Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool

Liverpool player ratings vs Arsenal as champions lose 2-1 at the Emirates

The champions lost at the Emirates Stadium after taking an early lead, ending their chances of beating Manchester City’s 100-point Premier League record.

Liverpool player ratings vs Arsenal as champions lose 2-1 at the Emirates
SHAUN BOTTERILL REUTERS

It all seemed to be going to plan for Liverpool when they took the lead in the opening stages, a barnstorming run from Andy Robertson putting the ball on a plate for Sadio Mané for his 17th league goal of the season. But Liverpool’s usually resolute defence was their downfall as the game turned on its head before half-time

The imperious Virgil van Dijk was caught dallying on the ball by Reiss Nelson and the Dutchman could only roll the ball to Alexandre Lacazette who slotted home. Arsenal took the lead shortly before the break when Alisson Becker’s short pass was intercepted by Lacazette who returned the favour to Nelson. The Englishman calmly placed his shot past a helpless Alisson. 

The visitors poured forward in the second-half but Arsenal stayed strong and saw out the game for a win over Liverpool for the first time since April 2015. Liverpool can no longer reach the 100-point Premier League record and Arsenal move to within a point of 8th-placed Sheffield United.

Liverpool player ratings

Alisson Becker – The Brazilian’s ability with his feet has been vital to Liverpool’s style in recent seasons but it deserted him shortly before half-time, his scuffed pass leading directly to Arsenal’s second. Looked slightly shaky from then on with a couple of other misplaced efforts. 5/10

Trent Alexander-Arnold – Usually links so effectively with Salah down the right but with the Egyptian playing increasingly centrally Alexander-Arnold was reduced to crossing from deep for much of the second half. Swung in a few decent balls when he did get forward but his booking for a late tackle on Saka looked to be a challenge of frustration. 6/10

Joe Gomez – Arsenal actually created very few chances themselves so Gomez can be fairly pleased with his performance. He limited Lacazette well while the Frenchman was on the pitch but had little to do for much of the second half. 6/10

Virgil van Dijk – The big Dutchman has taken the captain’s armband in Henderson’s absence but he looked in need of some motivation in the first half, lazily prodding the ball to Lacazette for Arsenal’s first. He was back to his usual self in the second but that mistake was the catalyst for the turnaround. 5/10

Andy Robertson – Looked the sharpest player in a Liverpool shirt for much of the evening, winning the ball in the air and making a driving run to set up a goal for Mane. Found the winger in the box again with a brilliant curved ball late on but Mane could not convert. 7/10

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – Reinstated to the starting XI against his former club he looked eager to get on the scoresheet, firing in a number of speculative shots from range. He struggled to make anything happen for his side and was replaced by Keita on an hour. 5/10

Fabinho – Liverpool’s metronomic pivot was the best of the trio that began in midfield and his physicality was important for the Reds throughout. Recycled the ball well when in possession but did not show his range of passing that can be so useful to unlock a deep defence. 6/10

Gini Wijnaldum – He is never the most eye-catching of players but the Dutchman really seemed to drift out of the game at the Emirates. Looked like a spare part in a crowded midfield and was lucky to last as long as he did. 5/10

Mohamed Salah – His single-mindedness is admirable at times and his quick feet in the box created a couple of half chances for himself. However he shot when there were better options at times and cut a frustrated figure when he was subbed. 6/10

Roberto Firmino – The Brazilian often plays well at the Emirates and his play-making qualities were on show again with intelligent link play creating openings down the left flank. Can count himself fairly unlucky to be withdrawn midway through the second half with his side a goal down. 7/10

Sadio Mané – Scored the game’s opening goal with a sharp finish past Martinez but became embroiled in a spat with Holding for the rest of the first half. Looked Liverpool’s greatest threat as the game wore on but could not find an equaliser with Arsenal’s defence crowding him out. 7/10

Substitutes

Naby Keita – Tends to look more effective as a substitute and looked good on the ball with some probing runs, but never created anything concrete. 6/10

Takumi Minamino – The forward’s best performance since arriving from Germany, fulfilling the Firmino role well with clever movement. Flashed a good effort past Martinez’s post late on. 7/10

Xherdan Shaqiri – Barely had a touch but had the ball in the net in the final seconds with a crisp strike, only for it to be ruled out for a foul by Origi. N/A

Divock Origi – The Belgian’s only real involvement was a clumsy challenge on Tierney. N/A