Liverpool woke up this morning trying to reflect just how they were capable of throwing away a match in which they totally dominated.
We lost 2-1 to Arsenal and missed the opportunity to surpass 100 points and break the all-time points record in England.
There was only one player who put in an outstanding performance. Two other players really struggled, on what proved to be a humbling night for the Premier League champions.
Sadio Mane was comfortably Liverpool’s star performer during the Premier League champions’ 2-1 defeat to Arsenal on Wednesday night.
His first-half goal took his tally in the Premier League to 17 goals. Mane now has contributed 23 goals for Liverpool in 45 appearances this season.
Mane touched the ball 69 times in 90 minutes and made the most of every time he was involved.
He had an impressive six attempts at goal, two of which were on target while two were blocked. No Liverpool player had more shots.
Mane also produced four key passes, which was only bettered by Andy Robertson who assisted Mane for the goal after a beautifully worked move down the left-flank saw Roberto Firmino and Robertson combine before the Scotsman cut-back a beautifully weighted pass that was tucked home by Liverpool’s No.10.
One statistic that stood out and was surprised to see was the number of aerial duels Mane was able to win. He managed to successfully win 60 per cent of his aerial duels (3) and the only other Liverpool player to better Mane in that department was Virgil van Dijk with six.
Mohamed Salah has cut a disjointed figure in his previous two matches and hasn’t been close to his clinical self. The Egyptian was totally anonymous in the capital on Wednesday night as the Reds fell to only their third PL defeat of the season.
He managed just 14 passes all night as well as a disappointing 27 touches. The Egyptian cut the image of a player totally lost rather than a man possessed to retain his Premier League Golden Boot for a third successive season.
The bad: Salah was only able to manage a pass completion rate of 71 per cent against Arsenal. What was even more worrying was the of that percentage only 14 passes were registered by Salah.
He only successfully managed one dribble all evening and failed to register one solitary key pass.
Salah was unable to produce the same attacking threat as Mane which forced Liverpool to constantly bombard the left-flank which left Mane totally isolated in the second-half and on several occasions the Senegalese ace was occupied by two Arsenal players at once.
This was a really tough game for Fabinho who failed to stamp any authority in the middle of the park.
Having been the star man and the creative hub against Burnley, Fabinho was a polar opposite of his usually brilliant self against Arsenal.
Fabinho had 74 touches on the ball and managed a pass completion rate of 87 per cent but considering the time he had with the ball, the Brazilian did very little to break down what should have been a vulnerable Arsenal backline.
Fabinho won just one aerial duel, two interceptions and zero clearances.
The bad: Fabinho was far too casual with the ball, particularly in the first half.
It was Fabinho who passed to Van Dijk which led to the error for the equaliser. Although Van Dijk didn’t cover himself in glory, the pass to the Dutchman was lacklustre and Fabinho failed to offer Van Dijk and alternative as he was too slow to react to potential danger.
Overall, the performance was totally unlike Fabinho and certainly will not tarnish what has been a sensational season for the star Pep Ljinders describes as the team’s very-own ‘lighthouse’.
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