Liverpool 2-3 Atletico Madrid: Liverpool Player Ratings
For 95 minutes, Liverpool put up the performance that ranked among the club’s best under Jurgen Klopp. Unfortunately, it was the next 25 minutes that spelled their doom.
On a lively night at Anfield, the vociferous crowd were greeted by a team that showed all the hunger and intent demanded of them as they completely overwhelmed the Spaniards in regular time.
If not for the front three’s wastefulness and the impressive Jan Oblak, Liverpool should have comfortably settled the tie in the 90 minutes. Georginio Wijnaldum continued his trend of scoring equalizing headers against Spanish opponents as he put the Reds level going into the break.
The Dutchman then provided a pinpoint assist for Roberto Firmino to break his Anfield duck to put the Reds up in extra time. However, it took an Adrian catastrophe to get Atletico back into the game and the Spaniards took full advantage of the keeper’s error. Marcos Llorente scored his first of the night as he completely shifted the tie in Atletico’s favour.
He pounced on another mistake, this time from Virgil van Dijk, to draw his side level before Alvaro Morata won it late on.
It is a loss that the Reds did not deserve given their performance and shows the difference small margins can make at the highest level. Encouragingly for the Reds, this was a performance that ranks among the best and the team can take heart from the fact that the score vastly flatters the visitors.
The Reds will now shift their focus to securing their first league title in thirty years.
Liverpool Player Ratings
A poor night for the reserve keeper, whose error changed the complexion of the tie. Liverpool were well in control and looked to be heading towards another famous comeback before the Spaniard suffered his brainfart.
Adrian wasn’t brought in to be a starter and has made a number of impressive performances in Alisson’s absence. It, however, should not take focus away from last night’s performance where he got nowhere near the three goals.
Trent Alexander Arnold (7/10)
A much-improved performance by the youngster after a no-show in the first leg. Showed intent and made a number of clever incisive passes as he helped build pressure on the Atletico goal. Got stuck in with a crunching tackle early on against Joao Felix as he reminded the player that Liverpool are in for the fight.
Joe Gomez (7/10)
Played well for large portions of the game and looked to be on course for a memorable 100th appearance for the club. A late lapse in concentration let Llorente get the better of him and score a massive goal for Atletico.
Virgil van Dijk (7/10)
Was undaunted by the prospect of handling Diego Costa and had a largely untroubled night. That is until Llorente scored. His decision making for the Spaniard’s second must be called into question as he dropped back and gave the player too much time on the ball. Was thrown up front in the final minutes but could not make much of an impact.
Andrew Robertson (7/10)
A battling performance by the Scotsman on his 26th birthday. He walked his pre-match talk and looked up for the match. Should have scored but only saw his header cannon off the post. Was a dominant presence on the left and made a number of incisive runs and crosses.
Jordan Henderson (7/10)
The skipper showed exactly what the Reds were missing as he marshalled his team in what was the club’s best performance this year for 95 minutes on the night.
His leadership and organizational ability was on full show as he ensured the team left no gaps in the formation. Faded understandably as the game went on but kept fighting till the end and was a constant source for a pass.
Georginio Wijnaldum (9/10)
Another big night at Anfield, another big performance by the Dutch international. His first-half goal ensured that Liverpool went into the break back on level terms. He was an energetic presence in midfield and closed down opponents all night with intent.
Wijnaldum also provided the assist for Firmino’s extra-time strike. An extremely effective performance by the midfielder that is likely to not get the attention it deserves given the result.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (9/10)
An excellent performance by the Englishman who showcased every facet of his skill set. He vindicated Klopp’s decision to start him over Naby Keita and Fabinho with what could be considered his best performance for the club.
He drove forward with purpose and made a number of intelligent runs and passes. He also provided the assist for Wijnaldum’s opener while also testing Oblak with a number of long-range efforts. Should not have been taken off late on as he looked to be in the zone.
Sadio Mane (7/10)
Looked keen to make up for his performance in the first leg and was a constant threat to the Atletico defence. He made a number of direct runs and caused Kieran Trippier endless problems. Almost capped off the result with an overhead kick in normal time.
Roberto Firmino (7/10)
Far from his best but improved as the game went on. Kept grinding away and kept the pressure on Atletico with his closing down and endless running. Raised the roof with his goal in extra time.
Mohamed Salah (7/10)
Was involved in an intriguing tussle with Renan Lodi all night. The Egyptian had a number of chances and should have scored at least one in spite of Oblak’s brilliance.
James Milner (6/10)
Come on for the Ox in the 80th minute, giving Wijnaldum the license and cover to push forward. He continued to impress as his high energy levels and no-nonsense attitude saw him step into tackles while also keeping the ball rolling.
The Brazilian still has ways to go before he gets back to his best.
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Divock Origi (5/10)
Didn’t have much of an effect and Liverpool should look to sign a better backup striker in the summer.
Takumi Minamino (N/A)
Came on for Firmino too late as the Brazilian looked to tire.