Player ratings: Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool

Jurgen-Klopp-applauds-his-team-after-draw-vs-Arsenal
Simply not good enough. That’s two points dropped in my opinion. Arsenal have no substance defensively but we didn’t test them properly and anyone who still says we don’t need more creativity from midfield is burying their head in the sand. So now to start the unenviable task of scoring the players individually...

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Alisson (7) - We saw the good and the bad of Alisson today. Made some really good saves but flapped at a cross and his judgement for the goal was questionable. Would he have been better staying on his line? That’s perhaps a little overly critical however as he’s still night and day compared to Karius.

TAA (5) -Had some nice moments in an attacking sense but struggled defensively. Looked like a young player in the game, which isn’t an accusation you can usually level at Trent. He’ll have learnt a lot from tonight but not a game I think he’ll enjoy analysing.

Gomez (7) - Brilliant defensively and showed some great in-game intelligence of when to pass and when to dribble but like many others, sloppy passing was the Achilles heel of his game. Still looks a top player but passing must improve.

Van Dijk (8) - Our man of the match for me and if it wasn’t for bad luck, he’d have no luck at all. On another day, he’d have had a hat-trick. Desperately unlucky in an attacking sense but imperious defensively. As I’ve said before, best CB on the planet.

Robertson (7.5) - Robbo’s end product is unbelievably consistent and something our forwards should make better use of I reckon. Caught out of position a couple of times but another tireless performance and as I said, possibly the most consistent final ball in the Premier League, certainly from a fullback.

Fabinho (5) - If his last couple of performances made us question why Klopp kept him out so long, this was a reminder to trust Jurgen on such matters. Change of formation clearly didn’t suit Fabinho and he badly struggled to get to grips with the pace of the game. Looked a walking red card for a period in the second half but regained his composure. Won possession back well a couple of times but overall, one to forget for the Brazilian.

Wijnaldum (6) - Not Gini’s finest game, tried hard but things just weren’t really coming off for him. A game to forget.

Milner (7.5) - Scored his first goal from open play in a while and picked up what looked like a broken nose in a nasty clash of heads with Gomez but bravely, not only completed the 90 minutes but also carried out the media duties after. Our best midfielder on the day.

Salah (5) - Salah’s passing is absolutely horrendous, sometimes it’s really difficult to believe he’s an elite level footballer. Three yard passes regularly go astray, it’s so frustrating, especially when you know he’s capable of the type of pass he delivered to Mane for our fourth against Cardiff last week. Looked a threat at times but finishing was woeful and once again, surrenders possession far too easily and frequently.

Firmino (5) - Bobby’s struggles continue. Tried to link up play and as always, put in a good defensive shift but things just aren’t happening for him in an attacking sense just now.

Mane (6) - Looked the most likely of our front three to hurt Arsenal and had a goal wrongly chopped off for offside but still lacking his form of last season. His decision making this season has been awful. I’ve lost count of how many times he’s dribbled down a blind alley and lost possession when there’s been a simple pass on. He’s slowed down our counters this season as well I’ve thought.

Subs:

Shaqiri (6) - Must be wondering what he’s got to do to get a start. Should have been on much earlier.

Matip (N/A) - Time wasting substitution, much to my disappointment.

I’m not happy with today’s performance and the finger is pointed at Klopp. I said before the game that I hoped the formation change didn’t blunten our attack but that’s exactly what it did. We’d found a system recently that was bringing the best out of the players but we showed Arsenal far too much respect and made them look better than they are by allowing them to play but we STILL should have won the game if we weren’t so incredibly wasteful.

It’s difficult to criticise when we’re top of the league but we’re so far off the performance levels of last season, it’s difficult not to feel deflated and sadly, if performance levels don’t dramatically improve then we have no chance of beating City to the title over the course of a season.

I said in the last player ratings that Shaqiri has to be starting most games now as when he’s not playing, we’re seriously lacking attacking quality. Last season we had Coutinho until January and Ox after. We have no such player this season and it’s really starting to show. Unless Keita steps up when he returns from injury, it’s an area of the squad that badly needs addressed. The relentless backwards and sideways passing drives me nuts. We need the extra creativity that Shaqiri brings as without him, our performances have been stale.

A draw away at Arsenal isn’t the worst result on paper but I feel we’re playing negatively a lot of the time, when if we have any chance of beating City to the league, we need to be relentlessly aggressive.

Anyway, on to Belgrade in the Champions League midweek and with Agent Ilija in the crowd, I’m confident we’ll turn them over and another draw in the Napoli v PSG game would serve us nicely for qualifying from the group. My hopes of a Premier League title however, are fading.


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