Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk failed to impress as Liverpool lost 1-0 to Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie.
Coming into the game as the overwhelming favourites, Liverpool were taken aback by the early intensity shown by Atletico Madrid. The hosts were ahead just four minutes into the game with Saul Niguez turning the ball home from close range, after Liverpool failed to deal with a corner kick.
Jurgen Klopp’s side tried hard to break down a stubborn Atleti defence, but were left frustrated on the night as they failed to have a single shot on target. Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson wasted their best opportunities in the second half and Liverpool are now left with the task of mounting a comeback in the second leg next month.
And here’s how we rated the performances of the Liverpool players on a disappointing night at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Defeat in the first leg.
Back to Anfield for another big European night next month 👊
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 18, 2020
Alisson Becker: 7/10
Not a lot the Brazilian could have done to keep Saul Niguez’s goal out. Pulled off a good stop to deny Alvaro Morata soon after in the first half. Had little to do for rest of the game. Distribution sharp and accurate as always.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 5/10
A disappointing night for the rising star of this Liverpool side. Struggled to find precision in his deliveries from the right flank for most of the night, while he also had issues defensively on occasions. Showed some improvement in the second period, but still well below his best.
Joe Gomez: 7/10
Was easily the most assured central defender for Liverpool on the night against Atletico. Defended solidly under some pressure from the hosts early on and looked confident each time he carried the ball out from the back. Created a great chance for Salah with a fine cross, but the Egyptian failed to convert.
Virgil van Dijk: 5/10
An uncharacteristically shaky display from Virgil van Dijk, who looked uncomfortable from the get-go. His haphazard clearance led to the corner from which Atletico scored, while another mishit clearance gifted Morata with a golden opportunity. Improved after the half-time break and looked a touch more solid, but a let-down compared to the standards he sets for himself.
Andrew Robertson: 8/10
The Scotsman was easily the best Liverpool player on the pitch on Tuesday night. Showed great energy and willingness to run up and down the left flank, but could not make a telling impact with his crosses. Defended solidly for most parts as well, with one clearance to deny Morata a clear-cut opportunity in the first-half particularly standing out.
Jordan Henderson: 6/10
Moved into a slightly advanced role following Fabinho’s return, the Liverpool captain worked hard as ever, covering a lot of ground, but lacked the element of creativity to break open the Atletico defence. Came close with a volleyed effort in the second period, but the ball drifted just wide. Came off late on with a hamstring injury.
Reinstated to the lineup, the Brazilian enforcer wasn’t off to the best of starts. Unlucky to see the ball bounce off of him and fall to Saul leading to the goal, while his passing seemed off the radar for most of the first half. Improved and got steadier with time, though, making important tackles and interceptions to get his team going. Still signs of rust in his performance.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 6/10
Typical workhorse-like display from the Netherlands international, who tried to drive Liverpool forward when in possession and worked extremely hard off the ball. However, much like his captain, Wijnaldum too lacked the creative ability to pierce through the hosts’ solid defence.
Mohamed Salah: 6/10
Had an interesting battle with Atletico’s Felipe throughout the seventy minutes he was on the field. Salah was a lively presence on the field, but could not change the outcome of the game. Had a shot deflected over in the first half, while he wasted a great chance after the break sending a free header wide.
Roberto Firmino: 6/10
The Brazilian found it difficult to make things happen in the final third with the Atletico defenders playing close attention to him throughout. Still managed to create a few openings, showing some neat touches and brilliant close control. Nevertheless, wasn’t able to influence the proceedings like he usually does.
Sadio Mane: 5/10
Back into the starting XI after his match-winning contribution against Norwich City, the Senegalese looked to cause problems with his pace, but let frustration get the better of him as the hosts managed to get under his skin. Booked in the first half for a foul on Sime Vrsaljko and was hooked off at half-time by Klopp as he ran the risk of getting sent off.
Divock Origi: 5/10
Came on for Mane at half-time. Made a couple of positive driving runs, but was let down by his footwork more often than not, leading to him yielding possession.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 5/10
Thrown on in place of Salah with less than twenty minutes left. Showed good energy, but was unable to change the course of the game.
James Milner: N/A
Replaced Henderson for the final ten minutes.