Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC were involved in a thrilling draw at Anfield. The two sides ended the game at 2-2 and the Reds would be disappointed for not winning the game, but some sloppy defending and cheap goals (yet again) ensured that the Liverpool would have to struggle more to move up in the table. Here is how the Liverpool players fared against the Gunners
Brad Jones- 5.5/10- The Liverpool shot stopper looked composed in the first half, but that was mainly because Arsenal hardly threatened in that half. His distribution seems to have improved as well, and so has his confidence. However, the player could have done better for both Debuchy’s equalizer, and for Giroud’s second. While Simon Mignolet has been very poor this season, the Belgian’s acrobatic skills ensure many shots don’t go in. Mignolet could have saved Giroud’s goal which went through Jones’ legs easily. Even though it was a much better performance from the former Middlesbrough player, the Reds need to get another goalkeeper in January and that should be a bigger priority than a striker.
Kolo Toure- 5/10- The Ivorian was sturdy for large parts of the first half and made some good tackles to ensure his former team doesn’t take advantage. But he should have closed down Giroud and the second goal should never have happened. Liverpool’s defense has been abysmal and today was no different.
Martin Skrtel 5.5/10- He was the centre of attention today. Largely untested in the first half along with his fellow defenders, Skrtel allowed Debuchy to rise above him and score Arsenal’s equalizer seconds after Liverpool fired their’s, and right before the half-time whistle was blown. You’d think that a team in Liverpool’s position would understand the value of leads, especially against an opposition like Arsenal, especially when it was just time for the break. A nasty injury in the second half courtesy Olivier Giroud’s studs followed for the Slovakian, but the 30 year old was brave and continued and poetically, scored Liverpool’s winner in the seventh minute of stoppage time. It is his third goal against Arsenal in two games. Even though he got Brendan Rodgers’ side a much deserved point, he was not effective defensively and should have done better for both goals. With three games to follow in quick time, Skrtel and the rest of the defense have to do better.
Mamadou Sakho 5.5/10- The former PSG man stepped in for injured Dejan Lovren today. He looked the most assured on the ball out of all the centre backs, but the Frenchman was culpable (along with the other two) for the second goal. Sakho also needs to get a little smoother in his movements if he has to link up with wingbacks and get the ball moving forward. He should be persisted with for the coming games nevertheless.
Lucas Leiva 6/10- The defensive midfielder had a good outing for large parts of the game. The fact that Arsenal almost never got domination in the midfield is testament to his game along with Henderson and Gerrard. He really should be working on his shooting though because even though it is not his job, in the previous few games, he has had some glorious opportunities which he should be converting.
Steven Gerrard 6/10- We were almost going to have another West Ham ’06 moment late in the game but Szczęsny managed to get something on that glorious strike. Gerrard is not as effective as the old days but he is the only one who can dictate tempo from the midfield. His long passes, as usual, were great, but it wasn’t an outstanding performance by any means from the talismanic captain. He gave away the free kick that Arsenal got their equalizer from and his corners and set pieces have been poor on most occasions this season. The fact that he manages to still be one of the most influential players in the team is really something then.
Jordan Henderson 6/10- Started his third game in a row as a right wing back. The Reds vice-captain’s athleticism and devotion is never in question, but he obviously does better in the centre of the pitch drifting wide, rather than out and out on the flanks. Still, he linked up well with Lallana and Coutinho and assisted Coutinho’s opener.
Lazar Markovic 6/10- The 20 year old summer buy from Benfica is finally showing why the Reds valued him at 20m pounds and got him . After impressing against United in a cameo role, he had a wonderful performance in the League Cup against Bournemouth where he also scored his first Liverpool goal. Operating in the left wing-back role, the Serbian showed his creativity in the first half doing well on the flanks and linking up nicely with Sterling and Coutinho. He could have bagged a goal or two and needs to improve his finishing, but the signs are very promising for Markovic.
Adam Lallana 7.5/10- The former Saints player has been the bright spot in the Liverpool side when they were doing terribly attacking wise. But now that they’re beginning to find their feet in that department, the 26 year old’s contribution will only yield more results. His corner was headed in beautifully by Martin Skrtel. He created 5 chances against the Gunners (that includes the assist), which was more than any other player on the pitch.In addition he also won 4 tackles, had 3 shots and was successful in 2 take-ons. He is doing well linking up with Coutinho and Sterling and looks determined every time, which should be heartening for Liverpool fans desperate to see their team fight.
Philippe Coutinho 8/10- A man of the match performance (for most parts) by the Brazilian. The 22 year old was Liverpool’s stand out performer in the pre-season and a lot of hopes after Suarez’s departure were pegged on him. He has disappointed this season but is beginning to look like his best self again. With 5 shots, 1 goal, 45 successful passes, 1 key pass, 2 take-ons and 4 won tackles, this was Coutinho’s most memorable performance this season. However, some of his attempts on goal were very disappointing and he could have got Liverpool a comfortable lead if he had done better on those occasions. It is beginning to look better for Coutinho as well.
Raheem Sterling 7/10- Coming into this game with bucket-loads of confidence after scoring a brace against Bournemouth midweek and bagging the prestigious European Golden Boy award previously given to the likes of Aguero and Messi, Sterling did well leading Liverpool’s attack.Operating as the false nine, the England international has to do better shooting wise and cause more trouble for the goalkeeper. Nevertheless, the 20 year old linked up well with Markovic, Coutinho and Lallana and his regular and pacey attacking darts at the Arsenal defenders was a huge menace for them.
Fabio Borini 4/10- Borini is a man who is so desperately looking for chances and it shows. It was a forgettable cameo appearance that included an almost goal for him from Sterling’s cross, but was remembered for his sending off as he got his second yellow for a very high challenge on Santi Cazorla after getting his first for dissent.
Rickie Lambert NA- Came on in the dying minutes for Kolo Toure, and hardly got involved in the action.