Liverpool cemented their place at the top of Group E, with a victory against a hapless Maribor NK at Anfield.
Like in the game versus Huddersfield over the weekend, the Reds saved all of the action for the second half. Mohamed Salah opened the scoring in the 49th minute, after which James Milner missed a penalty thanks to a great save from Handanovic, who took some help from the post.
Emre Can doubled his side’s lead from distance and Daniel Sturridge came on and got a goal himself, to cap off an extremely comfortable night for Jurgen Klopp & co. The only downside of this game was the loss of Georginio Wijnaldum through injury.
Loris Karius: 7/10
Thanks to his defence and midfield, had arguably the best seat in the house. Had just one save to make, and did it well.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 8/10
It was a superb game from the 19-year-old. Setup Mohamed Salah’s goal with a fine cross, one of the 14 he attempted over the course of the game. He was the match’s third most prolific passer and got a number of interceptions in. An extremely promising performance.
Joel Matip: 7/10
Was barely troubled due to Liverpool’s dominance of the game. Took the opportunity to venture a bit further forward and was the matches most prolific passer, completing an astounding 114 passes. A quiet night for the German.
Ragnar Klavan: 7/10
Like his partner, barely troubled. Won all but one of his aerial duels when required and was his side’s second most prolific passer, managing just 4 lesser than Matip.
Alberto Moreno: 8/10
Found Sturridge in the box for Liverpool’s second, although it took a slight deflection before it found him. Got a few tackles in, but did most of his good work in the Maribor half. Added to his side’s many crosses with a few of his own and maintained a good passing accuracy in the final-third.
Emre Can: 8/10
Arguably Liverpool’s best player on the pitch. The German scored a fantastic goal in the 64th minute, a move he started himself after combining with Milner. Was fantastic in the air and made a number of tackles, contributing both going forward and defensively. A near-perfect performance.
James Milner: 7/10
Perhaps could have done better with the penalty, but set up Emre Can’s goal after combining beautifully with the German. Created a number of chances for his teammates and kept having a go at the Maribor defence with take ons and a barrage of crosses.
Georginio Wijnaldum: N/A
Unfortunately had to be taken off due to an ankle injury in the 17th minute. Wasn’t missed too much, as the scoreline suggests.
Mohamed Salah: 8/10
Got on the end of a fine cross from Alexander-Arnold and did it justice with an even better finish. The former Chelsea man just flicked it past Handanovic with the deftest of touches, with his back facing the goal when he made contact with the ball. Top class from Liverpool’s top scorer.
Besides the goal, he did take some time to find his stride. Wasn’t his best overall performance and was still Liverpool’s biggest threat going forward. Could’ve had a few more goals as well and 1 goal from 7 attempted shot isn’t exactly the most flattering return, but the three points for Liverpool is the one that will count the most.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 7/10
His first Anfield start and his first home start for Liverpool in the Champions League. Took some time to find his stride and was decent going forward. Not a bad performance from the Englishman, is capable of much better. Slowed down towards the end of the game.
Roberto Firmino: 7/10
A fantastic piece of skill to win the penalty. Besides that, the Brazilian attacker kept the Maribor defence occupied, taking on a number of players and dropped down deep, looking creative and be involved as much as possible. Will be disappointed to not get on the score-sheet however.
Jordan Henderson: 7/10
Had to be brought on earlier than Klopp would’ve liked due to Wijnaldum’s injury. Came on and bossed the midfield alongside James Milner and Emre Can. Played some nice long, cross-field passes and ensured that James Milner and Emre Can had the freedom to venture forward.
Daniel Sturridge: 7/10
Came on with 16 minutes to go, and wouldn’t have been given a rating had it not been for his last minute goal. Got himself in the right place and the right time, controlled a deflected Moreno cross and shot it home from 5 yards out to score his third goal of the season.
It was his first Champions League goal for Liverpool in his 6 years at the club, about time he opened his account. Scored for the first time in consecutives matches this season, after netting against Huddersfield over the weekend. That will undoubtedly do his confidence a world of good.