It took a while, but the Reds were by far the stronger side away at the Red Bull Arena tonight. Though there were concerns about how effectively Salzburg played through the midfield, Liverpool produced some thrilling stuff at times and created more than enough to win the game. Here are the ratings…
Liverpool Player Ratings
Jurgen Klopp (7) – The big surprise was starting Naby Keita and it seemed to pay off. That choice instantly makes Liverpool a more attacking side, with his creativity and vision replacing more of the solidity that James Milner might have offered. It had the effect that could be predicted, with an open, chaotic game that Liverpool saw the best of.
Alisson (8) – Made a number of really important saves in the first half to keep Liverpool in the game. Exactly what he’s there for.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (7) – Just pinging those crosses and crossfield passes. He’s a delight at the moment. Not the most involved game for him but nonetheless positive contributions.
Virgil van Dijk (6) – A solid performance in which he didn’t quite shine but didn’t do anything particularly wrong. These “high energy” games don’t seem to suit him sometimes as much as the routine ones in which he looks imperious.
Dejan Lovren (6) – Been solid enough when Liverpool have had quite a bit of defending to do.
Andy Robertson (7) – Doing an alarming amount of defending in his own box, but doing it with aplomb. He’s kept Liverpool in the game.
Jordan Henderson (6) – Made a big clearance early on to keep it at 0-0, but otherwise hasn’t been too noticeable. Unfortunately, Liverpool don’t seem able to assert themselves on games when Henderson plays the deeper role instead of Fabinho
Naby Keita (9) – Looking to link up well with the front three, which is something other Liverpool midfielders don’t offer. On the other side, it’s hard to remember a time when the side looked this open when he wasn’t on the pitch. And then he, you know, scores a goal. So that’s nice.
Georginio Wijnaldum (5) – The thing he’s supposed to do is not lose the ball, to keep it safe and keep it ticking over. It’s not happening tonight.
Roberto Firmino (6) – He was slow to start, but found himself more involved as he took up deeper positions and became more of a playmaker.
Sadio Mane (8) – He’s just in the zone right now. The chances are coming his way and Salzburg can’t deal with his physical attributes and intelligent runs. Didn’t score but always looked a threat.
Mohamed Salah (8) – I had a whole thing written about how it’s not really his game so far, with things more frequently falling to Mane on the left flank, but he’s looked bright enough when he’s received it. Got into really good positions for his two big chances but he wasn’t able to hit the target.
And then he scores that goal.
Joe Gomez (6) – Fortunate to come on later in the game when there was less defending to be done.
James Milner (6) – You know what you get. He’s James Milner. He’ll do a job.
Divock Origi (N/A) – Did not play enough minutes to judge.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Naby Keita – It’s so nice to see it finally starting to happen for him at Liverpool. He was always the player offering the forward pass today, and this proved vital as neither of the full backs were quite able to influence things as they often are. He offers a totally different complexion to this midfield and it went down a treat here.