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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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Liverpool top ‘group of death’ as they stroll past Spanish champions Atletico Madrid

Jurgen Klopp’s side got round two of their revenge on Atletico Madrid with one of the simplest games they will have this season.

The victory means that the group has already been won with two games to spare as Liverpool’s perfect Champions League run continues.

Diogo Jota set the tone after 13 minutes as he scored a header after a sublime cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Eight minutes later Sadio Mane got the second and it was Alexander-Arnold who got the assist again after a cross-shot.

After that Liverpool had control of the game and then Atletico Madrid had another red card just like in the reverse fixture as Felipe was given his marching orders.

In the second half it was like a possession training session as Diego Simeone knew his side had loss especially after Luis Suarez’s goal out of nothing was disallowed for offside.

Player ratings:

Alisson Becker: 6

One successful punch out from a corner. Had quite literally nothing to do not even a save which emphasised just how poor Atletico’s performance was.

Trent Alexander-Arnold: 9

The main creative force like he is every game. Liverpool’s system is starting to revolve around him. His awareness for the first goal was surreal as he looked up just before he received the ball from Jordan Henderson and put in a first time cross on Jota’s head. The second assist was slightly more fortunate as it appeared to be a shot, but Mane reacted well to ensure Alexander-Arnold got the assist. Flawless defensively too.

Joel Matip: 6

Unlucky to not get an assist in the second half after another famous silky run and lovely through ball to find Jota but he was just offside. Not shortly after that he missed a sitter from a corner as the ball fell to him six yards out and he lashed it wide. Ended up with a yellow card for a good challenge in injury time which he was understandably frustrated by.

Virgil Van Dijk: 8

Faultless but in all honestly had nothing to do. Suarez gave him nothing to worry about for the hour he was on the pitch. Won all his aerial duels highlighting the dominant performance. A long-range effort went just over the bar, would have been a screamer to take the roof off Anfield.

Kostas Tsimikas: 7

Strong battling with Kieran Tripper in the first half showing his defensive capabilities. Was very unfortunate to not get a couple of assists as he put two brilliant crosses on Jota’s head, and he was unable to convert both chances. Done himself no harm for the fight with Andy Robertson for the left-back position.

Fabinho: 7

Much stronger unit in midfield when he is in it which is obvious to everyone. Only played an hour which was pre-planned due to him only coming back from injury. Didn’t put a foot wrong.

Jordan Henderson: 7.5

Started the game really well making sure there was a high intensity to unsettle Simeone’s side. Was the glue on the righthand side with Mo Salah and Alexander-Arnold. Made a vital block to deny Yannick Carrasco getting a shot on target.  Much improved performance after the weekend.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 6

A well needed 78 minutes in the tank. Seemed to have worked on being part of the midfield unit as he was more much disciplined compared to the Brighton game. Came very close to getting a couple of goals with two efforts being dragged wide. Highlight of the game was when he shieled off three players in the corner showing off his strength and skill. 

Mo Salah: 6

Had Mario Hermoso on strings yet again but his decision making wasn’t up to his usual standards. Hesitated in a couple of attacking scenarios. Should have slipped Jota in on goal in the first half but ended up losing the ball. Went through on goal in the second half but hit the ball straight at Jan Oblak. In the last 15 minutes he was just teasing all the defenders to entertain the buzzing Anfield crowd.

Diogo Jota: 6

Fantastic first goal showing his poacher instincts. Should realistically have had a hat-trick after missing another two headed chances after two crosses from Tsimikas. Relentless in his pressing.

Sadio Mane: 7

Started the second goal and finished it. Great strength to shrug off his man and find Alexander-Arnold. His shot found him in the box and he was able to adjust his body in time to tuck it past Oblak with his left foot. Tormented the whole backline for the entirety of the first 45 minutes. Subbed off at half-time due to fear he would be given a second yellow as the referee was loving his cards in the first half. 

Substitutions:

Roberto Firmino (Sadio Mane 45): 3

Quietly effective when he came on did not have any attempts though. Unfortunately came off injured half-an-hour into his cameo which will be a concern for Jurgen Klopp.

Thiago Alcantara (Fabinho 59): 5

Helped control the game over in the middle of the park. A relief to see him back on the pitch after a long time out with injury. Gave away the ball sloppily which led to Atletico getting a big chance in the second half. Some aesthetically pleasing passes as always.

Divock Origi (Roberto Firmino 78): 3

Main highlight was the shot from around 35 yards out which went flying over. Game was already won when he came on but he was still a handful for the 12 minutes on the pitch.

Takumi Minamino (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 78): 3

Game was already won when he entered the frame. Lively cameo though and was interesting to see him in midfield as he could be a viable option if the injuries continue to pile up.

Nat Phillips (Trent Alexander-Arnold 90): N/A

Came on at right-back for 30 seconds and did not touch the ball.

READ MORE: Liverpool’s unbeaten season remains just intact thanks to Alisson heroics against Brighton

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