A potentially mouth-watering lunchtime tie between Liverpool and Manchester City was marred by the first-half red card for Sadio Mane as the Reds slumped to a disappointing 5-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium.
Referee John Moss adjudged Mane’s high-footed challenge against City goalkeeper Ederson worthy of a straight red, and Liverpool effectively collapsed from that point onwards; goals from Sergio Aguero, two from Gabriel Jesus and two from Leroy Sane condemned the Reds to their heaviest defeat under Jurgen Klopp.
Though it isn’t enjoyable reading, here’s how I’ve rated the Liverpool players:
Simon Mignolet – 5
Despite conceding FIVE, Mignolet was in good form, making a number of excellent saves throughout the match (including one from Joel Matip!). He rarely puts a glove hand wrong these days – I’d be disappointed to see Karius come back into the starting XI anytime soon. Would have been rated higher if the scoreline was less harsh.
Alberto Moreno – 5
Another solid performance from Moreno, both offensively and defensively. Liverpool’s best defender today (remarkably).
Ragnar Klavan – 3
Another hapless performance from Klavan. Made a few good tackles and played the ball forward well at times, but otherwise made life very easy for City’s attackers. Klopp has to regret not buying another centre-back, surely?
Joel Matip – 3
Normally reasonably solid, Matip collapsed under pressure today. Was indicative of Liverpool’s poor performance after the sending-off.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 4
Looked extremely nervous in the first half and kept delaying his throw-ins until the referee had a word. Was very naive in the second half, especially after Sane came on, but he still has time on his side.
Emre Can – 4
Started the game well and drove Liverpool forward through the middle. However, like many of his teammates, he rapidly declined after the sending-off and eventually began gifting the ball back to City. Not Can’s best performance by a long shot.
Gini Wijnaldum – 4
Like Can, Wijnaldum started strongly, muscling City players off the ball and keeping things moving. However, he eventually faded out as the match wore on until he was replaced by James Milner.
Jordan Henderson – 5
The captain ran his socks off as usual and got into some good positions at times, but his passing game wasn’t good enough and he didn’t command the middle of the park very well. A difficult game in which to be captain.
Sadio Mane – 6
Mane was probably Liverpool’s best player until he was shown a red card for a high-footed challenge against Ederson. Whether you agree with the decision or not, it unarguably ruined what had been a good game until that point. Liverpool will miss him in the next three domestic fixtures.
Mohamed Salah – 5
Salah had bags of pace and skill today, but unfortunately, no end-product. He consistently beat City’s defenders with bursting runs and then fluffed the final ball. Should have equalised after Mane was sent off. Wasn’t hard to see why Klopp subbed him at half time – needs to do better.
Roberto Firmino – 5
Like Henderson, Firmino worked hard from start to finish but to no avail. He’ll undoubtedly have better games in upcoming fixtures.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (sub) – n/a
Despite playing the entire second half, Oxlade-Chamberlain had a negligible impact on the game and hardly touched the ball. It wasn’t an easy match in which to make your debut, but Klopp would surely have expected more from his most expensive player.
James Milner – 5
Milner came on for Wijnamdum and helped steady the ship slightly. He seemed to be everywhere on the pitch and helped win a free kick near City’s box. Again, a hard game to be subbed into.
Dominic Solanke – 5
Solanke put himself about well and showed some good composure up front for his age. Goes into the “at least he tried” category today.