Football Features

“Sheer game-changing genius” – Player ratings as Liverpool annihilate Atlético Madrid at Anfield to qualify for Champions League round of 16

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:26, 3 November 2021 | Updated: 14:32, 21 September 2022

In a dramatic night of football, Liverpool battered Atlético Madrid 2-0 at Anfield to qualify for the Champions League round of 16.

The Reds are now unbeaten in 25 games and look nigh-invincible while Jurgen Klopp has reached 200 wins as Liverpool manager in just 334 games, only Kenny Dalglish has done it faster (in 333 games).

Here’s how the players rated at Anfield:

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Alisson – 5 – Had almost literally nothing to do.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8 – An absolute wonder of a cross to set-up the opening goal. Obliterated the Atleti defence with one perfectly executed ball into the box. He then repeated the trick to set-up Mané for the Reds’ second. In this kind of form there’s no right-back in the world that can match him for sheer game-changing genius.

Joel Matip – 7 – Really exceptional display in defence and brought the ball out from the back with the utmost confidence.

Virgil van Dijk – 7 – Had a much easier time dealing with the sluggish Luis Suárez than the spritely Antoine Griezmann.

Kostas Tsimikas – 7 – Some impressive defensive interventions in the early going and helped Liverpool keep the tempo high, creating a game-high 4 chances. Klopp will be pleased by how well his back-up played.

Fabinho – 8 – Impeccable. Liverpool are just so much better when he plays.

Jordan Henderson – 7 – The Captain was tearing around the pitch, getting involved, instigating, keeping everyone on their toes.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 7 – Worked hard.

Mohamed Salah – 8 – Didn’t trouble the scoresheet for once but absolutely tortured Atleti every time he touched the ball. You know a forward is in form when they can dominate a game without a goal or assist and make no mistake Mohamed Salah dominated this game.

Diogo Jota – 7 – Lovely run and header for the opening goal of the game. Should have added to his lead but bungled chances. Lucky to avoid a red card for a high footed challenge that was quite similar to the one that saw Antoine Griezmann dismissed two weeks ago.

Sadio Mané – 7 – Did really well to push Atleti back early on. Scored the second goal of the game superbly; the finish was simple but the play in the build-up to escape the Atleti press was superb. Was getting wound up by the opponents and had to be subbed at half-time to ensure he didn’t get sent off.


Roberto Firmino (for Mané 46′) – 6 – A couple of lovely flicks and passes. Had to go off injured.

Thiago (for Fabinho 60′) – 5 – Didn’t look great in his first match back.

Takumi Minamino (for Oxlade-Chamberlain 78′) – n/a – Came on late.

Divock Origi (for Firmino 78′) – n/a – Came on late.

Nat Phillips (for Alexander-Arnold 90+4′) – n/a – Came on late.

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Atlético Madrid

Jan Oblak – 7 – A massive display from Atleti’s Slovenian stopper as he had to contend with wave after wave of Liverpool attack. Could do nothing about the goals he did concede and if it wasn’t for him the Reds would have romped to a historic win.

José Gimenez – 7 – A solid defensive presence, despite the bumbling of his team-mates.

Felipe – 3 – Poor defending for Liverpool’s opener, albeit it was a peach of a cross from Alexander-Arnold. Was useless yet again on Liverpool’s second goal and then got sent off for a horrible foul, rendering any Atleti comeback impossible. Was shocking in the first-leg as well and you have to wonder what Simeone sees in him.

Mario Hermoso – 8 – Defended Salah much better than he did in Madrid despite an early booking. A really mature display.

Kieran Trippier – 5 – Didn’t really impact the game in attack and couldn’t get a grip on Tsimikas either.

Koke – 6 – Defended well against the Liverpool attack but didn’t use the ball with enough creative potency.

Rodrigo De Paul – 7 – An impressive display from the Argentine as he managed to battle Liverpool from start to finish without doing anything stupid or getting himself sent off. Attempted and completed more passes (34/41) than any Atleti player, had more touches too (67). Created the best chance of the game for Atleti only to see Herrera waste it.

Yannick Carrasco – 6 – Looked Atleti’s best chance to create chances and actually get at Liverpool with his movement, balance and skill. Unfortunately too few of his team-mates were on his level and so in the end he was just trying to run up the down escalator.

Angel Correa – 5 – Worked himself to the bone but was so sloppy with the ball.

Joao Felix – 6 – Some bright ideas, but nothing more.

Luis Suárez – 4 – A horrorshow for the former Liverpool man. Where Antoine Griezmann tormented Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip in the Wanda Metropolitano, Luis Suárez could barely lay a glove on them. Scored a deflected potshot that was disallowed for offside but beyond that it was just like watching a man run over and over into a brick wall.


Hector Herrera (for Suárez 59′) – 4 – Didn’t help Atleti defend and managed to miss his side’s best chance of the night.

Renan Lodi (for Joao Felix 59′) – 6 – Worked hard. Helped to stabilise the Atleti defence.

Sime Vrsaljko (for Carrasco 69′) – 5 – Worked hard.

Matheus Cunha (for Koke 69′) – n/a – Came on late.

Javi Serrano (for Correa 75′) – n/a – Came on late.