Trent Alexander-Arnold inspired a comfortable 2-0 win over ten-man Atletico Madrid for Liverpool, who booked their place in the Champions League Round of 16.
Liverpool were hot off the gates, with Atletico Madrid uncharacteristically all over the place at the back. The Reds duly pounced by scoring the opener in the 13th minute, as Trent Alexander-Arnold set Diogo Jota for a smart header with a first-time ball into the box.
Alexander-Arnold was involved again shortly after, as he executed a superb exchange with Sadio Mane, who was at the end of the chance that put Liverpool two ahead in the 21st minute. Liverpool were then handed a major boost as Atletico Madrid were reduced to ten men following a dangerous challenge by Felipe on Mane.
While referee Danny Makkelie initially appeared inclined towards showing Felipe a yellow card, he was forced to send him off due to dissent by the Brazilian defender. After that, Liverpool were fairly comfortable and even had a few chances to put the game to bed. At the other end, the closest Atletico Madrid came to troubling Alisson Becker was with a disallowed goal for Luis Suarez.
In the end, the Reds’ feathers were unruffled as they cruised to a 2-0 win, booking their place in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16. As for Atletico Madrid, they have slipped to third in the Group B standings following the 1-1 draw played out by FC Porto and AC Milan. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over both sets of players.
Alisson Becker: 6/10
A straightforward outing for Alisson, who did not have a single save to make. The Liverpool no. 1 had more work to do with his legs than his gloves, and he completed all but two of his attempted passes.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 9/10
44 – Since the start of the 2018-19 season, only Kevin De Bruyne (51) has more assists among Premier League players in all competitions than Trent Alexander-Arnold (44). Spark. pic.twitter.com/TbaV3jwobp
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 3, 2021
By far the best player on the pitch, Alexander-Arnold rediscovered his best touch in a key game, playing a major role in earning the three points. The English international was involved in both the goals that Liverpool scored, with the assist for the second goal sumptuous, to say the least.
Joel Matip: 7/10
Matip hardly had any defending to do on Wednesday, although he did complete a couple of clearances and won as many duels. The Cameroonian should have buried a chance at the opposite end instead of shooting off target.
Virgil van Dijk: 8/10
While van Dijk and Matip were hardly put under pressure, he did well enough to keep the backline organised, thereby isolating Luis Suarez from the rest of his teammates. The Dutchman’s numbers were still impressive as he completed three clearances while winning each of the six duels he contested.
Kostas Tsimikas: 8/10
Given a surprise starting berth, Tsimikas deputised for Andrew Robertson superbly, even though he was not nearly as involved as Alexander-Arnold. The Greek defender was never troubled in the defensive phases, and he posed a constant threat on his forays down the left flank. He deserves more minutes but cannot get so due to the brilliance of Robertson.
Jordan Henderson: 8/10
Alongside Fabinho, Henderson played a key role in wresting control of the game away from Atletico Madrid right from the get-go. The Liverpool captain completed 97 per cent of his attempted passes, linking up smartly with those in front. The Englishman seems to revel in the no. 8 role.
Fabinho won all six of his duels tonight. Just four passes misplaced. He makes a world of difference.
— The Tactical Times (@Tactical_Times) November 3, 2021
Passed fit to start, Fabinho was drafted into the starting lineup straight away, and the Brazilian was in his element. Sitting at the base of the Liverpool midfield, he controlled the proceedings with ease and even played a couple of key passes. This was a good run out in a game that he would not have envisioned to be so easy.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 7/10
Handed a rare start, Oxlade-Chamberlain grabbed his opportunity with both hands, bar a few sloppy moments on the ball. The Englishman showed a lot of confidence on the ball and never shied away from taking on an Atletico Madrid defender. He was taken off with a concerning injury.
Mohamed Salah: 8/10
Salah might have failed to find the back of the net for a second successive game, but he was easily the most potent outlet for Liverpool in the final third. The Egyptian’s forays into the Atletico Madrid boss will give Mario Hermoso nightmares for some time, and on another day, he might have been on target.
Diogo Jota: 7/10
Jota played just one half against Atletico Madrid but was influential enough in the first 45 minutes, as he popped up all over the pitch, sucking the Atletico Madrid defenders off their positions. The Portuguese international scored with yet another header, positioning himself perfectly for Alexander-Arnold’s delivery.
Sadio Mane: 8/10
Despite Liverpool’s dominance in the game, Mane did not see the ball too much. However, the Senegalese forward still made his mark in the game in a big way, with much of the action he was involved in coming in a rampant first half for Liverpool. The exchange with Alexander-Arnold leading up to his goal was brilliant, and Mane produced a fine finish to cap off the move.
Sadio Mané has now scored as many Champions League goals for Liverpool as the legendary Steven Gerrard (21). 🙌
— William Hill (@WilliamHill) November 3, 2021
Roberto Firmino: 6/10
On for Jota at half-time, Firmino was typically industrious in his performance and did not see too many opportunities coming his way. The big concern for Jurgen Klopp, though, will be the injury he picked up, with 12 minutes left in regulation time.
