Ratings: Key creator steals show in comfortable Liverpool win over Atletico Madrid

Date published: Wednesday 3rd November 2021 9:55 - Samuel Bannister

Mohamed Salah, Joel Matip, Diogo Jota and Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrate

We rate the players after Liverpool earned a convincing 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League group stage to seal their progress to the Round of 16 with two games to spare.

Liverpool took the lead in the 13th minute after Diogo Jota headed in Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross after a bounce.

The right-back was the provider again for the second goal, which Sadio Mane diverted in in the 21st minute.

Things went from bad to worse for Atletico when Felipe received a red card in the 38th minute. The challenge itself seemed only worthy of a yellow on first viewing. But it was deemed to be violent conduct – and the defender didn’t help himself by refusing to acknowledge the referee. Just like in the reverse fixture, they were down to 10 men – and several other players were on yellows.

Liverpool remained the stronger side for the rest of the first half, entering the break with a 2-0 lead.

It didn’t take long for them to put the ball in the net again after the restart when Jota slotted home. However, VAR found he was narrowly offside.

A number of chances followed in quick succession. But it was Atletico who struck next when a Luis Suarez effort from outside the box was deflected in off Joel Matip. However, there was an offside beforehand, so it didn’t count.

Yet another disallowed goal came late on for Liverpool when Takumi Minamino smashed home. However, the whistle had already gone for a high foot from Jota.

In the end, the scoreline was the same as it had been at half-time. The tempo in the second half had been slower, with Liverpool’s players enjoying a comfortable victory.

Liverpool player ratings

Alisson Becker: Relatively untroubled, Alisson did not have many saves to make, but was tidy in his area. 6

Trent Alexander-Arnold: The architect of the opening goal with a delightful delivery and the second with another inwards pass, he was always ready to create. Defensively, he improved as time went on, standing out as one of the best on the pitch for his overall display. 9

Joel Matip: The centre-back played the pass that created the chance for Jota’s disallowed goal. In general, he was comfortable with his distribution and wasn’t in too much trouble defensively. 7

Virgil van Dijk: Acting as Liverpool’s first creator from the back, van Dijk’s range of passing was useful. In his primary task of defending, he was able to outmuscle opposition attackers comfortably. 8

Kostas Tsimikas: Establishing himself more and more as a capable deputy for Andy Robertson, Tsimikas was confident enough to get forwards. He didn’t always pick his pass, but was enough of a threat to warrant his inclusion. 7

Fabinho: Combative at the base of midfield, the Brazilian made his presence known early by taking charge in duels. He earned his rest when being withdrawn just before the hour mark. 7

Jordan Henderson: His final pass occasionally was wayward as he tried to stretch the play. Positionally, he did reasonably well to shut off Atletico’s angles of attack. 6

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: After a mixed opening few minutes, he settled into the pace of the game, showing good intensity on and off the ball. However, he was wasteful in possession on a couple of occasions and began to fade in the second half. Nevertheless, the midfielder managed to grit his teeth and shake off a knock in a good runout. 7

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with Sadio Mane

Mohamed Salah: Confidence high in a bright moment of his career, Salah enjoyed his dribbling and was a handful for the Atleti defence when he got his decision-making correct – which wasn’t always. The Egyptian won his individual battle with the Atletico full-back without too much stress. 7

Diogo Jota: His opening goal was one of the easiest he will score after the ball was put on a plate for him, but he impressed regardless with his ability to drift across the frontline and link up the attack. He will have been disappointed not to convert a couple of other aerial chances, though. 6

Sadio Mane: The player to most feel the physicality of the game for Liverpool, Mane was in the thick of the action in the first half, in which he picked up a yellow card and was then targeted by Atletico. He was taken off at half-time as a precaution. But having inspired the second goal with a bursting run and then getting the ball back to finish, his contribution to the game was positive. 6

Substitutes:

Roberto Firmino (on for Mane, half-time): The forward started to find pockets of space after his introduction, but had to be taken off himself due to injury. 6

Thiago Alcantara (on for Fabinho, 60 mins): Making his return after an injury layoff, the Spaniard showed signs of not quite being at match tempo when he gave the ball away to concede a chance. However, he began to build up a rhythm, which will come with more minutes. 6

Divock Origi (on for Firmino, 78 mins): N/A

Takumi Minamino (on for Oxlade-Chamberlain, 78 mins): N/A

Nat Phillips (on for Alexander-Arnold, 94 mins): N/A


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