Wednesday’s Matchday 5 Champions League action saw holders Liverpool face off against Napoli. The two sides were separated by a mere point at the top of the Group E standings ahead of the tie. Napoli entered the night having never won a Champions League game in England, but left with a crucial point that benefits them AND Red Bull Salzburg in Group E.
Here are my player rankings on an eventful night at Anfield.
ALLISON: (6) Left helpless by his backline, and couldn’t do much to prevent Mertens from scoring. The Brazilian had an uneventful evening, spending most of the night as a sweeper-keeper.
JOE GOMEZ: (4) Caught ball-watching during Napoli’s first goal. Couldn’t quite offer the attacking threat Alexander-Arnold possesses, and looked a frustrated figure all night. Gomez had a night to forget.
DEJAN LOVREN: (7) Strayed too deep to allow Mertens open space for Napoli’s first goal. Made amends with an unstoppable header to level the match at 1-1.
VIRGIL VAN DIJK: (6) Looked to have been fouled in the lead up to Napoli’s opener, but VAR ruled against his favor. Kept the Belgian forward quiet after the goal.
ANDREW ROBERTSON: (6) attacked Napoli’s right side more efficiently in the second half, despite constantly tussling with the opposition. Robertson couldn’t play his best football thanks to Napoli’s solidity at the back.
JORDAN HENDERSON: (6.5) controlled Liverpool’s midfield early in the first half but his teammates couldn’t capitalize off his distribution as the game went on.
FABINHO: (NR) Left the match in the 18th minute through injury.
JAMES MILNER: (8) looked the livelier of Liverpool’s midfield trio in the first half, constantly running up the field to link up with the attack.
MOHAMMED SALAH: (5.5) Had a quiet first half, thanks to Napoli’s double team. Saw more of the ball in the second half to little effect, but was unlucky not to win a penalty.
ROBERTO FIRMINO: (5) could’ve done better with a snapshot header in the second half. The Brazilian had a frustrating night.
SADIO MANE (6): Had a penalty call go against him for a dive in the first half. Mane provided a threat on the left hand side, only to get stifled by Koulibaly and co.
GEORGINIO WIJNALDUM: (5.5) Came on early in the first half to replace Fabinho. Had a quiet evening, and was reduced to potshots all night.
ALEX OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN: (7) looked lively from the jump after coming on for Joe Gomez, providing a spark off the bench.
TRENT-ALEXANDER ARNOLD: (6) came on for James Milner to provide a spark on the right hand side. Had limited impact on the game.
ALEX MERET: (6.5) Looked a commanding figure in the box in the first half. Nothing he could do to prevent Lovren’s header.
NIKOLA MAKSIMOVIC: (6) going up against Mane and Robertson’s attacks was a tough task for the Serbian, but he did well to provide cover.
KOSTAS MANOLAS: (7) did well to ride Liverpool’s pressure throughout the match, denying Firmino space to thrive
KALIDOU KOULIBALY: (8) cut out two pivotal final balls from Mane and Milner in the first half to preserve the 1-0 lead. Bailed out his goalkeeper to clear Firmino’s shot off the line in the 55th minute.
GIOVANNI DI LORENZO: (6.5) pressed well up the field against Robertson. Lucky not to concede a penalty after a risky challenge on Mane in the first half.
FABIAN RUIZ: (6.5) produced the move of the night with a cool 360. Did well to cut out Liverpool’s attacks but was guilty of giving the ball away on the counter.
ALLAN: (7) Napoli’s midfield general cut out multiple attacks by Liverpool in the first half. Got more into the thick of things with his physical play after the interval.
PIOTR ZIELINSKI: (6.5) worked hard all evening to protect his back-line, forming a great partnership with Allan to stifle Liverpool’s midfield.
MARIO RUI: (6.5) produced a disciplined display in a fiery match, keeping out the likes of Firmino and Wijnaldum.
HIRVING LOZANO: (6) kept the Liverpool defenders on their toes with his constant pressing. Didn’t offer much on the attacking end.
DRIES MERTENS: (7) Timed his run perfectly to produce a tidy finish for the game’s first goal.
FERNANDO LLORENTE: (6) came on for Lozano in the second half as Napoli’s target man. Didn’t see much action on the field.
ELJIF ELMAS: (6) came on for Mertens in the 82nd minute to provide cover on Napoli’s right side.
AMIR YOUNES: (NR) came on for Zielinski in the 85th minute. Couldn’t make much on an impact.
featured image credit BT Sport