LIVERPOOL absolutely tore Arsenal apart at Anfield, again. It’s becoming a regular occurrence, but no less pleasurable to witness.
Yes, the Gunners had their problems with their midfielders deciding that defending was an optional extra, and Arsene Wenger’s bizarre assertion that a £53m striker belongs on the bench and then left wing, but the mighty Reds were simply mighty. The mightiest.
It wasn’t as if Liverpool did their usual firing out of the blocks to end the game early, it was a controlled frenzy throughout the game. Picking their moments and slicing the visitors open with the utmost precision, and here’s how they rated:
Loris Karius: 7
Worst thing about his selection was always going to be the incredibly boring and pointless fume about it before the game. Whatever’s happened with Simon Mignolet will emerge over the next few days, but his replacement didn’t concede. Okay, Karius didn’t have one save to make, and nearly gave us all two or three heart attacks with his dallying on the ball, but made two good punches from set pieces and his kicking (when he actually did it) was very good.
Joe Gomez: 8
Really composed performance under difficult circumstances. Spent the whole 90 either marking Alexis Sanchez or Alexandre Lacazette. Got caught out a couple of times but then so would any full back against that quality. He made several vital interceptions, including the ones that led to the first two goals. Tremendous cross with his weaker foot for the first as well. Seriously looking like a solid option at the moment.
Joel Matip: 9
Thought he was an absolute rock. Even in moments where Arsenal were able to carve through Liverpool out wide, Matip was there to stop everything. Made so many tackles and interceptions. Every time Arsenal ran at him they got no change, and also made a couple of great headers away from balls into the box.
Dejan Lovren: 7
A mixed afternoon for Dejan but largely good. Did make a silly foul to put himself on a booking early on, but managed himself well after that, and made some excellent interceptions. A couple of dodgy clearances almost put his team in trouble but other than that he can consider it an improved performance from Wednesday.
Alberto Moreno: 7
Was absolutely convinced he’d get too distracted by the spider-cam to put in a good performance, but he showed yet more evidence that he’s ‘improved 100 per cent’ as Jürgen Klopp put it. Started several attacks, put in some vital tackles and whipped some great balls into the box. Was still one trademark moment in the first half where he lunged at Danny Welbeck in the box, but thankfully missed him. Overall another good showing though. Well in, Albie.
Jordan Henderson: 7
Didn’t start too well. Gave away possession in a really bad area, and misplaced most of his early passes, but once he settled he was very good. As he did against Hoffenheim he was looking to win the ball high up the pitch, did so on one occasion and probably should have scored, but the intent was there. Also seemed to put in better defensive work than in recent games. Form seems to be building again for the skipper.
Gini Wijnaldum: 8
Another player who is starting to come into the new season. Good on Wednesday, and outstanding today. Seemed to be completely impossible to knock off the ball. Two or three genuine moments where he must have held onto the ball for about 30 seconds, twisting and turning away from tiring Gunners. Got round the pitch well, as opposed to some games where he goes missing, Arsenal were sick of the sight of him by full time.
Emre Can: 9
Emre, Emre, he’s our boy, if he can’t do it, no-one… will. Can was an absolute midfield machine today. Arsenal’s lads will be closing their eyes tonight and seeing only a gorgeous beast of a midfielder hurtling towards them, taking their ball and hurtling away from them. Really wanted him to blam in a screamer to cap it off, but he’ll just have to make do with the standing ovation and massive Klopp hug. Sign your bloody contract!
Sadio Mane: 9
Like this guy’s not winning PFA Player of the Year. Imagine thinking anyone else stands a chance. He’s unstoppable. Give him the ball, wind him up and watch him go. When he receives that ball from Roberto Firmino, you know full well he’s cutting inside and bending it in the far corner. Rob Holding knows it, Petr Cech knows it, and Sadio knows it. First player to score in first three league games of the season since Daniel Sturridge. Keep it up , Sadio!
Mohamed Salah: 9
Fought his way back up to a 9 after I scrawled a 3 in my mind following his first half chance that felt crucial at the time, but it was because of the excellent work he and others did after that. With his pace, work rate and clever movement he is always just on the verge of having a chance. Creates his own chance by pressing well, and was unfortunate when he went through and hit another shot straight at Cech. Then he runs 80 yards and slots in the game clincher expertly. His cross for the fourth is inch perfect as well. What a bullet the little Egyptian is.
Roberto Firmino: 8
Overall his performance was a bit quieter and a bit more reserved than his virtuoso performance on Wednesday, and yet he scores the first and sets up the second. Put in his usual work, popped up in places where Arsenal didn’t know there were places, and allowed Mane and Salah to do their thing. Disappointed he kept his shorts up after his goal (boy imagine reading that sentence out of context).
Daniel Sturridge: 7
Was hoping for his introduction on 70, and so it came. Imagine being 3-0 down, getting torn apart, and then seeing Sturridge coming on. Morale absolutely flushed down the Anfield bogs. Great to see him get a goal as well from Salah’s excellent cross.
James Milner: 6
Feels like he’ll be a regular go to sub this season, and I’m fine with that. A couple of sloppy moments in possession but also helped with some late defending to make sure the clean sheet was kept.
Marko Grujic: N/A
Showed some nice touches, and an amazing moment where he nearly injured Milner trying to take control of the ball. Like to see him getting minutes in games that are already won.
What a performance and result to go into the international break with. How much better will the feeling be around the club and fans if we also go and buy a couple of great lads in the next five days?
Up the gun-dismantling Reds.