Football Features

Full player ratings as “Arsenal’s hirsute heavyweight” lands knockout blow to punch-drunk Liverpool in shock 2-1 win

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:32, 15 July 2020 | Updated: 9:52, 30 March 2021

In a shocking night of football, Arsenal came from behind to beat Premier League champions Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium.

The result means that the Reds have dropped 8 points in the last five games and cannot now reach the coveted 100 point total.

Here’s how the players rated at the Emirates Stadium:

Arsenal

Emiliano Martinez – 8 – Some solid interventions when called upon, including one massive stop from Mohamed Salah.

Rob Holding – 8 – An impressive performance at the back, albeit occasionally he struggled with some of Mané’s movement.

David Luiz – 8 – A colossus. No, seriously. An absolute colossus.

Kieran Tierney – 8 – Several impressive last-ditch interventions to keep Liverpool, and particularly Mohamed Salah, at bay. Rarely in the right position to start with but always able to get back in time.

Cedric – 7 – A committed performance on the right, generally outmatched by Robertson and Mané and completely diced up for Liverpool’s goal, but was committed.

Lucas Torreira – 5 – A subdued display from a player still clearly fighting his way back to fitness.

Granit Xhaka – 7 – Solid in the centre of the pitch, making key interceptions to stop Liverpool’s advances.

Bukayo Saka – 7 – Was completely overwhelmed by the movement of Liverpool’s right-flank and in general never got a handle on Trent Alexander-Arnold, but was furious and persistent in getting back to help out. So comfortable in various positions.

Nicolas Pépé – 6 – Some bamboozling runs but did very little with the ball. Classic Pépé, really.

Reiss Nelson – 8 – A menace on the break, pressed Van Dijk into the error that gave the Gunners an equaliser and then handed Arsenal the lead with a calm and composed finish for his first Premier League goal.

Alexandre Lacazette – 9 – A whirlwind performance from Arsenal’s bearded striker. If tonight was Lacazette’s chance to prove his worth he did that and more. A razor sharp bit of play to take advantage of Van Dijk’s sloppy backpass which he matched with an excellent finish. He then repeated the trick to win it back after Alisson’s poor pass before setting up Nelson for the Gunners’ second. He led from the front all night long, leading his side (and the match) in tackles with 4. This hirsute heavyweight was boxing clever at the Emirates and landed the devastating knockout blow on a punch-drunk Liverpool.

Substitutes:

Dani Ceballos (for Torreira 57′) – 6 – Came on and added a bit more bite to Arsenal’s midfield.

Joe Willock (for Lacazette 58′) – 5 – Worked hard but missed a golden chance to score Arsenal’s third.

Pierre-Emeric Aubameyang (for Nelson 58′) – 5 – Didn’t have much of a chance to do anything.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles (for Cedric 76′) – 6 – Excellent bit of subtle defending to put Mané off late on.

Sead Kolasinac (for Saka 85′) – n/a – Came on late.

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Liverpool

Alisson – 4 – A series of uncharacteristically strange decisions in net for Alisson, playing with more a more cavalier attitude than usual. Gave the ball away for Arsenal’s winner. Very odd.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6 – A constant source of menace in attack for Liverpool. One of the few Liverpool players to look capable of making something happen even if his crossing wasn’t as accurate as usual.

Joe Gomez – 6 – Solid enough with little to do.

Virgil van Dijk – 4 –A frankly shocking backpass to give a, to that point, hopeless Arsenal a way back into the game.

Andrew Robertson – 7 – Superb cross for Mané’s goal. Otherwise unable to make anything happen.

Fabinho – 7 – A driven performance in the middle of the park, where he cut off counters and kept Liverpool on the front-foot. It wasn’t his fault his team-mates couldn’t follow through on their punches.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 5 – Disappointing against his old side.

Georginio Wijnaldum – 5 – A nothing display from the Dutch midfielder.

Mohamed Salah – 4 – A ghastly performance from the Egyptian striker, reminiscent of his Roma days where his excellent movement was married with some absurdly comical finishing. Never looked like scoring.

Roberto Firmino – 4 – Liverpool’s road warrior played a nice pass in the build-up to their opener but that was really it for the Brazilian who couldn’t even blame his Anfield curse for another disappointing night of football.

Sadio Mané – 8 – Lovely run and finish to open the scoring and after that was by a distance Liverpool’s best player. Absolutely cooked every defender Arsenal put his way, but struggled with the second and third defenders the Gunners threw at him. He still created more havoc and danger than anyone else in black. Did not deserve to be on the losing side.

Substitutes:

Takumi Minamino (for Firmino 61′) – 6 – Added some much needed creativity in the Liverpool side, helping them to push up and really pen Liverpool back in the second-half, but doesn’t look physically ready for the Premier League.

Naby Keita (for Oxlade-Chamberlain 61′) – 6 – Provided more drive and guile than any of his midfield team-mates. Not enough to break Arsenal down, but still well.

Divock Origi (for Salah 83′) – 5 – Worked hard.

Xherdan Shaqiri (for Wijnaldum 83′) – n/a – Came on late.

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