LIVERPOOL 2-0 FULHAM – PLAYER RATINGS
ALISSON (6.5) – Our cap-wearing Brazilian can surely only receive a 7 after a fairly quiet Sunday afternoon for the number thirteen. A shaky start to the game in which Fulham’s only creative player, Andre Shurrle, thundered a shot in the direction of the goalkeeper, forcing Alisson into spilling the ball and leaving big Virgil to get him out of danger. However, signs of quick thinking were spotted when passing the ball out to TAA straight after Fulham’s goal was rightfully (or wrongfully) ruled out for offside, which lead to our first of the afternoon. A fairly average performance.
TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD (5.5) – This performance from TAA summed up parts of his season thus far. Poor touches, wild crosses and frustrated screams were heard and seen from the youngster today as he continues his slight dip in form. Saying this, the 20 year old played a beautifully timed through ball to Mo Salah, bagging his second premier league assist of the season. No need to worry, he’ll be back.
JOE GOMEZ (7.5) – Rapidly becoming a fan favourite, Joe Gomez put in another notable shift during Sunday’s victory. Joe continued to look calm and composed throughout a reasonably hushed afternoon in terms of dealing with a struggling attack. The only bit of criticism was the ease in which Ryan Sessegnon was able to skip past him before missing a glorious chance to put Fulham in the lead, which may not have been undeserved by any stretch of the imagination. Strong and stable from the Englishman.
VIRGIL VAN DIJK (8) – At this moment in time, VVD can’t seem to put a foot wrong. The tough Dutchman looks to be the purchase of the century with our defence looking stronger by the week. Long gone are the days where Kolo Toure would lead the back line, what a time that was. Virgil again oozes with class when playing the ball out from the back, picking out midfield players with ease. No criticism needed.
ANDY ROBERTSON (9) – Andy, “I’ll chase the ball down until I can run no more”, Robertson put in a world-class performance on the left. Linking well with Sadio Mane, Andy could have had more than just one assist and potentially a goal if it weren’t for the gloves of Rico in the Fulham goal. However, the assist that was claimed came off a sumptuous cross straight onto the left wand of Xherdan Shaqiri, a truly delightful switch. Finally, after years of sub-standard left backs, we have found the one.
FABINHO (6.5) – Tackling and stopping counter-attacks is obviously an area in which Fabinho strives upon, with the powerful defensive-midfield player cracking down upon many an attack. Alongside this, he clearly has an eye for a long ranged pass, with the switch to TAA being a key element to his game. This being said, it is evident that the pace of the English game is going to be something that Fabinho will have to adapt to in order to perform to the highest of his ability. A severe lack of game time may play a role in this.
GEORGINIO WIJNALDUM (6) – All in all, I could probably sum up Gini’s performance by just saying ‘meh’. The midfielder seemed to go unnoticed over the course of the game before being taken off for a brief Jordan Henderson cameo. Maybe the fact that it was his birthday and he was more worried about a little birthday bash later on than running the midfield was on his mind. We all love Gini though, don’t we?
XHERDAN SHQIRI (9, MOTM) – You have to ask yourself, why has a player of Shaqiri’s talent has been playing at Stoke City for the last few seasons? Xherdan is easily the most creative midfield player that we have at this moment in time. He was unpredictable, skilful and just stunning throughout the game, picking up the ball and driving at the back line of Fulham. Not to forget, his goal was superb, with a lovely cushioned volley into the bottom left corner. Petition for Shaqiri to start more often? I think so.
ROBERTO FIRMINO (6.5) – Playing in the number 10 role, Bobby showed good signs of being able to hold the ball up and play the wingers in behind, as he continues to play unselfishly for the team. This being said, Firmino didn’t quite grasp the game, with large spells being ineffective and missing almost. A lovely bit of interplay between Salah and himself carved the weak defence of Fulham apart, with Mo almost grabbing a goal. Maybe a slight lack of goals of late is down to the more creative role that Jurgen Klopp is playing him in, something that clearly doesn’t get the most out of our number 9.
SADIO MANE (6) – Along with Gini Wijnaldum, ‘meh’ quickly springs to mind when analysing the Senegalese’s match. Some poor touches and a miscued shot early in the first half frustrated the Anfield faithful. Signs of Mane drifting in to the game a little were portrayed later on when a shot was ferociously struck on target, with Rico saving well. Not a poor overall performance, but a slight dip from the average.
MOHAMED SALAH (7.5) – 6 goals in 12 premier league appearances for the Egyptian king this season has apparently deemed him a ‘one season wonder’. Quite strange if you ask me. Mo sprung into life with a lovely finish under the reach of the Fulham goalkeeper to open the scoring and relieve tension building up around Anfield. Impressive signs of Salah holding the ball were something that hasn’t been a part of his game up until now. Even though his performance on Sunday was something of an improvement, his ruthlessness on goal must be improved upon in order to come close to Salah’s outstanding goal tally of last season.