Football Features

‘Are you watching Gareth Southgate?’: Player ratings as Alexader-Arnold masterclass inspires Liverpool to victory over Man Utd

By Chris Smith

Published: 22:38, 13 May 2021

Liverpool came from behind to beat Manchester United 4-2 at Old Trafford on Thursday in an intense night of Premier League football.

The Reds are now just four points adrift of Chelsea in the final Champions League spot with a game in hand, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men look set to remain in second with two games to go.

Here’s how the players rated at Old Trafford:



Manchester United

Dean Henderson — 4 — Made a couple of decent saves but parried Alexander-Arnold’s effort straight into the path of Firmino for Liverpool’s third goal. Rooted to the spot for the fourth Liverpool goal when he really should have come out to narrow the angle.

“I’ve seen a few goals go in recently where he looks so small in the goals. He looked tiny there for the fourth goal.” former Man Utd captain Roy Keane said after the match. He added: “His presence, he looks so small, which is a big concern going forward.”

Aaron Wan-Bissaka — 6 — Made some smart inverted runs to create space for Rashford in the first half and assisted the opening goal. But after the break, Wan-Bissaka seemed intent on running down dead ends and putting his side in serious trouble.

Eric Bailly — 4 — Was saved from giving away a potential penalty by VAR but struggled to cope with the pace and movement of Liverpool’s forward line all night. Booked in the second half for a bad challenge on Jota.

Victor Lindelof — 5 — Not quite as erratic as Bailly, but still struggled to get to grips with Liverpool’s dynamic attack.

Luke Shaw — 5 — The further forward he got, the better Shaw looked in possession and it was his pass that set United away for the second goal. But in his own half, Shaw looked nervous and indecisive. Was caught in possession by Jota for Liverpool’s third.

Scott McTominay — 6 — Was the more effective of United’s double-pivot, spraying some nice long passes and getting about the pitch to combat Liverpool’s attacking tidal wave.

Fred — 4 — Started brightly but couldn’t cope as Liverpool pressed relentlessly after the break. A number of routine and costly turnovers on the edge of his own box resulted in him being withdrawn just after the hour mark. United were more structured and purposeful thereafter.

Marcus Rashford — 8 — Played an important part in the opening goal and dispatched a smart finish beyond Alisson for United’s second. Gave the Liverpool full-backs a tough time on either flank and got the better of Phillips in a number of one-on-one duels.

Bruno Fernandes — 7 — Attempted a curling shot to the far post with the outside of his boot which caused Phillips to turn home the opening goal. Wasn’t as active or involved as usual but still looked a threat from set-pieces.

Paul Pogba — 5 — Caught in possession on a number of occasions and was too easily beat to the ball at the far post for Firmino’s second goal.

Edinson Cavani — 7 — Nice combination with Rashford for United’s second and led the line well for United, despite often being outnumbered.

Substitutes:

Mason Greenwood (for Fred, 63 mins) — 7 — Man Utd looked a far better side from the moment Greenwood stepped on the pitch, with the young forward injecting pace and purpose to their efforts. Was unlucky not to draw his side level at 3-3 with Phillips clearing his effort off the line.

Nemanja Matic (for Bailly, 86 mins) — 3 — Only on the pitch for a few minutes but managed to gift Liverpool possession for their fourth goal.

Liverpool

Alisson — 6 — Normally so assured in possession, Alisson almost landed Liverpool in trouble on a couple of occasions with some under-hit passes. Nothing he could do about either goal.

Trent Alexander-Arnold — 9 — Are you watching, Gareth Southgate? Trent Alexander-Arnold simply has to go to the European Championships. The young right-back once again illustrated his quite ridiculous ability with the ball at his feet by creating no fewer than five chances on the night, slicing through the United defence with terrifying precision. Pushed forward to support the Liverpool press, likely at the behest of Klopp, and won possession for his side in dangerous areas throughout the second half. This comeback win wouldn’t have been possible without Alexander-Arnold and you can only imagine what he could offer to the likes of Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling at the Euros this summer.

Nat Phillips — 5 — An evening of contrast for Phillips, who turned the ball into his own net for the first goal and was taken to the cleaners a few times by Rashford. But the youngster kept his head up to assist Jota’s equaliser and make a vital goalline clearance in the second half.

Rhys Williams — 6 — A steady outing from a young centre-back often appearing out of his depth this season. This sort of performance at Old Trafford could inject Williams with some much-needed confidence.

Andy Robertson — 6 — Though he was outshone by Alexander-Arnold on the other side, Robertson was not without his dangerous moments. Was given a tough test by United’s wide men but generally coped well.

Thiago — 7 — Made four tackles and two interceptions but as always, Thiago’s defensive work went utterly under the radar. The Spaniard was precise, assertive and progressive in possession, too, looking to pass Liverpool into space whenever he got the ball.

Fabinho — 8 — Getting Fabinho back into midfield has stopped Liverpool sinking like a stone and he was once again a rock in front of his defence here. Helped Firmino take the ball from Matic to set the Reds away for their fourth goal in a perfect illustration of his importance.

Georginio Wijnaldum — 6 — Has been the subject of some criticism this season but put in a solid performance here. Neat and tidy with his passing and carried the ball forward with purpose.

Mohamed Salah — 7 — Put a quiet first half behind him to constantly test the United defence after the break. Was rewarded for his efforts with a free run at goal right at the end, dispatching the ball beyond Henderson with trademark composure.

Roberto Firmino — 9 — At long last, Roberto Firmino has scored against Manchester United. And just like a good London bus, his first was immediately followed by a second in a great night’s work for the Brazilian forward. It seems silly to praise Firmino for his pressing nowadays given how familiar we are with his defensive effort but you couldn’t ignore it tonight. He was everywhere.

Diogo Jota — 8 — Scored Liverpool’s first goal with a lovely flick and led the press brilliantly for Klopp, closing down sluggish United players in dangerous areas. No player had attempted more tackles than Jota (5) by the time he was replaced on 74 minutes.

Substitutes:

Sadio Mane (for Diogo Jota, 74 mins) — 5 — Was set free on goal by Alexander-Arnold shortly after coming on but wasn’t quite sharp enough to get the ball under control.

Curtis Jones (for Georginio Wijnaldum, 74 mins) — 7 — As cameo appearances go, this wasn’t a bad one from Jones, who was quick enough to slip Salah in on goal for Liverpool’s fourth.

Neco Williams (for Mohamed Salah, 90+2 mins) — N/A — A late substitution as Klopp ran down the clock.

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