Liverpool vs Arsenal Player Ratings as Arsenal stay top after pulsating draw at Anfield


Arsenal remain top of the Premier League at Christmas after an entertaining 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Anfield.

Despite the cauldron of noise at Anfield, the visitors got off to an electric start in their top flight as Gabriel Magalhães headed home a free-kick past Alisson to give the visitors a 0-1 lead after just four minutes.

Liverpool got their desserts just before the 30th minute after VAR rejected a penalty shout for Martin Ødegaard’s ball in the box. Trent Alexander-Arnold fed a lovely ball past Oleksandr Zinchenko for Mohamed Salah, who skinned the Ukrainian and smashed a brutal strike past David Ray’s near post into the top right corner to make it 1-1.

Liverpool were then forced into an early substitution in bizarre circumstances after Konstantinos Tsimikas collided with Jürgen Klopp on the touchline and was replaced by Joe Gomez after being ruled unfit to continue.

Arsenal should have taken the lead just four minutes before the break when Gabriel Martinelli failed to hit the target despite Alisson standing in no man’s land. Bukayo Saka was played through on goal and put the ball over the keeper, but he couldn’t get a shot in before Martinelli came on as a substitute.

The second half started in the same rhythm. Both sides went from start to finish, attacking and then trying to claw back, but neither team could create the clear-cut chance they craved.

It took until the 72nd minute for that chance to come and go Liverpool’s way. The Reds countered Arsenal after Ødegaard and Zinchenko fell over on the halfway line, leaving Liverpool five-on-one with Salah on target. The Egyptian played a last-second pass to Alexandre-Arnold and just when it looked like the net would ripple, it instead rattled the crossbar to save Arsenal blushes.

Both sides continued to push for that much-coveted winner, but neither could produce it, meaning the spoils were shared.

The draw sees Arsenal stay top of the Premier League and means Liverpool have climbed back above Aston Villa into second place.

Liverpool player ratings

GK: Alisson – 6/10 – Indecisive for the opening goal but did his best to make up for it with a handful of impressive saves.

RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7/10 – Tried to play plenty of outrageous long balls. Didn’t all come off but his stunning assist for Salah’s equaliser was the perfect example of why he kept trying.

CB: Ibrahima Konate – 8/10 – Caught in a poor position for the early goal but responded with an enormous performance which saw him bully Martinelli for large periods of the game.

CB: Virgil van Dijk – 7/10 – Great positioning to get out and compete with Saka time and time again. A really composed, authoritative performance.

LB: Kostas Tsimikas – 6/10 – Appeared to suffer a serious shoulder injury in a collision with Klopp. Pretty comical before it became apparent he was actually hurt.

DM: Wataru Endo – 8/10 – A really classy performance at the base of midfield. Probably his best outing in a Liverpool shirt.

CM: Dominik Szoboszlai – 5/10 – Another quiet performance from the Hungary international. Really struggled to get involved and made a handful of inexplicably poor passes.

CM: Curtis Jones – 6/10 – Looked comfortable and composed at both ends of the pitch. Didn’t really stand out but simply did his job.

RW: Mohamed Salah – 7/10 – Mauled Zinchenko for the equaliser. Another emphatic performance from Salah.

ST: Cody Gakpo – 4/10 – Barely involved in Liverpool’s moves forward. Struggled up against Saliba and Gabriel, who dealt with the Dutchman with real ease.

LW: Luis Diaz – 5/10 – Too predictable. Arsenal quickly realised he was only trying to cut inside and had very few issues stopping him.

SUB: Joe Gomez (35′ for Tsimikas) – 8/10 – Dealt well with Saka but was equally impactful in attack. Could have easily scored once or twice.

SUB: Darwin Nunez (68′ for Gakpo) – 6/10

SUB: Ryan Gravenberch (68′ for Jones) – 5/10

SUB: Harvey Elliott (68′ for Diaz) – 6/10

Arsenal player ratings

GK: David Raya – 6/10 – Couldn’t do much about Salah’s goal but made a couple of smart saves as the clock ticked on.

RB: Ben White – 5/10 – A humiliating dive to try and mask a poor pass in the first half. Didn’t really seem switched on.

CB: William Saliba – 7/10 – Barely troubled by Gakpo and was always on hand to help out his full-backs against Liverpool’s tricky wingers.

CB: Gabriel – 7/10 – Similarly impactful defensively but with the added bonus of an early goal.

LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko – 4/10 – Had a torrid time up against Salah. Made the wrong decision for the equaliser and was fortunate not to hand the Liverpool star an extra goal or two along the way.

DM: Declan Rice – 7/10 – Had his work cut out for him bailing Zinchenko out but always seemed to find himself in the right place. A really intelligent performance.

CM: Martin Odegaard – 5/10 – Set up Gabriel’s goal from a free-kick but was nowhere near good enough for the remainder of the game. Found space hard to come by but failed to make the most of possession anyway.

CM: Kai Havertz – 5/10 – Shied away from a few challenges early on and struggled to really impact the game. Booked and suspended for the West Ham match.

RW: Bukayo Saka – 5/10 – The occasional bright moment but never really looked like doing anything of note. Really disappointing.

ST: Gabriel Jesus – 6/10 – Some outstanding work rate with his press. Absolutely gave everything to try and help his team in the first half, but saw his impact fade after the break.

LW: Gabriel Martinelli – 4/10 – Another really poor game from Martinelli. Failed to offer any sort of spark for Arsenal’s attack.

SUB: Leandro Trossard (68′ for Martinelli) – 5/10

SUB: Eddie Nketiah (77′ for Jesus) – 5/10

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