Football Features

‘A real killer instinct’ — Player ratings as Martinelli and Saka inspire Arsenal win over Liverpool in thrilling 3-2 contest

By Ben Green

‘A real killer instinct’ — Player ratings as Martinelli and Saka inspire Arsenal win over Liverpool in thrilling 3-2 contest

Published: 18:58, 9 October 2022

Arsenal secured a 3-2 win over Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday to edge a five-goal thriller and reclaim top spot over Manchester City. 

Mikel Arteta’s men were ruthless to put the travelling Merseysiders to the sword with Bukayo Saka grabbing a brace, and Gabriel Martinelli tearing Jurgen Klopp’s full-backs to ribbons. The Reds twice responded through Darwin Nunez and Roberto Firmino, but the hosts would ultimately come out on top in this battle of seesawing action.

It was a pulsating affair — and here’s how the players rated in north London:


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Arsenal

Aaron Ramsdale – 6 – Could do precious little for Liverpool’s two goals, but there were one or two hairy moments when the ball was at his feet. The England ‘keeper would do well to just hoof it long if in doubt.

Ben White – 7 – Held his own on the right and got forward in confident fashion to support international team-mate Saka. If Gareth Southgate was watching this afternoon, there was only one England right-back who came out with their reputation in tact.

Gabriel Magalhaes – 5 – Some very nervous and unsure defending from the Brazilian at times. His scuffed kick set up Diaz for Liverpool’s first equaliser and was unable to get across quick enough for Firmino’s finish. An excellent dummy for Saka’s second, mind. But defensively, he was suspect.

William Saliba – 6 – Won the ball back superbly for Arsenal’s opening goal, with timed challenges becoming a real facet of his game. There were, of course, question marks over his defending at times as Liverpool’s sliced them open for two goals, but by and large there were no major flaws.


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Takehiro Tomiyasu – 8 – What a performance from this man! Treated Salah like David Beckham does a pocket square at Wimbledon, neatly keeping him tucked away. The Egyptian couldn’t get a sniff and was eventually taken off by Klopp. He won’t have many quieter afternoons, and that was largely down to Tomiyasu.

Thomas Partey – 6 – Great second half, quiet first half. The Ghanian really grew into this game and approached the Henderson-Thiago midfield battle with gusto and grit, after an opening 45 minutes in which the Liverpool midfield controlled the tempo.

Granit Xhaka – 6 – A bit like Partey, the duo developed a tremendous understanding in the second half to see the game out. A real lion-hearted display from the Swiss midfielder, who embodied the never-say-die spirit towards the dying embers.

Bukayo Saka – 8 – Confidence personified. The jinking winger was involved from minute one as he collected the ball out wide, before setting up Odegaard for Martinelli’s first. And then he played his part in Arsenal’s next two goals as he bagged a timely brace.

Martin Odegaard – 7 – That pass to Martinelli seconds into the contest was almost orgasmic. The Norwegian struggled a little bit in the first half after that pass, but came alive after the restart again to drive at the Liverpool defence and provide Arsenal a release valve.

Gabriel Martinelli – 9 – Simply sensational. The Brazilian channelled his Samba silk to absolutely shatter Alexander-Arnold’s defensive confidence. He was a menace all game, and was naturally named Man of the Match as a result.

Gabriel Jesus – 7 – Didn’t get on the scoresheet but Jesus’ consistent harrying, hold-up play and movement were key to Arsenal scoring thrice here. And it’s that aspect of his game that is perhaps the most underrated. A penalty-box assassin, Jesus has given Arsenal’s attack a new dimension with his rhythm and tempo.

Substitutes:

Kieran Tierney (for Odegaard 82′) – N/A – Came on for the final 10 minutes so really not enough time to make a tangible impression.

Eddie Nketiah (for Jesus 90′) – N/A – Came on for the final few minutes.

Fabio Vieira (for Saka 90′) – N/A – Came on for the final few minutes.

Liverpool

Alisson – 5 – A bit like Ramsdale, there were a few hairy moments with the distribution, but he can’t really be faulted for any of the goals.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 3 – Struggled immensely to contain and keep a lid on Martinelli, who had the England defender on toast from minute one. First the Brazilian evaded him for his opening goal, and then cut in to leave TAA in no man’s land for his assist to Saka.

Joel Matip – 4 – At sixes and sevens for Arsenal’s first as Odegaard threaded a defence-splitting pass, while his effort to close down Martinelli for the second was comical. Hauled off 20 minutes from time. Not a good day at the office.

Virgil van Dijk – 5 – Not the Dutchman’s finest match. Although slightly better than Matip, the duo really struggled to keep Arsenal’s attack under lock and key.

Kostas Tsimikas – 6 – His was brilliant battle with Saka and he certainly had his moments of success, particularly in the first half. He fared better than TAA and Gomez on the other side against Martinelli, mind.

Find the latest Premier League winner odds for the 2022/2023 season here:

Club Chance Sky Bet
Manchester City 75.62% 4/9
Arsenal 20.99% 2/1
Newcastle 0.38% 33/1
Liverpool 2.22% 40/1
Tottenham 0.53% 66/1
Man Utd 0.16% 66/1 
Chelsea 0.09% 250/1
Probability % provided by StatsPerform
You have to be 18+ to gamble. All odds within this article are accurate at the time of writing (18:30, 30/11/2022). BeGambleAware.

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Thiago – 6 – Was having a tremendous game, dictating the tempo and crunching into challenges, but he lost his way in the second half, and was particularly all over the place for Arsenal’s third. First, he squandered possession in a dangerous area to maintain Arsenal’s attack, before leaving a lazy leg on the back of Jesus’ calf to concede a penalty. A rare moment of sloppiness from Liverpool’s usually elegant tempo-setter.

Jordan Henderson – 6 – Put his body on the line and ate up grass in typical Henderson fashion. The England midfielder was having an enjoyable game in the first half alongside Thiago, but Arsenal grew into things after the restart. A tremendous midfield battle between both clubs.

Mohamed Salah – 5 – Did nothing wrong, but that’s because he didn’t really do anything. Completely forgot he was on the pitch at one point. His 27 touches was just seven more than Diaz, who left the field 30 minutes before him.

Diogo Jota – 6 – What a sublime touch, run and pass to set up Firmino. Jota was skirting across the turf in the opening 45 minutes and drew a foul to get Odegaard booked. His presence waned as the game drew on but he was certainly influential in Liverpool’s attacking transitions.

Luis Diaz – 7 – A real livewire during his time on the pitch, the Colombian was buzzing about the turf like an amorous bee looking to create openings. His run and ball to set up Nunez was sheer class, and he was unlucky to sustain an injury shortly after, which ultimately ended his afternoon prematurely.

Darwin Nunez – 7 – A stunning first-half performance, weakened by a quieter second half. Nunez was Liverpool’s difference-maker in their moments of success during this contest, timing his runs with precision and getting on the scoresheet. If they can get him firing like the first half, they won’t have to worry.

Substitutes:

Roberto Firmino (for Diaz 42′) – 7  – Kept up his stunning record against Arsenal with a cool finish to make it 2-2.

Joe Gomez (forAlexander-Arnold 45′) – 5  –Fared better than his predecessor, but still had a tough night against Martinelli.

Ibrahima Konate (for Matip 69′) – 5  – It was a tough night for Liverpool defenders against this Arsenal attack.

Fabinho (for Salah 69′) – 5 – Struggled to keep up with the tempo of the match when he entered the field.

Harvey Elliot (for Jota 81′) – N/A – Came on for the final 10 minutes.

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