Adam Lallana impressed on a rare start as a 42nd minute Sadio Mane goal helped Liverpool edge Wolves 1-0 at Anfield on Sunday.
Liverpool were utterly dominant right from the get-go, but left a lot to be desired with their finishing, until Sadio Mane broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute at the end of a fine move, which included a brilliant chested pass by Adam Lallana.
However, bar the goal, VAR was the talk of the town at the end of the game, as Pedro Neto was denied the leveller when Jonny Otto was ruled offside during the build-up in contentious manner. Liverpool, though, held on to their slender advantage to end 2019 with another win. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Alisson Becker: 7/10
Not a game wherein Alisson did not have a great deal to do, like some of the recent outings, but not a game wherein he was tested as much as he or any Liverpool fan would have expected. Called into action twice and he was equal to whatever was thrown his way in those moments. Was caught in a couple of worrying moments, but remained calm in the face of concern.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 8/10
Coming off an imperious performance against Leicester City last time out, Alexander-Arnold was in fine touch once again. Not as imposing as he was on Boxing Day, but the young full-back still posed a constant threat in the final third and should have been rewarded with an early assist, only for Mohamed Salah to miss from close range.
Defended well at the back, making as many as six recoveries, although he was caught out when Neto scored the goal that was ruled out at the stroke of half-time. Other than that moment, Alexander-Arnold was solid, while linking up well with Adam Lallana.
Joe Gomez: 8/10
Another superb performance by Gomez, who has been growing in stature in the absence of Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip. The young Englishman was solid at the heart of the Liverpool defence, keeping a check on Diogo Jota’s involvement, using his pace to good effect. Matip and Lovren will have a hard time getting their place back in the side, with Gomez playing some of his best football.
Virgil van Dijk: 7/10
Liverpool’s defensive leader shepherded the backline well and was never beaten in the air. But, his outing was not without incident, as an error forced Alisson to make a quick reaction save while also giving the ball away cheaply once. Had a role to play in the winner, playing the ball towards Lallana before Sadio Mane slotted home the goal. Made a spectacular block on Adama Traore late on.
Andrew Robertson: 6/10
An off day for Robertson, going by his enormous standards. Kept busy all night long by Jonny Otto and would have been the culprit had VAR not ruled Wolves’ goal out for offside. Not as influential going forward as he can be, but defended decently for the most part.
Adam Lallana: 8/10
2y 363d – Adam Lallana has assisted a Premier League goal for the first time since December 2016 against Manchester City, 2 years and 363 days ago. Shouldered. pic.twitter.com/zvbXDKcedX
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 29, 2019
Back into the side, Lallana was the only change in Liverpool’s starting lineup. Right from the get-go, the Englishman looked to be in his elements, showing a lot of intent when pressing forward while running himself into the ground when off the ball. Tremendously aware to dink the ball with his shoulder when providing the assist for Mane’s goal. A superb return for Lallana.
Jordan Henderson: 7/10
Fit to start, Henderson reprised the holding midfield role once again and excelled when dealing with the threat of Joao Moutinho. Linked up well with Lallana and Alexander-Arnold to drive his side forward. Bar one hairy moment, he was assured defensively. This was his 308th appearance of the decade in the Premier League – the most by any player – and there is more to come.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 7/10
In typical fashion, Wijnaldum was his industrious self, which, in turn, helped Liverpool dominate the midfield battle and the proceedings. Harried the opposition remarkably well and kept things simple when moving the ball along. Should have done better with a chance inside the box.
Mohamed Salah: 7/10
A game of two halves for Salah, who was a bundle of energy in the first half and constantly found himself being in dangerous areas. However, his profligate ways resurfaced and he ought to have done better with some of the chances that came his way, particularly an opening in the second minute. Finishing needs improvement.
Roberto Firmino: 6/10
One of the more underwhelming performances of the season from Firmino. As is usually the case with him, the Brazilian looked to stretch the opposition defence with his movement. However, the end product was missing from his game against Wolves. Came close with a headed effort.
Sadio Mane: 8/10
Yet again, Mane was on song in a home game. Much like Salah, it was a game of two halves for Mane as well, although the way he ended the first half set the tone for his showing post the break. Pouncing on Lallana’s deft touch, the Senegalese netted the only goal of the game, sealing all three points for Liverpool. Helped out a great deal in the defensive phase as well.
Naby Keita: 6/10
On for Lallana, Keita had a job at his hands, as Wolves looked to get the goal back. Worked hard on and off the ball, helping Liverpool to a vital win.
James Milner: N/A
A late introduction, Milner helped see the game out.
Divock Origi: N/A
Much like Milner, Origi barely had time to make an impact.