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Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool: Player Ratings

Liverpool have been handed their first Premier League loss of the season thanks to a resilient Manchester City side. Goals came from Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero for the home side with Roberto Firmino getting one back for the Reds. Here’s LFC Transfer Room’s Anthony (@antstonelake) with the Player Ratings from a disappointing night in Manchester.

The Match

Quite possibly one of the worst Liverpool performances of the season. Manchester City clearly wanted the game more and fans everywhere have taken to twitter and other social media to voice their disdain.

From the off Liverpool couldn’t quite get a foot in the game – passing was off and nothing the Reds did creatively was working.

This was made all the more painful with Sergio Aguero’s opener, smashing the ball past a helpless Alisson from close range.

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The second half brought the introduction of Fabinho and the return of the 4-2-3-1 formation that the Reds have played so well in recently.

The Reds responded after a sublime Trent Alexander-Arnold pass found Andy Robertson the far post and his assist left Roberto Firmino with the simple tap in.

However, City took the lead again just eight minutes later. Leroy Sane got the better of Trent and slotted the ball past Alisson at the far post.

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Liverpool could not find a second equaliser despite the introduction of both Xherdan Shaqiri and Daniel Sturridge.

The Ratings

Alisson – 5

Nothing the Brazilian goalkeeper could do for either goal, really. However, his passing was uncharacteristically poor this evening.

He set the tone early on with a poor pass to no-one thanks to being left stranded by his defence.

Alisson did make a goal-saving stop on Aguero late in the game but the damage had already been done.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 5

Trent was just bang average other than his part in the goal we scored. City exposed their left-hand side and targeted Trent yet again. This time, it worked.

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The young English full-back seemed flustered and without any real confidence throughout the game. He struggled to keep up with the pace Leroy Sane for City’s second.

Dejan Lovren – 2

Atrocious doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Dejan Lovren was downright the worst player on the pitch against City, and if it wasn’t for Alisson, his mistakes would have been much more costly.

For City’s first, he was charged with marking Sergio Aguero and, I kid you not, he stood still as Aguero turned and hit the ball past Alisson.

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He didn’t get much better in the second half. Caught between two minds on who to mark, he found himself in no-man’s land and in need of being bailed out.

His passing? Abysmal. His defending? Just confusing.

Virgil van Dijk – 8

In stark contrast to his centre-half partner, Virgil van Dijk was the best Liverpool player on the pitch. His defensive efforts were immense and kept Liverpool out of trouble for the most part.

Nine clearances and a couple of successful tackles tell you all you need to know about Virgil van Dijk’s performance against City.

He even played up front in the last five minutes, so he’s up there with Steven Caulker and Shamal George in Liverpool infamy.

Andy Robertson – 6.5

Andy Robertson was amazing defensively but his attacking output left a lot of fans wanting against City. The Scottish left-back managed to get the assist for the goal but other than that his passing was well off.

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As seems the theme tonight, he didn’t seem to turn up to attack City, more to defend and passively move forward.

Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Gini Wijnaldum – 5

Captain Henderson played average. There’s not really more to say about him nor really any of the other starting midfielders.

The midfield-three Klopp picked for this game was completely wrong. Yet again a Hendo, Gini, Milner midfield has failed to spark any creativity in a big game.

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It’s easy to understand that Klopp has faith in these players and he thinks they give him the best chance of not conceding. But there reaches a point where a team needs to be picked based on form and opposition rather than just the fact that it’s a big game.

Milner perhaps the worst of the three on the night but as soon as he was subbed off, Gini took over and became naff too.

Sadio Mane – 4

Too many times this season has Sadio Mane been absolutely out of it in the big games.

The Senegalese winger didn’t seem up for the trip to the Etihad whatsoever and ended up being the most inconsequential of the attacking trio.

Mane did manage to hit the woodwork in the first half, in the lead-up to the John Stones clearance that was 1.12cm away from being a goal.

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Mohamed Salah – 5.5

With little-to-no service from the midfield, it can be hard for any attacking player to get going. When you’re Mohamed Salah and the opposition is marking you out of a game it becomes infinitely more difficult.

To be fair, he gave it as much as he could and was extremely unlucky to not have Vincent Kompany sent off for a challenge on him. Nonetheless, still not really good enough.

Roberto Firmino – 7

Yep, just because he got the goal, Firmino gets himself a seven.

He looked much better after the change of system that came with Fabinho’s introduction and Firmino did very well to take the goal when it came but other than that, it’s largely the same story as the midfield. Bit of a bland performance.

The Substitutes

Fabinho (on 57′) – 6.5

Fab’s introduction is what swung the game temporarily in Liverpool’s favour. The change of system from 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1 was absolutely vital in us getting the goal that equalised things.

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His guile and grit was missing from the starting midfield, whose performance was simply toothless.

Xherdan Shaqiri (on 77′) – 6

He came on about 20 minutes too late to make any real impact but there’s not a bad word to be said about Shaqiri’s work ethic and determination in the 15 minutes he was on the pitch.

Tried to make things happen but ultimately couldn’t.

Daniel Sturridge (on 86′) – n/a

Forgot he came on. Touched the ball exactly twice.

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