Dejan Lovren salvaged a point for an underwhelming Liverpool side, who held Napoli to a 1-1 draw at Anfield on Wednesday.
Liverpool were the stronger of the two sides in the early exchanges, but conceded the lead against the run of play. Napoli striker Dries Mertens produced a stunning finish from an acute angle to break the deadlock, although it was a contentious goal as the Reds alleged a foul on Virgil van Dijk in the build-up to the goal.
That goal would prove to be Napoli’s last shot in the match, as Liverpool thoroughly dominated the possession battle, albeit without much of a cutting edge. The elusive equaliser finally came in the 65th minute when Dejan Lovren produced a fantastic headed finish from James Milner’s corner.
The game would finish on level terms, leaving Group E evenly poised, with just three points separating Liverpool, Napoli and third-placed Red Bull Salzburg, who face the Reds on the final matchday. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Alisson Becker: 5/10
The finish by Dries Mertens for Napoli’s goal was truly stunning. However, Alisson’s positioning for the opener was rather suspect and he was beaten rather easily. Otherwise, the Brazilian did not have a save to make and was assured with the ball at his feet.
Joe Gomez: 5/10
With Jurgen Klopp looking to manage Trent Alexander-Arnold’s minutes amid a fixture congestion, Gomez got a chance to impress, this time as a right-back. But, the Englishman, who was barely tested defensively, hardly looked comfortable in the position, struggling to make much of an impact going forward. No wonder then, that he was the first player to be taken off.
Dejan Lovren: 7/10
Dejan Lovren has scored his first Champions League goal for Liverpool.
A timely goal for the Reds. 👀 pic.twitter.com/dIzz7dOheg
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 27, 2019
Ought to have done a bit better when he was without a partner in the lead-up to the Napoli goal, although Lovren was hardly the primary culprit. Thereafter, the Croat was untroubled at the back, keeping a check on Hirving Lozano in solid fashion. To cap off a solid performance, Lovren rescued a point for Liverpool with a fine headed finish.
Virgil van Dijk: 6/10
The debate continues to rage on as to whether van Dijk was fouled leading up to Napoli’s goal. But, his absence at the back was dearly felt, as Mertens had a clear run into the box before finding the back of the net. Kept the defence organised for the remainder of the game and constantly looked to move his team forward by spraying the ball forward.
Andrew Robertson: 5/10
Far from his best. Robertson saw plenty of the ball all through the game, but his end product often left a lot to be desired. Even so, the Scot created one of the best chances of the game, only to see Mohamed Salah failing to apply the finishing touches to the pass.
Jordan Henderson: 6/10
A game of hits and misses for Henderson, who started the game strongly and looked to find the front men with quick first-time passes. But, the Liverpool captain fizzled out post that, although that also had to do with a shuffling of positions through the game. Did well when deployed as a makeshift right-back before Trent Alexander-Arnold took over.
In what was a big blow to Liverpool, Fabinho hobbled off the pitch after just 19 minutes. The Brazilian midfielder had pulled the strings in typical fashion up until then and mere moments after his substitution, Liverpool conceded the opening goal to Napoli. Klopp will hope the injury is not serious enough, with his side just not the same without Fabinho playing.
James Milner: 6/10
Another player plagued by inconsistencies. Milner had some positive moments, most notably when he provided the assist for Lovren’s goal with a precise delivery. Also denied by Alex Meret on the stroke of half-time. However, he was a tad bit slow in moving the ball forward for parts of the game, only adding to the frustration, which was the theme of the night for Liverpool.
Mohamed Salah: 5/10
Back into the side after being deemed fit enough to start, Salah was a lively presence and engaged in a captivating duel with Kalidou Koulibaly all game long. The Egyptian, though, failed to take the few chances that came his way and should have buried Robertson’s corner, although he deserved to have been awarded a penalty when Koulibaly was tugging at him aggressively in the second half.
Roberto Firmino: 6/10
The best of the lot in the final third for Liverpool, although that is hardly an achievement. Other than Lovren’s goal, Firmino had the best shot at scoring for the hosts, only to be thwarted off the line by Koulibaly. Some of his trademark flicks were on full display and he typically worked hard. Just could not manage that final push to complete a comeback win.
Sadio Mane: 5/10
An uncharacteristically quiet showing by Mane, who, like Salah, was energetic with his bursts on the left side of the Liverpool attack. However, there was very little end product to match that energy and he never quite looked like a player who could have made the difference on the night.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 6/10
An early substitution, Wijnaldum was thrown on in the 19th minute due to Fabinho’s injury. A bundle of energy, the Dutchman looked to push Liverpool forward, only to be met with a disciplined Napoli resistance.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 7/10
The player who should have started. On for Gomez, in the 33 minutes that he was on the pitch, Oxlade-Chamberlain was clearly their best player and created a couple of fine openings. Has done more than enough to get regular starts in recent outings.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: N/A
A late introduction, Alexander-Arnold did not make much of an impact.