Michael Mongie rates the Liverpool players after their defeat against Manchester City at the Etihad on Thursday evening which cut their lead at the top of the table to 4 points.
Liverpool suffered their first defeat of the season at the hands of the current champions and while it will likely slow the Reds’ momentum somewhat, with Brighton their next game, Jurgen Klopp will get his side back to winning ways down South.
The game got away from Liverpool early on even if Roberto Firmino pulled the scoreline back to 1-1 with a header from point-blank range.
City ultimately deserved the three points and will smell blood now that Liverpool’s lead at the top of the table has been cut back to 4 points.
Alisson Becker: 6 – He lacked his typical pinpoint distribution from range but this was more due to the fact that City closed down so much of the space on the pitch that would usually play into Liverpool’s favour.
At the end of the day, there was little he could do to save either of City’s goals as both were fine finishes but he will upset to concede two goals in one game for the first time since moving to Anfield for £67million in the summer.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 7 – In a rather poor game, Trent was brighter than he has been in recent weeks. His ball to find the marauding Andy Robertson at the far post who in turn found Firmin for the equaliser.
He was exposed by a collectively poor midfield performance and was unlucky to not block Leroy Sane’s match winning goal.
Dejan Lovren: 4 – I’ve been one of Lovren’s biggest supporters in the past but he was entirely at fault for Sergio Aguero’s superb opening goal. He had no clue that the Man City forward was behind him and allowing the clinical forward to slip in front of him without challenge before he rifled home from a tight angle.
It seems easy to look back and view him as a scapegoat which would be unfair seeing as there were poor performances across the board but the Croatian was regularly found out against top opposition.
Virgil van Dijk: 8 (MoTM) – Once again, the big Dutchman was immense at the heart of Liverpool’s defence. I almost feel sorry for him at times given that he has to play alongside Lovren who is a liability, to say the least.
If Klopp somehow found a way to clone him (or ensure Joe Gomez never suffers an injury again), Liverpool would likely never concede a league goal again. As it is, the Reds are still a top side defensively and will need that reliability at the back to maintain a strong title challenge.
Andrew Robertson: 6 – The Scotsman had a peculiar game. He was excellent in nearly every 1 on 1 against Raheem Sterling and assisted the Reds’ equaliser but wasn’t used as an out ball as much as I think he should have.
Jordan Henderson: 5.5 – I personally believe that Klopp got his midfield all wrong against City and while that’s no slight on Hendo as he’s a top midfielder in his own right, he was way below the level required at the Etihad until he was given more license to go forward when Fabinho came on.
The Englishman is good when he doesn’t have to turn on the ball and seeing as he was the deepest midfielder against a side that is superb at employing a high press, his inablity to turn and play a quick pass between the lines meant that City penned the Reds inside their own half for the opening 15 minutes.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 5.5 – Just like Henderson, Wijnaldum was largely anonymous and not nearly as good as he usually is in the big games. He was then shunted onto the left wing for the second half after Mane went off which affected his influence on the game quite a bit.
James Milner: 5 – Subbed off in the 57th minute for Fabinho tells you everything you need to know about the game he had. Returning from injury in such a big game is always difficult but Mr Consistency simply wasn’t as consistent as he has been in the past.
Roberto Firmino: 7 – Bobby was Liverpool’s only forward that can say he contributed to the game in a tangible way after bringing the scores back on par with his headered goal in the second half.
Sadio Mané: 6 – While Mane wasn’t quite as quiet as Salah after he almost scored the opener with his shot past Ederson hitting the post, the Senegal forward was hooked for Xherdan Shaqiri in the second half after failing to make a mark on the game.
Mohamed Salah: 5.5 – With a complete lack of support in the final third, it comes as no surprise that he (32) had half as many touches as Leroy Sane (65). The Egyptian will be thankful to leave the Etihad without an injury, however, after a reckless challenge from City skipper Vincent Kompany.
Fabinho (57′): 6.5 – The former AS Monaco midfielder helped Liverpool attack City and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Firmino scored after he came on. His ability to surge through the midfield and turn on the ball under pressure was a big boost after the interval.
Xherdan Shaqiri (77′): N/A – The Swiss attacker has been a catalyst in change from the bench for Liverpool in the past but he was unable to make a definitive difference at the Etihad.
Daniel Sturridge (86′): N/A – Unlike at Stamford Bridge, Sturridge was unable to pull a rabbit out of the bag when given less than 10 minutes to find the back of the net.
Manager – Jurgen Klopp: 5.5 – The German got his tactics completely wrong from the start and while he seemed to have turned things around with the introduction of Fabinho and the ensuing Firmino goal, Leroy Sane dealt a dagger blow to the hearts of Liverpool fans.
We go again. We’re top of the table with a four-point cushion and with 17 games remaining this season, there is a lot to be excited about.