Sadio Mane was the only real spark in the game as Liverpool slumped to a shock 2-1 defeat at the hands of Arsenal on Wednesday evening.
Liverpool’s dream of reaching the 100 point milestone went down the drain as they tasted their third defeat of the season, going down 2-1 to Arsenal on Wednesday.
The Reds started the game brightly, taking the lead within 20 minutes through a well-worked goal that saw Sadio Mane find the back of the net. And with Arsenal struggling to create anything going forward, it was looking like a stroll in the park for the away side.
— Liverpool FC (Premier League Champions 🏆) (@LFC) July 15, 2020
However, two individual mistakes from Virgil van Dijk and Alisson paved the way for the Gunners to fight back into the game as they capitalised on both the errors to take a 2-1 lead just before half-time.
Mikel Arteta’s men were then more than willing to contain the Liverpool pressure throughout the second half and ultimately see out a famous victory. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men following their poor display at the Emirates.
Alisson could have done very little to deny Lacazette for Arsenal’s first goal. But, the Brazilian was fully culpable of conceding the second as his scuffed clearance was easily intercepted while he should have also done a better job in keeping Reiss Nelson’s strike out of his goal.
Other than that, Alisson had a fairly quiet evening as Arsenal conjured up only three attempts. The Liverpool goalkeeper did, however, looked nervy in the second half with a volleyed pass.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 6.5/10
Trent Alexander-Arnold was actually Liverpool’s most effective defender on Wednesday. After initially enduring a wobbly start to the game, the Englishman was quite influential going forward, notably providing an excellent return ball to Sadio Mane in the second half.
Joe Gomez: 6/10
Joe Gomez had very little to do throughout the course of the ninety minutes other than to witness van Dijk and Alisson make horrendous defensive errors that led to the Arsenal goals. Largely untroubled even when the pacy Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was introduced.
Virgil van Dijk: 4/10
Virgil van Dijk’s sloppy backpass towards Alisson was simply inexcusable for a player of his calibre despite his cries for a foul by Nelson. After that debacle, though, the Dutchman responded well, notably providing an exquisite diagonal ball in the second half that almost led to the equaliser. Defensively not moved.
Mistakes happen. That’s part of football. But it’s how you react to them that matters. Two big games to go, let’s finish strong! Can’t wait for next Wednesday! 🏆🏅 pic.twitter.com/E7kXHwT23x
— Virgil van Dijk (@VirgilvDijk) July 15, 2020
Andrew Robertson: 5/10
It was Andrew Robertson’s determination that allowed him to first win a header against Lucas Torreira and then run in behind the defence to provide the cross that led to Mane’s goal in the 20th minute. But that was the only positive highlight of the Scot’s display, whose rather careless throw back to Alisson led to the Brazilian making a mistake before Arsenal scored their second goal.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 4/10
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain started ahead of Naby Keita, receiving a guard of honor from his former employers before the start of the game. His on-pitch performance was far from great, however, as he failed to provide any sort of inspiration to the Liverpool attack.
Fabinho looked very solid at times with his passing, playing a key role in the early moments of the game, when Liverpool started to impose their dominance. However, the Brazilian eventually showed a few signs of complacency and wasn’t exactly tip-top with his distribution, although his defensive game still remained excellent.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 4/10
Georginio Wijnaldum started the game brightly, winning a couple of loose balls in midfield and recovering possession for his team. But, he was undone by his own lack of creativity. In fact, he seemed anonymous for the most part in the game.
Mohamed Salah: 5/10
Mohamed Salah had a disappointing evening his lofty standards. The Egyptian wizard was involved in the Liverpool attacks during the first phase of the game, but his influence waned, partly due to some excellent defending from the Arsenal players. Salah’s failure to provide inspiration in the Liverpool attack paved the way for the Reds to struggle against the Gunners.
Roberto Firmino: 6/10
Roberto Firmino showed excellent zest in trying to intercept an attempted long ball from Emiliano Martinez as the ball almost rolled into the back of the net. The Brazilian was then involved heavily in the Mane goal, providing Robertson with a perfect through ball across the byline.
Those were, unfortunately, his only two notable involvements in an otherwise disappointing display as he once again failed to find the back of the net.
Sadio Mane: 7/10
Mane was by far the best performer for Liverpool against Arsenal. He announced his presence on the pitch with an early goal to unsettle the Arsenal nerves and constantly provided a threat for the Gunners on the left flank.
Sadio Mane has been directly involved in 24 Premier League goals this season, only Vardy (27), Salah (28) and KDB (29) have been involved in more.
Another big season from him. 🇸🇳🙌 pic.twitter.com/8w2MtMEsdM
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) July 15, 2020
Indeed, the likes of Cedric and Rob Holding had to defend their hearts out in order to keep out the Senegalese international, whose tireless runs into the Arsenal backline did more damage to Mikel Arteta’s side than any other Liverpool attacker.
Takumi Minamino: 5/10
Takumi Minamino was introduced around the hour mark at the expense of Firmino. The Japanese forward tried to make things happen, notably trying to get a foul inside the box, except it wasn’t one. Another failed attempt to impress Jurgen Klopp.
Naby Keita: 6.5/10
Keita’s substitution in the 61st minute served as a massive boost for Liverpool. The ex-RB Leipzig star provided a real spark in midfield, making darting runs across the half-spaces while delivering dangerous crosses, one of which found Salah for a close range header. It was a surprise to see Keita starting on the bench to begin with.
Divock Origi: N/A
Made a record of becoming Liverpool’s most used substitute of all time when he came on for his 82nd appearance, replacing Salah in the 83rd minute. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Xherdan Shaqiri: N/A
A late replacement for the tiring Wijnaldum. Notably produced an excellent pass to switch the play, but did not feature enough to warrant a rating.