anfield, the former Southampton man pulled off one of his famous Cruyff turns and although he came into an already won game, he was bright in his use of the ball.

Nathaniel Clyne (83′): N/A – Could have given away a penalty for a clumsy challenge on Alexandre Lacazette.

Júrgen Klopp: 9 – As much as Firmino and co. will steal the headlines, Klopp needs to be praised for his tactics which were more or less spot on. The German looks to be on the path to doing the unthinkable with this Liverpool side as they sit at the top of the Premier League heading into 2019.