RATINGS | Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal: Sadio Mané shines as fullbacks also prove key to 100pc start

Sadio Mané shone on an Anfield night which saw new boy Diogo Jota notch in a 3-1 win over Arsenal. DON KOPLEONE reports.

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This is a really, really good football team.

Every off-season, Jürgen Klopp And Pepijn Lijnders work together to develop this Liverpool side into a new beast, a different beast. It seems that this campaign’s vintage take inspiration from Klopp’s very first-look Liverpool, who destroyed teams at times with their high press.

Liverpool suffocated Arsenal, just as they suffocated Chelsea last week. These are two of the supposed ‘top six’ and in successive games, Liverpool’s opponents have struggled to break out of their own halves.

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The visitors opened the scoring completely against the run of play, as Andrew Robertson scuffed a clearance straight into Alexandre Lacazette’s path.

But Liverpool maintained their pre-existing pressure, and equalised almost instantly, with a wicked Mo Salah effort palmed in front of a grateful Sadio Mané.

And Robertson turned hero from villain, making a back-post surge to turn home a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross.

Arsenal found chances more regularly in the second half, but Liverpool still looked the more threatening, and new signing Diogo Jota was dangerous from the moment he was substituted on.

It was the Portuguese who found the game’s final goal, swiping a half volley into Bernd Leno’s bottom corner.

A very much deserved victory for a very, very good side.

Your ratings, as Liverpool made it three out of three:

First XI

Alisson 7 – some strange kicking in the first half, and sank too early for Lacazette’s opener, but stood up brilliantly to deny the French forward at 2-1.

Trent 8 – phenomenal first half, and delivery was at its very best tonight. Would have been Man of the Match had he not failed to step up when playing Lacazette onside for the big miss.

Gomez 8 – so, so much better than his performance at Leeds. Aubameyang didn’t register a shot all game, in large part due to the young Englishman.

Virgil 8 – just something else. Could have walked to an 8.5 here had his long passing not slipped below its ridiculous normal standard in the second half.

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Robbo 7.5 – completely redeemed himself after his error, both with the winner and a great showing in the second half.

Naby 7.5 – less exhilarating than he can be going forward but – as with his performance at Stamford Bridge – you feel the Guinean’s defensive work-rate and discipline will have delighted his manager.

Fab 8 – in a great vein of form and dominated the midfield, especially in the first forty-five.

Gini 8 – Wijnaldum’s best performance in a while. You feel that when Liverpool really suffocate the opposition, Gini is often thriving, and that was the case today.

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Salah 7.5 – energetic first half, and did brilliantly in the lead up to Mané’s goal. Was quieter for most of the second half until a brilliant pass for Jota’s first chance…and we won’t mention the second.

Firmino 7 – like quite a few Bobby Firmino performances of late, the Brazilian is playing well, and pressing very well, but it feels less like he’s the epicentre of Red attacks than he used to be. Drifted in and out of the game at times.

Mané 8.5 – absolutely unbelievable second half, after a first period in which he found space and shots with regularity, and the crucially quick equaliser. Man of the match for a second successive week.


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Subs:

Jota 7.5 – should have done better with his first opportunity, but the movement that led to that chance was brilliant. Dispatched his volley to seal the three points. The perfect introduction.

Milner 6.5 – looked slightly less geared to the intensity than Keïta had been, but perhaps that’s natural when stepping into such a game.

Minamino N/A – not on the pitch long enough to continue where he left off from Thursday.

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