Football News

Player ratings as Liverpool eliminate Arsenal to reach FA Cup fourth round

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 18:30, 7 January 2024

The much-anticipated FA Cup third-round meeting saw Liverpool run out 2-0 winners over Arsenal.

This latest showdown was also their 18th such clash in the world’s oldest national football competition with this being Liverpool’s first win since the 2001 final.

In a contest that saw the Gunners besiege their visitor’s goal, Mikel Arteta will be wondering how those he’s in charge of have been eliminated from this competition. To credit Jurgen Klopp’s side they weathered the storm before coming away with a smash-and-grab.

Arsenal had 18 shots on goal to Liverpool’s 12 with the all-deciding goal coming from someone wearing Arsenal white. Jakub Kiwior, though, put the ball into his net. Luis Díaz rounded off the win to send Liverpool through while more questions will be asked of Arteta’s management albeit his team was guilty of wasting chances.

As the dust begins to settle on this cup tie, here are our player ratings.


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Arsenal

Aaron Ramsdale – 6 – Making a rare start after featuring once across Arsenal’s last nine matches in all competitions. Almost produced a goal when his fourth-minute punt forward released Nelson but he could only fire into the side netting. Felt like a clean sheet was forthcoming but it wasn’t to be.

Ben White – 5 – Had an eventful outing. Produced what Martin Keown would call a ‘reducer’ on Díaz, much to Klopp’s bemusement, before forcing Alisson into a top save.

William Saliba – 6 – Nothing seems to faze him (albeit was shown a yellow), nevertheless another reassuring display in Arsenal’s defence regardless of the result.

Gabriel – 5 – Stole the limelight when these sides last met, this was a more back-to-basic even in defeat.

Jakub Kiwior – 4 – Retained his spot as the Gunners left-back after Oleksandr Zinchenko failed to pass a late fitness test. Dealt with the Díaz threat well before inadvertently putting the ball into his net.

Jorginho – 5 – Fortunate not to be cautioned after grabbing a handful of Gakpo’s shirt but carried out his manager’s instructions (retain and recycle possession) well.

Declan Rice – 6.5 – Sold in the heart of Arsenal’s midfield. Rice won all six of his attempted tackles as well as two aerial duels.

Martin Ødegaard – 6 – Saw an early shot cannon back off the bar. Ended up creating four goal-scoring opportunities.

Bukayo Saka – 4.5 – Couldn’t improve his record against Liverpool despite having five chances some more clear-cut than others.

Reiss Nelson – 6.5 – Had the game’s first real opportunity but a heavy touch after rounding Alisson saw his effort crash into the side netting. Was a thorn in the side of Liverpool’s defence before tailing off.

Kai Havertz – 4 – A third outing as the man to lead Arsenal’s attack. Saw a headed effort late in the first half go wide but this was another abject outing for the much-maligned German international.

Substitutes:

Gabriel Martinelli (for Nelson 64) – 5 – Brought renewed energy to Arsenal’s frontline.

Eddie Nketiah (for Jorginho 81) – N/A – A late sub.

Emile Smith Rowe (for Kiwior 89) – N/A – A late sub.

Leandro Trossard (for Havertz 89) – N/A – A late sub.


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Liverpool

Alisson – 8 – Called into action far more than he wanted. Earned a well-deserved shutout after making numerous important saves.

Joe Gomez – 5 – So uncomfortable at left-back and it showed in today’s battle with Saka down Arsenal’s right flank.

Ibrahima Konaté – 8.5 – Produced a well-timed onrushing block when it seemed Arsenal were going to break the deadlock. This was the first of many key interventions. Was named player of the match. 

Jarell Quansah – 7 – In for the colossal Virgil van Dijk who is suffering from an illness. Quansah, who has been occasionally used this season, put in another standout performance. 

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8 – Wearing the captain’s armband found himself playing a more defensive role than usual but struck Arsenal’s crossbar before half-time and then delivered the free-kick that put Liverpool in front.

Alexis Mac Allister – 5.5 – Playing as the deepest of Liverpool’s midfielders (a role Wataru Endo, away on international duty, had performed excellently in recently). Had some moments that could have seen his name enter the referee’s book.

Curtis Jones – 5.5 – A noteworthy moment came in the 34th minute when he bamboozled White to win a free-kick. Jones looks more and more comfortable in this Liverpool team.

Cody Gakpo – 5 – Replaced the injured Dominik Szoboszlai in this advanced midfielder role. Opportunities were few and far between for the Dutchman.

Harvey Elliott – 5.5 – Stepped in for the absent Mohamed Salah, an unenviable task. He ultimately had one shot on goal while creating another chance.

Luis Díaz – 7.5 – Feed on scraps but whenever he did receive possession the Colombian forward’s relentless energy caused Arsenal problems. He was rewarded with a stoppage-time goal. 

Darwin Núñez – 6.5 – Had the visitor’s first decent chance on goal when Elliott’s out-swinging corner found Nunez’s head but he couldn’t guide it on target. Klopp’s tactical switch, having the Uruguayan play from the left, saw the game turn in Liverpool’s favour.

Substitutes:

Diogo Jota (for Gakpo 59) – 4.5 – Saw a header smash off the crossbar minutes from time.

Ryan Gravenberch (for Mac Allister 59) – 5 – Won the free-kick that led to Liverpool’s winner.

Bobby Clark (for Jones 76) – N/A – A late sub.

Conor Bradley (for Elliott 76) – N/A – A late sub.

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