Liverpool remained perfect in the Champions League with a chaotic 3-2 win over Atletico Madrid. The Reds let an early two-goal lead slip but benefitted from an Antoine Griezemann red card. We rate the Liverpool players’ performance, decide who contributed to the win and who could’ve played better, and give our Liverpool match ratings.
Liverpool Match Ratings: Liverpool Beat Atletico Madrid In Thriller
Liverpool Match Ratings
(out of 10)
Alisson prevented Liverpool from being further punished for some shocking defending in the first half. He made a brilliant save to deny Griezemann and another later on to deny Joao Felix. Liverpool may have not needed the Brazilian against Watford but they relied on him tonight. Alison could’ve better positioned himself for Atletico’s second but when the defence is as open as it was, Liverpool was bound to concede eventually.
Both Atletico Madrid goals came down Alexander-Arnold’s right-hand side but neither were his fault. He wasn’t as active going forward as usual but still caused Atletico Madrid problems at times. His hopeful ball forward resulted in Jota winning Liverpool a game-winning penalty.
As a part of a Liverpool defence that gave away too many chances, Joel Matip gets a low rating but he didn’t make any glaring errors. Matip has been Liverpool’s most consistent centre-back this season as Virgil Van-Dijk works his way back to top form. If he can continue to put a run of games together without injury, Matip may finally get the worldwide recognition he deserves.
Virgil Van Dijk
After two mistake-free games against the Premier Leagues’ best in Manchester City and Chelsea, Liverpool fans were reminded that the road back to top form may be a long one for Virgil Van Dijk. Van Dijk seemed on a different wavelength to his defence for much of the game. He was constantly playing offside traps that were not followed by his teammates. One mistake sent Greizemann one on one with Alisson and another led to Atletico Madrid’s equalizer. This was Van Dijk’s first big away test since his injury and he failed to live up to the task. Liverpool will be hoping he deals with the challenge of Old Trafford and Cristiano Ronaldo better on Sunday 24th October.
Another defender who seemed out of sync with the rest of his defence, Robertson played Atletico attackers onside on more than one occasion. His attacking contributions made up for his defensive work but he was slightly fortunate Mo Salah turned his overhit cross into an assist. Robertson now has a worthy backup in Kostas Tsimkas so will need to turn up against Manchester United on Sunday to ensure the starting spot remains his.
Henderson was one of the main culprits in Liverpool looking so open in midfield in the first half but with the extra cover of Fabinho in the second, Henderson looked much more composed. The Englishman still failed to make a single tackle during the 90 minutes and that is a stat that will concern his manager. With Harvey Eliott, Curtis Jones, and Thiago all injured Henderson is having to carry the load in midfield and it’s clearly having an effect on his performances. Henderson needs to be on top form on Sunday to take advantage of Manchester United’s faltering midfield.
It all started brilliantly for Naby Keita. Some great pressing and a world-class volley had Liverpool fans thinking Keita was finally becoming a big game player. The rest of the game was a total disaster. Keita was too easily beaten by Thomas Lemar for Atletico’s first and Joao Felix for the equalizer. As a result of his mistakes, Keita’s overall game collapsed. His passing became sloppy and Liverpool was wide open in midfield. Klopp had no choice but to take him off at halftime in a cruel repeat of what happened against Real Madrid six months earlier. Naby Keita always shows flashes in a Liverpool shirt but if he can’t put together a consistent run of form his time at Liverpool is quickly running out.
If one word could describe James Milner it would be solid. He doesn’t excel at one thing or has many performances where he’s the best player in the park but James Milner does a job. Dealing with Atletico’s tricky and gamesmanship-loving midfield was something Milner did well until he was caught out by a Keiran Tripper dive. Milner came off at the right time as Liverpool searched for a winner.
Two goals and the game-winner earn Salah a high rating but he had a usually quiet game once Liverpool had gone two up. Salah demonstrated his improved dribbling once again before his shot took a lucky deflection to open the scoring. The Egyptian showed exceptional composure to tuck away the penalty despite Wanda Metropolitano’s best efforts to put him off.
Coming off a hat-trick against Watford, Roberto Firmino was forced to show his more defensive side tonight as he tried to stop Liverpool’s midfield from being overloaded. He played much better once Atletico Madrid was reduced to ten men and he had more space to operate. A late switch to the left flank also stopped Atletico from targeting Andy Robertson late on. This was a game where Firmino sacrificed his game for the good of the team.
Sadio Mane played an unusually safe game which showed he may be lacking some energy. He rarely gave the ball away but didn’t attempt a single dribble and only had one shot. This was one of Mane’s quietest games in a Liverpool shirt and he had only 24 touches. Liverpool will hope his early withdrawal in the 62nd minute will help him find some energy for Sunday’s crucial clash at Old Trafford.
Fabinho’s importance to Liverpool was proved when they struggled so much without him in the first half. Even without training with Liverpool since the international break, Fabinho slotted straight in and Liverpool’s midfield was much improved in the second half.
Although not much came off for Diogo Jota, he was active and that activity won Liverpool the game-winning penalty. He may still be carrying a knock picked up on international duty but Liverpool still needs Jota’s opportunistic style of play to be successful. Using him as a super-sub while he fully recovers is a useful tool to have. Jota may have scored if Firmino had slid him in earlier but instead his shot was blocked.
After a superb sub appearance, there will be questions as to why Oxlade-Chamberlain didn’t start instead of Naby Keita, who had played 4 games in 11 days before this one. Oxlade Chamberlain looked lively and like a man with a point to prove. He looked the most likely to find an opening before Jota won Liverpool a penalty. With injuries heavily affecting Liverpool in midfield, ‘The OX’ may have played his way into contention for a start against Manchester United on Sunday.
Joe Gomez did the job he was brought on to do as Liverpool saw out an impressive away victory. He stopped any attack that came his way and even looked threatening going forward against a tiring Atletico Madrid side. Limited opportunities so far this season will have frustrated Gomez but Liverpool’s schedule only gets harsher from here and opportunities will come his way soon.
*Neco Williams did not play long enough to be part of Liverpool match ratings*
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