Xherdan Shaqiri put in an absolute masterclass in midfield for Liverpool as they ran out 2-0 winners over rock-bottom Fulham.
Liverpool were fast out of the gates against Fulham at Anfield. But, frustration seemed to be creeping in, thanks to a profligate performance in the first half. After a couple of spurned chances, Mohamed Salah made the counter count in what was a controversial buildup.
Aleksandar Mitrovic scored a goal which looked legit. But, his header was flagged for offside, wrongly as the replays show, with Salah scoring within seconds in a fast resumption of play, which was also controversial, with the ball still in motion as Alisson Becker played it.
Fulham had a couple of other chances but failed to make the most of it since, with Liverpool doubling the lead early in the second half, thanks to Xherdan Shaqiri, who took the ball well inside the box to slot it home past Sergio Rico. It was smooth sailing afterwards as Liverpool lodged a 2-0 win over Premier League strugglers Fulham.
We now take a closer look at the ratings.
Alisson Becker – 6.5
Did not do much of note, despite making three saves during the match. Distribution though, was a particular highlight, something that will really help Liverpool in the long run. Should be delighted with the clean sheet, although, owing to controversial refereeing.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7.5
Was not expected to start on Sunday. But, kept his place, with Jurgen Klopp thinking it more imperative to slot Joe Gomez in alongside Virgil van Dijk. Alexander-Arnold was pristine in his forward forays, including his ball that found Mohamed Salah for the opener. Slowly becoming one of the best right-backs in the league.
Joe Gomez – 7
One can gauge just how good Joe Gomez has been that Jurgen Klopp chose to reinstate him immediately as he returned from his injury layoff. Van Dijk is loving Joe’s company at the back and it looks like the feeling is mutual. Lucky to have a clean sheet but a strong performance nonetheless.
Virgil van Dijk – 7.5
Arguably the best signing by a Premier League club in January in a long while. Van Dijk has not only elevated the level of the defence but seems to be serving as a role model for Joe Gomez to play alongside and learn from. Repaying his world record fee and with good premium each match.
Andrew Robertson – 8
Was already tipped to be the best bargain signing when he arrived at Liverpool. Did take a while to dislodge James Milner at left-back. But, he has made the position his own and has not dropped his level whatsoever. His cross for Shaqiri was the stuff of dreams.
Gini Wijnaldum – 6
Wijnaldum looked out of sorts in the midfield pivot alongside Fabinho, who outshined him by a mile. Wijnaldum was ordinary and is in danger of losing his place in midfield.
Fabinho – 7
His best performance in the Premier League. Fabinho was running things left, right and center. Kept the ball ticking and should start more often, judged on this display.
Xherdan Shaqiri – 8
Hero of the afternoon. Shaqiri’s turnaround at Liverpool has been quicker than a 100 metre race. Disappointing in cameos and short stints, he has started to earn the right to start regularly for the Reds. On Sunday, he was more involved than any other attacker. Took his goal well and deserved it.
Roberto Firmino – 6.5
Did not look as up for the game as the other players in the starting eleven. Not as involved either. One thing he was influential in was his role in being the creative driver for Liverpool. Had FIVE key passes during the game and could have had an assist or two if not for the blotched finishing levels. A rare bad outing.
Sadio Mane – 6.5
Mane spurned a few chances on Sunday. Again, Jurgen Klopp is lucky to have Shaqiri come into form as his terrific trio do look to be lacking form and their usual sharpness in recent games. Perhaps, the international break will serve as the right time to recharge their batteries.
Mohamed Salah – 7
Mohamed Salah vs. newly promoted sides in the Premier League for Liverpool:
⏰ 682 minutes
⚽ 5 goals
🎯 5 assists
A goal involvement every 68 minutes. pic.twitter.com/fRAAtzdOvK
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 11, 2018
Salah not only scored in the game but opened the scoring in what became important after the spurned chances early on. But, the Egyptian could have easily had a hattrick on Sunday, if he had his usual swagger. Did score but should be putting away the other chances just as well.
Jordan Henderson – 6.5
Henderson did more in his time on the pitch than Wijnaldum who started. Made sure Liverpool did not lose his way. Klopp will be glad to have his captain return to fitness.
James Milner – N/A
Came in for Shaqiri after the 80th minute as Jurgen Klopp opted to introduce a fresh pair of legs.
Naby Keita – N/A
No real explanation other than running time down, which is absurd because Liverpool were already winning 2-0. Came on in stoppage time and hardly had two touches on the ball and a solitary pass.