Liverpool need to win this one. Let’s just put that out there. This is a must win if the Reds want to finish top 4.
Arsenal has been on a little upswing. Yes, they’re boring. But they’re getting results.
Despite clearly being the better team, superior pressing, and much more purpose…it’s the same old story for Liverpool in the first half. Everything looks great until the final third. At half-time, both squads only have 1 shot on target. 0-0. Ugh.
And then, Jurgen Klopp subbed in Diogo Jota at the hour mark and everything changed.
Jota scores in three minutes and ends up with a brace. Liverpool win 3-0 and go to fifth in the table.
Liverpool Player Ratings vs Arsenal
Jurgen Klopp (8) –
Starting line-up mostly makes sense. Klopp is wise to give Gini a breather, though Curtis Jones would’ve seemed the more likely starter over Milner. Given Diogo Jota’s form for Portugal, him sitting is somewhat surprising.
Wise to bring Jota on at the hour mark. Shifts the XI to a 4-4-2 (then to a 4-2-3-1) in an attempt to open up the offense. Also liked the timing of the Wijnaldum sub.
Pulled all the right second half strings.
Alisson (6) –
Was lucky his nervous clearance in the 7th minute didn’t harm the Reds. Otherwise, wasn’t really challenged at all. Clean sheet yo!
Trent Alexander-Arnold (9) –
He’s playing like someone…who is pissed about being dropped from his national squad. A dispossession and great feed almost leads to a Milner operner. Absolutely inch perfect pass to Jota to assist the opener. His aggressive dispossession and feed lead to Jota’s brace. Juuuuust misses another assist in stoppage with a great curling direct kick to Mane. Awesome old-school match for TAA.
Ozan Kabak (6) –
Super quiet game from him but nothing bad or overtly good. Subbed off for Rhys Williams late.
Nat Phillips (8) –
The Standard Charter Player of the Month! Can Nat keep the hot streak going with another strong showing?
Does he lose anything in the air? Bossed it all game. Playing with confidence.
Andy Robertson (5.5) –
Zipping around. Stupid crazy good stretched out cross in the 24th that finds Mane (but nothing comes of it). Subbed off after an hour for Jota. Interesting move.
Thiago (7) –
That elusive goal or assist would be welcome today. Doesn’t get it but a solid all around showing. Contributed everywhere. So good technically.
James Milner (7) –
A surprise starter, though Klopp is likely doing this to rest Gini, who had international duty. Appreciate the ambitious attempt in the 11th minute. We need shots. Rips another one on a one-toucher that just misses. Gets shift to left-back when Jota comes on.
Fabinho (7.5) –
Like Milner, going for the long range bomb. Good. WE NEED SHOTS. Stuffed the stat sheet. Won 6 tackles, 2 aerials, solid distribution. He’s happy to be back in the 6.
Mo Salah (7.5) –
Too fumbly with the ball. Not technically sharp. Too easily dispossessed. However, hockey assists the opener with a heads up wide pass to TAA who finds Jota’s head. And so typical Salah, despite all the crap play, scores a ’17-18 Salah-goal to put Liverpool up 2-0. Almost gets an assist to minute on the final play.
Roberto Firmino (6.5) –
Gets the nod over a very in form (for Portugal, at least) Diogo Jota. Awesome come back across the box that just misses Salah. Misses a curler that should’ve at least been on target. Some solid play and movement. Comes out for Gini.
Sadio Mane (7) –
Sick turn in the 4th minute leads to a dribble into the box, but miscue with Firmino stifles the effort. Playing with real purpose. Gets first shot on target with a limp header. Great effort with no final product. Did get credited with the assist on Jota’s brace.
Diogo Jota (9) –
Comes in at the hour mark for Andy Robertson. Immediately makes impact with crafty movement in the box and a powerful header to put the Reds up 1-0. Gets an aggressive brace. What a player.
Gini Wijnaldum (NR) –
Subbed in for Bobby. Did Gini things.
Rhys Williams (NR) –
On late for Kabak.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Want to give it to Alisson’s mustache, but have to go with Diogo Jota. Everything changed the second he was subbed in.