Football News

Arsenal 3-1 Liverpool: Player ratings as defensive mix-up decides top-of-the-table clash

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 18:30, 4 February 2024

Arsenal produced a much-needed 3-1 win over Premier League title rivals Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium.

Jurgen Klopp’s men came into this contest leading the championship, five points ahead of third-place Gunners, who are level on points with defending champions Manchester City in second, though having played a game more.

Although four goals were scored, it wasn’t the prettiest of games. Bukayo Saka put the hosts in front when Alisson could only parry Kai Havertz’s effort into his feet. With Gabriel handling the ball into his net, Liverpool’s equaliser was bizarre.

Arsenal went back in front after Alisson and Virgil van Dijk got into each other’s way, thus leading to Gabriel Martinelli putting the ball into an empty goal. The final strike from substitute Leandro Trossard came moments after Ibrahima Konate was sent off.

Consequently, the Gunners are two points behind Liverpool, with this only being their second loss this season, the other coming in North London – against Tottenham in September 2023.

As the dust begins to settle, here are our player ratings:

 

Arsenal

David Raya – 4.5 – His clean sheet was taken away on the stroke of half-time despite Liverpool not producing a single effort on goal. Raya could have done better with him rooted so deep on his line.

Oleksandr Zinchenko – 4 – Had a reasonable opening half but was hooked off at the break in a somewhat tactical change.

Gabriel – 4 – Inadvertently put the ball into his in the most bizarre fashion. Saliba holds off Diaz and tries to let the ball run to Raya, but it hits the Brazilian centre-back for an own goal.

William Saliba – 5 – He needed to take control of the situation that ultimately led to Liverpool’s equaliser.

Ben White – 4 – Picked up a needless booking for taking an age over restarting the game. “It’s so silly from Ben White,” said Gary Neville on Sky Sports commentary

Declan Rice – 6 – Put in another solid midfield shift.

Jorginho – 7.5 – Back in the Arsenal starting lineup with Arteta’s mindset on control with the Italian deep-lying midfielder offers. No one in the game had more touches (70), successful passes (45), interceptions (4), or possession rendition (87%). This was arguably his best performance for the Gunners, with Neville naming him player-of-the-match. 

Martin Ødegaard – 6.5 – Occasionally found himself in acres of space. The mercurial Norwegian playmaker was at the centre of everything positive in Arsenal’s attack.

Gabriel Martinelli – 6.5 – He enjoyed a fascinating battle with Alexander-Arnold down Gunner’s left flank, which Martinelli regularly won. He restored Arsenal’s lead through an incredible piece of terrible defending. No player has been directly involved in more Premier League goals against the Reds since the start of last season (5 – 3 goals, 2 assists).

Kai Havertz – 5 – Took up a now familiar ‘false nine’ role for the Gunners, and his effort, saved by Alisson, led to Saka putting the hosts ahead.

Bukayo Saka – 6 – He was in the right place at the right time to break the deadlock. Saka consequently became the second Premier League player this season to score more than 10 goals (11) and provide more than 10 assists (12) in all competitions – along with Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez.

Substitutes:

Jakub Kiwior (for Zinchenko 46) – 4 – Somehow got booked. Also had the opportunity to put the game beyond doubt late on.

Leandro Trossard (for Martinelli 75) – 5.5 – Sealed the victory with a brilliant solo effort in stoppage time.

Reiss Nelson (for Saka MINUTE) – N/A – A late sub.


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Liverpool

Alisson – 4 – Wow, Alisson had an average performance until the Gunners scored their second goal. However, a comical defensive error caused Liverpool to fall behind again. Van Dijk and Alisson left the ball for each other, while Martinelli took advantage of the situation and scored into an empty net without even applying pressure.

Joe Gomez – 4 – The first to go into the referee’s book after cynically bringing down Havertz.

Virgil van Dijk – 4.5 – The colossal from Breda has been in imperious form of late and came up with some crucial interventions, but today, he will be remembered for his involvement in Martinelli’s goal-restoring lead for Arsenal.

Ibrahima Konaté – 3 – Crucially played Havertz onside in the build-up to Arsenal’s opening goal. Ended up receiving two yellow cards to compound his day.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 4 – This was his first start for Liverpool since returning from a minor knee ligament tear. It’s fair to say he’s not fully up to speed.

Curtis Jones – 5 – Sat deeper in the second half to control the game, with Mac Allister playing a more advanced role.

Alexis Mac Allister – 5.5 – His manager called him a ‘football doctor’ earlier in the week. No one created more chances (2) in a Liverpool jersey this evening.

Ryan Gravenberch – 5 – In the side for the injured Dominik Szoboszlai, whom Liverpool missed in their midfield. That said, Gravenberch started the move leading to Liverpool’s equaliser.

Luis Díaz – 6 – If there’s one thing you can expect from Luis Diaz, it’s persistence. The forward created confusion between Saliba and Raya as he managed to wriggle free and poke the ball back across the goal, but Gabriel panicked, only succeeding in helping it over his goal line.

Cody Gakpo – 4.5 – An eyebrow-raising inclusion with the Dutchman, who had one shot on goal, not lasting an hour out there.

Diogo Jota – 5 – Played on the periphery and would have been frustrated with him seldom getting on the ball.

Substitutes:

Andy Robertson (for Alexander-Arnold 58) – 4 – Slowly getting back to his pre-injury self, but we didn’t see the flying Scotsman bomb down Liverpool’s left flank.

Darwin Nunez (for Gakpo 58) – 4 – Chances were few and far between, but the much-maligned Uruguayan marksman saw an effort go high, wide and handsome.

Harvey Elliott (for Gravenberch 58) – 4 – Settled into Liverpool’s midfield but could not change the game’s trajectory.

Thiago (for Gomez 86) – N/A – A late sub.

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