Football Features

“The very best player in the Premier League” – Player ratings as Man City and Liverpool put in a spectacular show in 2-2 draw

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 18:57, 3 October 2021

In a sensational afternoon of football, Manchester City and Liverpool played out a heart-stopping 2-2 draw at Anfield.

After a one-sided first-half when Pep Guardiola’s men were dominant but profligate, the Reds twice took the lead in the second period only for City to peg them back both times as things ended all square and Chelsea managed to stay top of the league.

Here’s how the players rated at Anfield:


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Liverpool

Alisson – 7 – Made some crucial interventions including a literal slide tackle to stop City in their tracks. Was often left all at sea by his defence and could do nothing about City’s two goals.

James Milner – 3 – Roasted over and over again by Phil Foden and was extremely lucky to stay on the field after scything down Bernardo Silva when already on a yellow. Was subbed soon after.

Joel Matip – 7 – Defended admirably, especially as City got by Milner constantly. Made a game-high 4 interceptions as he tried desperately to stop City from advancing. Unlucky to deflect De Bruyne’s shot beyond Alisson.

Virgil van Dijk – 6 – Looked very much like a man recovering from injury. Luckily for him City weren’t sharp.

Andrew Robertson – 7 – A really determined display. Made a team-high 5 clearances.

Fabinho – 4 – City bypassed him like a training cone for basically the entire game, most notably on Phil Foden’s goal as Gabriel Jesus literally skipped by him like he wasn’t even there.

Jordan Henderson – 7 – A tremendously hard-working display from the Liverpool captain.

Curtis Jones – 5 – Didn’t impact the game at all.

Mohamed Salah – 9 – Absolutely mesmeric. City denied him possession in the first-half but the second-half belonged almost solely to him. Destroyed Joao Cancelo over and over, once leading to a sublime assist for Sadio Mané. Another instance saw him dance away from Cancelo, Foden and Bernardo Silva and then roast Laporte before thundering the ball beyond Alisson. In truth no goals can do justice to the genius of this goal, an absolute miracle and if it isn’t goal of the season then something truly outrageous has happened. The very best player in the Premier League, bar none.

Diogo Jota – 6 – A hard-working display but didn’t really leave an impression on City.

Sadio Mané – 7 – Rocketed the Reds into a scarcely deserved lead early in the second-half with a majestic run and strike.

Substitutes:

Roberto Firmino (for Jota 68′) – 5 – Made almost literally no impact on the game.

Joe Gomez (for Milner 78′) – 7 – Came on for the fortunate Milner and made one crucial clearance to stop a City goal. It was his only real intervention but it literally earned the Reds a point.


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Manchester City

Ederson – 7 – Cool and composed. One long pass travelled 90 yards and left Phil Foden 1-v-1. Seriously. Powerless to stop the Liverpool goals as they were of such obscene quality.

Kyle Walker – 7 – Defended well and made some really great disruptive runs in attack, including for both City goals.

Ruben Dias – 7 – Was a rock at the back but completely lost Sadio Mané’s run for Liverpool’s opener, knocking his rating down one.

Aymeric Laporte – 7 – A near flawless display, unfortunately for him the flaw was getting turned inside-out by Mohamed Salah for the secod goal which bumps him down a rating.

Joao Cancelo – 5 – Basically the best player on the pitch in the first-half, but got absolutely torn to shreds by Salah in the second period. A performance of two halves for the Portuguese full-back.

Rodri – 8 – Was quietly the best player on the park. Kept recycling the ball, shutting Liverpool down and keeping things ticking. He also pulled a heart-stopping, goal-saving block to stop Fabinho from winning the game.

Bernardo Silva – 8 – Pressed brilliantly, passed superbly, and went on one mazy run that defied belief. Liverpool couldn’t cope with his close control pretty much all night long.

Kevin De Bruyne – 6 – Really quite bad. Nothing he executed came off and he was honestly more of a hindrance than a help to City. Well, until he slammed home a late equaliser via an extremely fortunate deflection, of course.

Gabriel Jesus – 8 – Really coming into his own in this right-wing role. Handled Andrew Robertson well and counterpressed delightfully. A simply gorgeous assist for Foden’s goal as he blew by Fabinho.

Jack Grealish – 6 – Had some nice touches and movements but seemed to mostly be a decoy.


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Phil Foden – 9 – Tormented Liverpool in general and James Milner in particular. His movement and touch was exemplary and he came so close to scoring in the first-half and should have bagged an assist with a great cross to De Bruyne. Then, when City were desperate for a hero having fallen behind it was Foden who stepped up and delivered.

First he barrelled a beautiful shot into the back of the net from an acute angle, and then when Liverpool went ahead again Foden appeared once more, except this time it was a great cross that found its way to De Bruyne for their City’s second equaliser.

Substitutes:

Raheem Sterling (for Grealish 66′) – 7 – Was so lively after coming on. His close control and dribbling was so sharp and he just lacked a touch of killer instinct to really make the difference.