Alisson was the saviour in goal for Liverpool as a late Roberto Firmino strike earned them a 2-1 win over Monterrey in the Club World Cup semi-final.
Liverpool were hot off the gates, dominating the proceedings from the get-go. The Reds went ahead with practically their first chance of the game, as Naby Keita scored from close range after being put through on goal by Mohamed Salah. Three minutes later, though, the game was back on level terms as Rogelio Funes Mori scored for Monterrey.
Thereafter, a keenly contested affair ensued, with Liverpool looking vulnerable against counters. Alisson kept the European champions in the game till the final stages, when the winner was scored by Roberto Firmino, who tapped in from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s low cross to send his team to the Club World Cup final. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Alisson Becker: 9/10
🎵All you need is Alisson Becker!🎵
Jurgen Klopp is in a good mood after Liverpool’s late win in the Club World Cup.
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) December 18, 2019
Absolutely outstanding. On a night when Monterrey took aim at his goal more than Liverpool did at the other end, Alisson needed to be alert to the danger posed by the Mexican outfit. And, he was in his elements on the night, making as many as seven saves to keep Liverpool in the game. Perhaps his best ever performance in a Liverpool shirt.
James Milner: 7/10
With Trent Alexander-Arnold being given a bit of a breather, Milner filled in as a makeshift right-back. The veteran Englishman gave a good account of himself in the defensive phase, but it was some of his offensive contribution that was impressive. Came close to scoring and should have had an assist when he crossed for Divock Origi.
Joe Gomez: 6/10
In the absence of the ill Virgil van Dijk, the onus was on Gomez to take on the mantle of keeping the defensive line organised. However, against the face of Monterrey counters, the Englishman was not as comfortable as he would have liked to be. At fault for Monterrey’s equaliser, he can also count himself lucky for getting off with a yellow for a challenge on Rogelio Funes Mori.
Jordan Henderson: 6.5/10
With only one recognised centre-back fit, Henderson was deployed as a makeshift central defender. To begin with, the Liverpool captain looked like a fish out of water, but he slowly found his feet and held his own for much of the second half. A decent performance as the sweeper at the back.
Andrew Robertson: 6/10
A sub-par performance by Robertson, who was not quite at his best on Wednesday. Did not have a great time linking up with either Xherdan Shaqiri or Divock Origi. Lost his marker at the back in the build-up to Monterrey’s equaliser.
Naby Keita: 8/10
Back into the starting lineup after being rested against Watford, Keita continued his fine run of form. His runs off the ball are a thing of beauty, and one such run ended with Liverpool’s opener. A lively presence on the pitch throughout, Keita is starting to finally find his feet at Liverpool. Now has as many goals in his last three games as he had in the entirety of last season.
Adam Lallana: 5/10
With Henderson starting in defence, Lallana was the holding midfielder for Liverpool. However, the Englishman was unable to provide adequate cover to the backline and was overrun with ease at times. Slick on the ball for the most part, he did well to link up with attack, but he needs to pull his weight off the ball as well.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 8/10
Like Keita on the other side of the midfield, Oxlade-Chamberlain was a bundle of energy and never shied away from executing his trademark driving runs. Looked assured when playing his teammates through as well and on another day, he could have had an assist to show for his efforts as well.
Mohamed Salah: 7/10
Salah continued his fine run of form by providing the assist for Keita’s goal, showing the incredible chemistry that he enjoys with the midfielder. Continued posing a threat thereafter, but was unable to add his name to the score sheet. Heavily involved in Roberto Firmino’s goal, holding the ball well before laying it on for Trent Alexander-Arnold, who crossed for the Brazilian.
Divock Origi: 5/10
An underwhelming performance by Origi, who just could not find a way to leave his mark on the game. His frustration boiled over when he failed to convert Milner’s cross from close range. Moved out to the left flank later on in the game, but was unable to improve his fortunes there either.
Xherdan Shaqiri: 6/10
Another player who was not quite at his best on the night. Shaqiri cannot be faulted for a lack of effort, but he had very little influence in the game and struggled to link up well with Robertson on his flank. Taken off for Mane, this was an opportunity missed for Shaqiri.
Sadio Mane: 6/10
On for Shaqiri, Mane did not make much of an impact, not looking as effective on the right flank as he does on the left.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 7/10
Given the final 15 minutes to make a difference, Alexander-Arnold looked lively from the get-go and left his mark with a clever low cross that Firmino converted for the winner.
Roberto Firmino: 7/10
It is rare that late substitutions get rated, but the fact that Firmino made the difference with his strike warranted a rating for him. In the right place at the right time to convert Alexander-Arnold’s cross.