So it’s a 0-0 draw in the first leg of a rearranged league cup semi final. Both teams eye will still be on Chelsea awaiting them in the final at Wembley on the 27th of February. However a whole 90 minutes is set to pass before then with hopefully more goals, as no matter how hard Liverpool tried tonight, that final hurdle couldn’t be crossed. Possession and passing don’t win you games, there’s only one statistic that matters.
Winning 9 of his previous 10 semi finals and now having home fans behind them in the first leg, Jurgen Klopp should’ve been quietly confident about tonight’s game even with the loss of Mo, Naby and Sadio missing due to AFCON duties. However with a make shift front three in Jota, Firmino and Minamino, nothing came of their combined efforts and it’s off to the Emirates in a weeks time, we go.
Here are the player ratings for tonight’s game:
Alisson – 7
Played like a third centre back who never got sent forward. Wasn’t busy most of the night but kept focussed late on and did we had to do when it came to shutting down an uninspired Arsenal attack.
Alexander-Arnold – 6
Played it cool all night and was always a source of confidence for the team. Some wayward shots but his defensive display and calm control of the game put watchers at ease tonight. Subbed for Neco in 3 man swap, Trent was constantly trying to find ways to create that first goal tonight and even though it never came, it’s still great to watch.
Matip – 7
How many slinky ventures will this man have to go on before defenders realise not to give this man space? Much like his partner, Joel Matip was often keen to push the team forward and try to nab that opener that sadly never came. Not leaving defensive duties behind, the duo were rest assured in Arsenals attempt to not even try for most of the game, but when us ourselves were at fault for being shakey, Matip was often there to rest pulses.
Van Dijk – 7
Sending the boys forward in search for the opener for most of the game, Virgil offered big assurances whenever it came to sweeping an attack even with a few slips here and there. Decent 90 mins for the Dutchman although there wasn’t much he could do about the other end of the pitch, even if our defence spent most of the match in it.
Robertson – 7
Lacking that cultured forward partnership with Sadio Mane, Robbo’s linking up play with Minamino was obviously rusty at times but the Scotsman did well to get balls in and find space on the wing for the whole 90. Once Arsenal began to tire with ten men Robbo and Taki found more chances but unfortunately nothing came of it no matter how hard they tried
Fabinho – 7
Wrestling with arsenals forwards for most of the game, Fabs wasn’t giving any gunner a yard of space tonight, and our ability to contain a decent in form side tonight maybe added to the frustration that we weren’t able to score. Solid 7 for Fabinho tonight.
Henderson – 7
Taking a knock early in the game, Hendo marched on and was able to guide his team to a barrage of attacks that ultimately never bore fruit. Playing the full 90 minutes, the captain was always looking to build the next attack and wouldn’t let Arsenal out their own half.
Milner – 6
The 36 year old once again played his heart out tonight. You can see the fight in him but tonight he found himself closed down at vital moments. He still remained a vital part of the midfield by using his intelligence in tough tight situations to get play out of dangerous areas. Substituted with a suspect knock for Curtis Jones around the hour mark
Jota – 8
He’s like that lad in the year below no one could get near so they just booted him. Surviving a UFC style finishing scissor kick from Granit Xhaka who looked surprisingly upset at his red card, (seriously, why doesn’t he just take up kickboxing?), Jota was a constant threat with his ability to switch direction on a dime and drag defenders to where he wanted them. Even though tonight most of the time the final ball never met him, or he just couldn’t get it past Ramsdale.
Minamino – 6
Providing pace on the left in absence of Mane, Minamino was able to add a new dynamic to Liverpool’s front three with his nimble foot work on the wing. At times able to dance around a full player without him knowing, Taki seemed to enjoy his time out with Bobby Firmino, even though he did go missing for some parts of the game and miss that sitter in front of the Kop. Let’s hope he doesn’t do that again.
Firmino – 6
Doing he’s best to find narrow pockets of space in the Gunners’ defence, Bobby seemed to be out of touch with a lot of the attacking play tonight. It was arsenals lack of the desire that led them to shit the bed and just blast the ball away and letting us build it all up again, but other than a few moments of silky 1-2’s, Firmino wasn’t able find the net in a make shift front three.
Jones – 7
On for Milner for some much needed injection of pace and found pockets of space. Trying to inspire signature cheeky long ranged efforts, Jones was certainly welcomed back on to the Anfield turf but sadly wasn’t able to inspire the win.
Ox – 6
Couldn’t do much more centrally than those on the wing were attempting. It turned into press practice by the time ox came on and the game was already maybe a bit too compact for him to try and spread play with his pace and cause rooms for Arsenal to make errors.
Neco – 6
Updated the right wing with a bit of pace as Trent started to ease off the gas, Neco was up for trying to beat that last man and get the ball in the box. Bright cameo from the young Welshman.
Gomez – 6
On for Matip near the end of the game, tried to send balls in and look keen to make a difference but not much came.