Thiago Alcantara: 6/10
On for Fabinho, Thiago was given some much-needed game-time to get going after a sizable layoff period. For the most part, the Spanish international was precise with the ball at his feet, although he did lose it cheaply on one occasion, which created a good chance for Atletico Madrid.
Divock Origi: N/A
On for the injured Firmino, Origi saw a few half chances coming his way but could not convert any of them.
Takumi Minamino: N/A
Making only his second appearance in the UEFA Champions League this season, Minamino did not get any chance to score, with Liverpool in energy preservation mode.
Nathaniel Phillips: N/A
On for Alexander-Arnold, Phillips helped see the game out.
Jan Oblak: 6/10
A rare saving grace for Atletico Madrid, Oblak made four saves and ensured Liverpool did not run away with the game when they really should have done so. However, the Slovenian was powerless in the face of the early onslaught and could not have done anything to deny Jota and Mane.
The reverse fixture had been one to forget for Felipe, and this game turned out to be even worse. Having already suffered from an electric start by Liverpool, the Brazilian was sent off only 36 minutes into the game, as after bringing Mane down with a poor challenge, he unnecessarily showed dissent to irk the referee.
October 19: Griezmann sent off for Atletico against Liverpool
November 3: Felipe sent off for Atletico against Liverpool pic.twitter.com/b9xuzwdrPN
— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 3, 2021
Jose Maria Gimenez: 4/10
As the player sitting at the base of the three-man central defensive unit, the onus was on Gimenez to keep the Atletico Madrid backline organised. However, the Uruguayan failed in his primary duty, as Liverpool manoeuvred their way around their visitors’ defenders with ease. He has to do so much better.
Mario Hermoso: 4/10
Wednesday was a disastrous day for Hermoso, even though Salah failed to score for the second game in a row. The Spanish international was pinned close to his box and never really got used to the pace of the game, with Salah giving him a lot to worry about constantly. That he even managed a few clearances and interceptions was simply down to the volume of moves directed towards his side.
Kieran Trippier: 5/10
With Tsimikas not as involved as Alexander-Arnold, Trippier was not under as much pressure as Yannick Carrasco on the opposite flank. However, the English international still had his troubles in the defensive phases, especially when Mane took on the Atletico Madrid defenders. He hardly carried a threat on the ball, losing possession an astounding 17 times.
The Atletico Madrid midfielders were not to be faulted too much bar the early exchanges when Liverpool simply passed them by. However, for three-quarters of the game, Koke was decent enough, losing the ball just four times while hustling away to help out the defenders.
Rodrigo De Paul: 6/10
One of the better players for Atletico Madrid, De Paul put in the hard yards off the ball and never stopped running. On the ball, he looked to orchestrate play to the best of his abilities but found the front-men isolated by the superb Liverpool defenders. The Argentine did all that he could, but it was hardly relevant in the end.
Yannick Carrasco: 5/10
While he did not make any sort of impact in the final third, Carrasco was the best prospect for Atletico Madrid to put Liverpool under any kind of pressure on the night. The Belgian was up against it in the defensive phases, though, with Trent Alexander-Arnold giving him a lot to worry about.
Angel Correa: 5/10
The Atletico Madrid attack was rendered inconsequential in the game, especially after Felipe got his marching orders. The Argentine international did see a fair bit of the ball, which is not what can be said of Joao Felix and Luis Suarez, but could never really get close to the Liverpool goal.
Joao Felix: 5/10
A frustrating evening for Felix, who never really got a chance to showcase his best skills, especially following the dismissal of Felipe. The Portuguese international barely saw the ball during his stay on the pitch and had more defensive work to do than at the opposite end of the pitch.
Luis Suarez: 5/10
A passenger for the most part in the game, Suarez was left isolated due to Liverpool’s dominance in the game. Booed with every touch by the Anfield faithful following his wild celebrations the last time he scored against the Reds, the former Liverpool striker saw a rare chance coming his way shortly before his substitution, only to be pulled back by an offside call.
Hector Herrera: 5/10
On for Suarez, Herrera was bestowed with a chance to score following a rare defensive mishap by Liverpool. However, the Mexican international fluffed his lines, failing to bring Atletico Madrid back in the game.
Renan Lodi: 5/10
On for Felix, Lodi did not have much defending to do but still faced a couple of hairy moments. He did well for the most part otherwise.
Mateus Cunha: 5/10
Sent on in place of Koke, Cunha barely saw the ball late on and completed just the solitary pass in over 20 minutes on the pitch, with Liverpool hardly losing possession late on.
Sime Vrsaljko: 6/10
On for Carrasco, Vrsaljko did well whenever called into action in the defensive phases. He hardly got a chance to make an impact going forward.
Javier Serrano: N/A
Handed his first-team debut in the most unideal of circumstances. The 18-year-old hardly saw the ball in his cameo, with Liverpool seeing the game out professionally.