Liverpool 0-0 Arsenal: Player ratings as Reds spurn chance to control Carabao Cup tie

Don Kopleone rates a Reds side who could not find a breakthrough at Anfield against a side which was a man light for more than an hour.

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I never thought Liverpool would win the Premier League this season, I thought we would struggle in January with Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah off at AFCON.

I still expected this team to be capable of creating something without them, though, especially when Arsenal were reduced to 10 men, just over 20 minutes into the first leg of this Carabao Cup semi-final.

Liverpool should have their place at Wembley booked. This team should have no difficulty winning by four, five or six under those circumstances. Even without their best two attackers.

However, a lack of width, intensity and penetrating movement means Jürgen Klopp’s side travel to the Emirates next week without a lead, even.

The hosts were actually much better before Granit Xhaka was sent off for denying Diogo Jota an obvious goal-scoring opportunity with a high foot.

But after that, a turgid showing, lacking in any positives.

Your ratings, after an embarrassment of a night at Anfield:

Starting XI

Ali 6 – A couple of communicative errors again, but produced a couple of impressive punches to clear balls into the box. Made a big save to deny Bukayo Saka in the second half.

Trent 5.5 – Looked like a man who hadn’t touched a football in a week which, thanks to a positive Covid-19 test, he hadn’t. Crosses and corners were almost all woeful.

Joel 7.5 – The only Liverpool starter who looked like he might create something. Ballooned over the bar from 30-odd yards.

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Big Virg 5.5 – Looked half-fit and a long way from what we know he can be.

Robbo 6.5 – Started well, and the Scot’s superb long pass invited the Xhaka red card. Worsened after that, though, and was also guilty of some turgid deliveries into the box.

Hendo 5 – Produced some horridly mis-weighted passes. Never seemed to know where he should be playing, either.

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Fabs 6 – Had next to no defensive work to do and seemed uncomfortable with being asked to make runs forward, due to the lack of attacking mentality surrounding him.

Milly 4.5 – Just pathetic. I love the guy, but he’s 36 and struggling with the basics. Contract up at the end of the season – it is time to move on.

Di-no-goal 6.5 – Liverpool’s greatest attacking threat but faded out of the game, stuck out on the right. Only Jürgen Klopp knows why he wasn’t moved more centrally.

Bobby 5 – Bright and combative in the first 20 minutes, as the game was open. Less involved than Alisson Becker for much of the next 70.

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Taki 5 – Ditto, with the added excitement of missing a 90th-minute sitter to win the game. Looked tense and snatched at his big chance when it came along. These are the chances he has to take if he hopes to make it at Liverpool.

Subs

CJ 6.5 – Actually looked like he might influence the game. A tidy little backheel to create a Liverpool attack was one of the few things that stirred the Anfield crowd tonight.

Ox 6.5 – I have no clue why he wasn’t on at half-time, when it was apparent Liverpool needed more drive from midfield. But even when he did come on, despite having a positive mentality he was largely ineffective.

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JoGo 6.5 – Who knows why the Englishman’s introduction was necessary. Matip injured? Change for the sake of it? Baffling.

Neco 7 – Actually fired in some crosses, which Liverpool seemed to have forgotten was allowed. Quite a few of them were into dangerous areas as well. Decent cameo.


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Don Kopleone

Scouse, not Sicilian.

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