Sports

Jones, Alexander-Arnold 8/10 as Liverpool snap four-game losing run


Liverpool finally returned to winning ways in the Premier League courtesy of a 2-0 success over Sheffield United on Sunday night.

After a dull first half, Curtis Jones slotted home for Jurgen Klopp’s men after nice work by Trent Alexander-Arnold. Then, a Kean Bryan own goal made it two, as Liverpool ended a four-game losing streak in the league.

Positives

The key to victory for the Reds was persistence. They kept the ball on the deck, kept working it down the flanks and didn’t lose their cool — even in the face of mounting pressure from the hosts. They’re clearly working hard to regain the composure they once had under Klopp but in a general sense, the visitors dug deep in a tough game, which is exactly what they needed to do.

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Negatives

Up until the Jones’ goal, there was a hesitancy among Liverpool’s players to pull the trigger. There are plenty of reasons as to why that would be the case, but even in midfield, there was a real lack of communication. When put up against a team with more quality, they likely would’ve been punished.

Manager rating out of 10

7 — There wasn’t a whole lot Klopp could do with regards to his starting XI given the injury problems they have within the squad. Still, he set them up in a familiar formation, and the key to their victory was the manager sticking with his initial XI for long spells. They grew into the game and he didn’t lose faith, and that takes guts given the form they’ve been in as of late.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Adrian, 7 — Outside of a few solid saves, Adrian clearly lacked the confidence necessary to start in such an important game — yet he still managed to keep a clean sheet.

DF Andrew Robertson, 7 — Was slightly slower than fans are used to with his delivery and defensive timing, but the Scot still showed more energy than most at Bramall Lane.

DF Nat Phillips, 6 — Needs to work on limiting his physicality in the name of avoiding repercussions. Still, the youngster was strong in his timing and grew into the game.

DF Ozan Kabak, 6 — Outside of the horrific moment in which he scored a woeful own goal that proved to be offside, Kabak was professional and kept it simple at the back.

DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 8 — Trent was easily Liverpool’s Man of the Match thanks to his tenacity, box-to-box play and cracking assist for the first goal.

MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 7 — From decent defending to carrying the ball forward into the final third with ease, this was one of Wijnaldum’s better displays of the last 12 months.

MF Thiago Alcantara, 7 — Looks confident on the ball but needs to find more cohesion and rhythm with his fellow central midfielders before being dubbed ‘world class’.

MF Curtis Jones, 8 — After showing glimpses of greatness and a willingness to battle for the ball, Jones scored the first goal of the game with a perfectly-placed shot into the bottom corner.

FW Sadio Mane, 6 — Tried to find openings but was constantly shut out right up until he played a key role in the lead-up to the second goal

FW Roberto Firmino, 7 — Despite his strong distribution work, Firmino couldn’t unlock his own attacking prowess until some wonderful build-up play was followed by a slice of luck in what was ruled a Sheffield own goal.

FW Mohamed Salah, 6 — Held a deep line to gain possession but couldn’t do anything with it on a forgettable night for the Egyptian.

Substitutes

MF James Milner, N/R — Served as an extra pair of legs in a defensive midfield role to help Liverpool get over the finish line.

MF Naby Keita, N/R — Controlled the tempo even if he wasn’t given enough time to make a sustained impact.



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