Liverpool continued their perfect start to the season on Saturday a 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley saw them prove their title credentials.
An electric start set the tone for the game as Sadio deflected the ball into the back of the net in the very first minute only to be pulled back for offside. Tottenham, on the other hand, looked like a disjointed unit that was completely off the pace for much of the game.
Indeed, Liverpool dominated the proceedings for the most part, conjuring the more convincing of the chances. And, they were deservedly ahead in the 39th minute as Georginio Wijnaldum sent a looping header into the net, before it was given as the goal by Goal Line Technology, meaning the Reds were in the lead at half-time.
The Reds only built on their momentum post the interval, as Roberto Firmino tapped into an empty net after Mane’s low cross was deflected multiple times and spilled by Michel Vorm. Liverpool were the better of the two sides for the rest of the game, but they failed to add to their advantage.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) September 15, 2018
Tottenham did find their way on to the scoresheet, as Erik Lamela drilled in a close-range volley. But, it was too little too late, as Liverpool held on for the narrow, albeit comfortable win. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men as they extended their winning streak.
A quieter afternoon with the gloves than what he would have initially imagined, Alisson mostly had to make routine saves apart from solid stop that denied Christian Eriksen. But, it was with the ball at his feet where the Brazilian showed vastly improved decision making, taking no chances with the clearances. Had no chance to save the goal, however.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 7.5/10
An accomplished performance by Alexander-Arnold, who was impressive in a tricky outing against Lucas Moura. The teenager held his own in what was his 50th appearance for Liverpool, rarely being troubled by his opponents at the back. On the other end, while his delivery still has some scope for improvement, Alexander-Arnold did test Vorm with a curling free-kick.
Joe Gomez: 8/10
Gomez just continues to grow in stature in the absence of Dejan Lovren, with his central defensive partnership one of Liverpool’s strengths this season. On Saturday, not a lot went past him except a couple of occasions when Lucas Moura got the better of him. But, the young Englishman kept his marker in check for the most part in what was another solid outing.
Virgil van Dijk: 8.5/10
The fact that van Dijk has completely transformed Liverpool’s backline is best exemplified by how confidently they dealt with Tottenham’s threat. Just a year ago, the Reds had been bullied out of the park but van Dijk’s presence means it will take a lot to overpower them now.
As always, no one got the better of him in aerial situations, while a last ditch tackle showcased his class. Harry Kane had no way past the defensive wall that van Dijk had put up and that ended up defining the result. Every bit worth the £75 million Liverpool spent on him.
Andrew Robertson: 8/10
His performance may have gone under the radar slightly, but Robertson was crucial to Liverpool’s win as well. The Scot negated the threat posed by the dangerous Kieran Trippier, with Tottenham enjoying very little action from his flank. In the final third, he was a constant outlet, and will count himself unlucky to not have his name on the scoresheet. One of Klopp’s biggest assets.
James Milner: 8.5/10
Liverpool’s old workhorse was at his best on Saturday, putting in an industrious shift that ensured the visitors dominated the midfield battle. The manager’s delight, with crisp passing that ensured the Reds’ control over the game, while his relentless pressing pegged Tottenham back within their own half.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 8.5/10
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 15, 2018
Yet another day when Wijnaldum was trusted with player in a deeper role in midfield, and the Dutch international did not disappoint. Won his personal battle with Mousa Dembele and provided an assured presence in the middle of the park.
To cap off a fantastic performance, Wijnaldum scored Liverpool’s first goal, which was his first ever away goal in the Premier League – it only took 58 matches to do so. The first five games have been a coming off age for the 27-year-old, and with Jordan Henderson and Fabinho yet to be fully unleashed, Klopp is in a great place with his midfield options.
Naby Keita: 6.5/10
Back into the side in place of Henderson, Keita was far from his best on Saturday. But, the Guinean did his bit to help Liverpool dominate the midfield battle. Linked up well with Sadio Mane on the left flank, but the end product was lacking, which meant Keita was unable to open his account for the Reds, when presented with a strong chance to do so.
Mohamed Salah: 6/10
Salah was, quite easily, the most dangerous outlet for Liverpool on Saturday with his clever movement. But, as had been the case in the previous four games, his finishing let him down for the most part. To make matters worse, the Egyptian superstar was too selfish at times, even when a better opportunity presented itself in the form of a free teammate.
Roberto Firmino: 8/10
After a slightly slow start to the season, Firmino looked to back in his elements, with a solid international break evidently helping his confidence. While his typical qualities were visible, the Brazilian looked to advance forward much more regularly, which made him a potent outlet.
Showed composure during a chaotic sequence, ultimately scoring the winner on the day. Provided a cause for concern in the final stages of the match after being taken off due to an eye issue, following a poke from Jan Vertonghen, although the latest updates suggest he is fine.
Sadio Mane: 6.5/10
Like Salah, Saturday’s outing was underwhelming from Mane, who wasn’t quite at his best. The Senegal international played his part in the win, but he too, was unnecessarily selfish, failing to spot Salah on a couple of occasions, which had Klopp exasperating on the touchline. Mane and Salah need to rediscover their understanding, especially as a tough sequence of games begins.
Jordan Henderson: 6/10
For the fourth time, Henderson came on for the last half hour or so to settle the nerves, which to his credit he did perfectly. Kept things ticking as Liverpool continued dominating the proceedings.
Daniel Sturridge: N/A
On for the final 10 minutes or so, Sturridge was a lively figure in the final third, but couldn’t create much of an impact in the little time that was afforded to him.
Joel Matip: N/A
Only on the pitch for the final few minutes, Matip didn’t have much time to do anything of note.