To sum this game up in a few lines could prove quite the test. Both Arsenal and Liverpool deployed teams filled with youth and enthusiasm, and occasionally naivety.
What followed were two halves of football with five goals in each. Sensational entertainment, as Arsenal twice led by two goals — only to be ultimately pegged back by Divock Origi.
A flawed performance, but one that all the Liverpool youngsters will remember for the rest of their lives. Anyway, let me give you some ratings:
Quive 5.5 — Should not have conceded five goals tonight, with the second particularly disappointing. However, the young ‘keeper finished the night as the shoot-out hero, with a great stop from Dani Ceballos.
Neco 7.5 — The 18-year-old was, surprisingly, the most solid member of the home side’s back line, and supplied the last minute assist for Divock Origi’s equaliser.
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JoGo 6.5 — As the more experienced centre half, Gomez should have taken more of a leadership role than he did. Was good on the ball, but didn’t seem to help the shaky van den Berg.
The Ginger Virg 5.5 — Looked slow, nervy and seemed to be in a questionable position when Arsenal attacked, at times.
Milly 5.5 — Despite two penalties scored across the night, Milner put in one of his most lazy displays in a Liverpool shirt, culminating in an underhit backpass, before Ainslay Maitland-Niles made it 4-2.
Ox 7 — Was clearly fired up by the away fans’ jeers, which led to him both trying to do too much at times, and also smashing an exceptional half volley into the roof of the Arsenal net from twenty-five yards out.
La La Land 6 — Firstly, Adam Lallana cannot defend. That is a fundamental problem with the decision to play him as a holding midfielder. On a more positive note, the England international progressed the ball well, at times.
Naby 5.5 — Not good enough. When a £60million central midfielder starts alongside some youth prospects, you need the senior player to dominate the game. Keïta did not.
The Fulham Messi 6 — Constantly dangerous, but showed a touch of naivety by giving away cheap possession too often — one such occasion leading to Gabriel Martinelli’s second goal.
Rhian 5.5 — I am starting to worry that Brewster is less of a goal threat than we were led to believe. Worked hard, but that’s not always enough and his first touch seemed to let him down on occasion. Dispatched a superb penalty, though.
Div 7.5 — Let himself down first-half, failing to track Maitland-Niles from a quick free-kick cost his side a goal. However, the Belgian produced a vintage Divock display after the interval. The first-touch turn for his first goal was incredible. The bicycle kick equaliser was “clutch”. His penalty found the back of the net. Man of the Match.
CJ 7 — Was lively during his cameo, and then showed massive balls to take — and score — the final penalty.
Chirivella (He’s still here?) N/A — Hopefully we don’t get expelled from the competition, or even just a fine, as a result of this appearance.