RATINGS | Liverpool 1-1 Napoli: Subs lift Reds as midfield struggles for impact

A number of uninspired performances from Liverpool players contributed to a lacklustre showing at Anfield, but the impact of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Georginio Wijnaldum from the bench helped the Reds to come away from the game with something.

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It was hard just watching that. Liverpool haven’t exactly been thrilling to watch over the last few weeks, this was a new level of slow, flat football.

In truth this was, in part at least, down to the way that Napoli set up. Carlo Ancelotti played with five at the back and it was clear that he had instructed his team to be as compact as possible and not allow the home side any space in the attacking third.

But still, with the players at our disposal we should be able to break down a team in turmoil and missing a few key players.

At times it felt like there was no inspiration. Crosses into the box were hopeful instead of purposeful, there was no creativity whatsoever from the midfield and the front three were much less mobile and threatening than usual.


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Still, despite all this, the unbeaten run at home was protected and the Reds still came away with a draw that leaves their destiny firmly within their own hands heading into the final Group E game in Salzburg.

I was on hand at Anfield to cast an eye over the players. Here’s how they got on — right after a reminder of my rating system.

Starting XI

Alisson 7 — Never looked troubled. Mertens’ finish was excellent for the Napoli goal.

JoGo 6 — Did very well at times defensively, but his lack of cutting edge as a full-back was, perhaps unfairly, often highlighted.

Degsy 8 — Could he have come across further for the away side’s opener? Possibly — seems a harsh critique, though. Other than that, Lovren’s performance was very good, and capped by a perfect equalising header from a full twelve yards out.

Big Virg 7.5 — Ran through the gears for most of the game.

Robbo 6.5 — Poor first half, but his delivery improved later on. Not a vintage display from the Scot.

Hendo 7.5 — Put in a very good shift when moved to right-back. Had arguably been the Reds’ most involved midfielder before that as well.

Fab 6.5 — Injured early on. Hopefully nothing too serious.

Milly 6.5 — A decent performance, but he always seemed half-a-yard off leaving his mark on the match.

Mo 6 — Far too little involvement, on the stage where he stood up to be counted last year.

Bobby 6 — Headed wide when Oxlade-Chamberlain delivered a delightful ball. Had few chances otherwise, but not a top-class creative performance, either.

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Sadio 7 — As so often this season, the Senegalese was Klopp’s most threatening attacker. Went down in the box in the first half and caused concern amongst the Napoli defence whenever the ball was at his feet.

Subs

Gini 7 — Recovery of possession was good as ever, and passing felt more progressive than it sometimes is.

Ox 7.5 — Arguably the most dangerous player for the home team in the second half.

Trent N/A — Probably should have come on earlier.

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