Football Features

“Bobby Dazzler is back in business!” – Player ratings as Firmino flambés Inter Milan in Liverpool’s crucial Champions League win

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:28, 16 February 2022

In a dramatic night of football, Liverpool beat Inter Milan 0-2 in the Champions League round of 16 first-leg.

Here’s how the players rated at San Siro:

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Inter Milan

Samir Handanovic – 4 – Had very little to do and before he knew it, he was 0-2 down. His positioning on the opener, where he kept edging towards his left, was really poor and left himself too far out of position to make a save.

Milan Skriniar – 8 – An absolute colossus. Ran Mané off the pitch and continued to dominate until Van Dijk’s knockdown for the second.

Stefan De Vrij – 7 – Took a few blows to the head but didn’t go off. Steady at the back.

Alessandro Bastoni – 7 – IL MONSTRO. Dominated the entire Liverpool attack for 72 minutes so much so that Inter gambled their whole defensive shape based on the assumption he wouldn’t miss a duel; and then he lost Firmino for Liverpool’s opener. Oh dear.

Denzel Dumfries – 6 – Seriously impressive shuttling up and down the right-flank. Caused havoc but lost the aerial duel to Van Dijk that led to Liverpool’s killer second goal.

Marcelo Brozovic – 8 – Absolutely superb. Ran the game until Liverpool’s shock opener. 51/57 passes completed, 2 interceptions and 6 tackles made. A really impressive showing.

Arturo Vidal – 8 – Quite incredibly the Chilean played superbly well for the entire 90 minutes. At no point did he miss a sitter or make a defensive error that opened it up for Liverpool. He never even got sent off!

Hakan Calhanoglu – 8 – A magnificent creative force, driving the ball through the heart of Liverpool’s defence time and time again. If only his team-mates weren’t such a bunch of dismal malcontents. Struck the bar as well.

Ivan Perisic – 7 – Torced Trent Alexander-Arnold time and time again. However as impressive as his movement was, his use of the ball was poor. Created 3 chances but given the positions he saw the ball in, it should have been more.

Lautaro Martinez – 4 – Another underwhelming performance in a big game from Lautaro Martinez. A superb talent who isn’t as ruthless as he needs to be to make the most of his skills. His unwillingness to really take Van Dijk on in the open field showed his weakness.

Edin Dzeko – 4 – Had scored in his last three games against Liverpool but the last of those was in 2018 and it showed. Liverpool kept giving him a head start and he just couldn’t break away from any defenders.

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Inter Milan Substitutes:

Alexis Sánchez (for Lautaro 70′) – 5 – Added absolutely nothing to proceedings. Wasn’t even as good as the disappointing Lautaro.

Roberto Gagliardini (for Vidal 87′) – n/a – Came on late.

Matteo Darmian (for Dumfries 87′) -n/a – Came on late.

Andrea Ranocchia (for De Vrij’) -n/a – Came on late.

Federico Di Marco (for Bastoni 90’+1) -n/a – Came on late.

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Alisson – 7 – Had nothing to do in terms of saves but came and collected crosses and swept up behind his defence with confidence.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 4 – Got absolutely cooked by Perisic and Inter all night. Not great going forward either.

Ibrahima Konaté – 8 – Really impressive and aggressive defending. Always stepped up to combat the Inter forwards and continually pulled Edin Dzeko’s pants down with the way he kept chasing him down.

Virgil van Dijk – 8 – Solid command and leadership. Some good clearances from Inter’s poor crosses.

Andrew Robertson – 8 – Not so great defensively but his superb inswinging corner proved decisive in giving Liverpool the lead. Created a team-high 3 chances.

Fabinho – 4 – Really poor. Offered no control and didn’t prevent Inter’s advances.

Thiago – 7 – Moved the ball around nicely enough. Got much better once Henderson and Keita came off the bench.

Harvey Elliott – 5 – Quite poor. Understandably so, but Klopp’s big gamble didn’t pay off.

Mohamed Salah – 7 – Spent most of the game in Bastoni’s back pocket, but in classic Salah form he spun away from his marker and smacked home Liverpool’s second.

Diogo Jota – 4 – Poor. Albeit he wasn’t alone as Liverpool were lucky to ride out a poor first-half. Nothing he tried worked but Klopp said he had an ankle issue so perhaps that explains his issues.

Sadio Mané – 5 – Nowhere near his best as he’s probably still recovering from Africa Cup of Nations glory.

2021/22 Champions League outright odds with William Hill

  • Man City – 9/4
  • Liverpool – 4/1
  • Bayern – 9/2
  • PSG – 8/1
  • Chelsea – 9/1

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Liverpool Substitutes:

Roberto Firmino (for Jota 46′) – 8 – Didn’t add too much in terms of control, but added a real sense of energy. Made more tackles (4) than any Liverpool player despite coming on at half-time. And then who else but Firmino popped up with a brilliant “no-look header” to open the scoring. After all the talk about how Diogo Jota has supplanted him in the first XI, this game showed that Bobby Dazzler is back in business!

Jordan Henderson (for Fabinho 59′) – 8 – Excellent. Really got stuck in and once Liverpool took the lead he radiated composure to help them see out a huge win. Henderson has really matured into a natural leader, maybe not Captain Fantastic but absolutely Captain Consistent, and you can believe Jurgen Klopp wouldn’t have it any other way.

Naby Keita (for Elliott 59′) – 7 – Helped shore up the midfield.

Luis Diaz (for Mané 59′) – 7 – Added more dynamism and movement than Mané.

James Milner (for Thiago 86′) – n/a – Came on late for his 800th career appearance.