Liverpool, despite lacking sharpness upfront, maintained their unbeaten streak in Premier League grabbing a place on top alongside Manchester City. But they were behind on goal difference, and the game against newly-promoted Cardiff City handed Jurgen Klopp’s men a chance to improve their goal difference. A midweek 4-0 victory against Red Star Belgrade raised the hopes high for yet another ‘goals galore’, but the fixture had a dire sixty minutes in spite of Mohamed Salah’s early opener. But it had an eventful culmination which saw the Reds securing a 4-1 win thanks to late strikes from Xherdan Shaqiri and Sadio Mane who ended the Bluebirds’ prospects of staging a comeback.
Below are the Liverpool players rated in their comprehensive win against Cardiff City.
Alisson Becker: 7
The Brazilian was close to clinching his fourth successive clean sheet but conceded one against the run of play. Scotsman Callum Paterson scored from close range to ruin Becker’s perfect day.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 7
The youngster had a decent start as his cross eventually led to Mohamed Salah’s opener inside 10 minutes of the game. Did well to contain Josh Murphy and also kept on running forward to link up with the Egyptian in the wide areas.
Dejan Lovren: 6.5
Was not troubled much due to Cardiff’s lack of effort high up the pitch. Conceded a silly foul outside the box and the visitors eventually converted the resulting free-kick. The goal, however, did not stand as it was rightly ruled out for being offside.
Virgil van Dijk: 6.5
Was handed captain’s armband for consecutive games. His looper header hit the woodwork early in the first half and had little trouble defensively throughout the match barring one occasion when Junior Hoilett’s low cross deflected of the Dutchman and fell favourably into the path of Paterson who made no mistake in poking the ball past Alisson.
Alberto Moreno: 6
Was handed a rare start in place of Andrew Robertson. Made some overlapping runs but failed to threaten with crosses and cut insides. Switched off defensively during Cardiff’s goal which allowed Hoilett to whip in a low cross inside the box.
The Brazilian was handed his first league start following an incredible display on Wednesday night against Red Star Belgrade. Was not as influential as the midweek fixture but kept the ball rolling in midfield, won a few tackles and duels and also made some strong runs forward.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 8
Impressed once again with his display in the middle of the park. Used his physicality to hold the ball, create space for his teammates dragging the visitors towards him and distributing it perfectly with great passing accuracy. Had 129 touches and completed 111 successful passes out of 118.
Adam Lallana: 6
Looked off-paced and also lacked imagination while passing the ball forward. Failed to deliver defence-splitting through balls expected from a playmaker of his calibre. Was denied a goal in the closing seconds of the first half when his firm header was cleared off the line by Sean Morrison. This was the only notable moment for the Englishman before being replaced by Xherdan Shaqiri around the hour mark.
Sadio Mane: 8
Had an underwhelming start to the game but scored twice in the second half including one thunderous strike that earned the Reds a 2-0 lead.
Mohamed Salah: 8.5
The Egyptian handed the Reds an early lead but was tightly marked by Joseph Bennett and Sol Bamba for the majority of the game. He, however, made some significant contribution towards the end setting the ball up for Xherdan Shaqiri and Sadio Mane to increase the lead and take the game beyond Cardiff’s reach.
Roberto Firmino: 6.5
Worked hard as always, helped the defensive line and midfield time and again but lacked the composure upfront and was eventually replaced by James Milner midway through the second half.
Xherdan Shaqiri: 8
Replaced Lallana and made an immediate impact in the attacking third with his link-up play, long balls, crosses and through passes. An emphatic finish saw him scoring his first Liverpool goal after some majestic performances.
James Milner: 6.5
Had a positive impact in the middle of the park since replacing Firmino.
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