Liverpool went one step closer to qualifying for the Champions League with a 2-1 victory over Hoffenheim in the first leg of their playoff contest.
It was a gutsy performance from the Reds following their 3-3 draw against Watford on the opening weekend of the Premier League.
Goals from Trent Alexander-Arnold and James Milner were enough to see them cross the line and they will go into the clash at Anfield next week with a crucial lead in the European play-off.
Simon Mignolet 8 – The Reds’ goalkeeper kept his place in the starting XI and it was justified after he saved a penalty and produced a crucial save in both half. He wasn’t troubled too much on set pieces but it could have been a very different scoreline if it wasn’t for those crucial stops.
Trent Alexander-Arnold 9 – The youngster was absolutely sensational. He produced a strong defensive display at right-back and scored his first goal for the club in only his first start in a European match. It was some goal too! He was easily Liverpool’s man of the match.
Joel Matip 5 – Alongside Lovren, Matip didn’t look completely composed. Hoffenheim were able to break through the centre on occasions and Liverpool were lucky not to concede in the first half. We’ll need better performances from him this season.
Dejan Lovren 4 – The centre-back looked shaky again and he was all over the place when he conceded the penalty. He was just as poor in the second half and he missed two chances to score at the other end with his head. Not a good performance from the defender.
Alberto Moreno 4 – Another poor display in defence. He looked out of place for the entire game and Hoffenheim enjoyed lots of space on the right-hand side. Lovren didn’t help him much but if he is staying at left-back this season, Liverpool will struggle.
Jordan Henderson 5 – The skipper gave the ball away cheaply a few times and one of those led to a chance for Hoffenheim in the first half. He didn’t get much opportunity to get his head up while on the ball and was substituted after an hour for goal-scorer James Milner.
Emre Can 6 – The German was fairly quiet throughout the game but he proved strong at holding the ball up and did his duties fairly okay defensively. He did give away a cheap free-kick in the second-half though and he didn’t offer much creativity going forward from midfield.
Georginio Wijnaldum 6 – Gini was probably one of the brighter midfielders after a disappointing display against Watford. He had a very quiet first half but he grew into the game more after the break and looked to play in the full-backs.
Mohamed Salah 6 – The Egyptian was constantly on the move, making runs in behind the defence and looking to get on the end of balls in the box. He didn’t make the most of his chances though and he didn’t have the same influence he has done throughout pre-season.
Sadio Mane 8 – He looked to beat players at every opportunity and usually succeeded. He was easily one of Liverpool’s best players and everything positive going forward came through him. Couldn’t take his chances though.
Roberto Firmino 6 – Bobby had to do plenty of work off the ball but he didn’t have too many opportunities to run at the defence. When he did, he got into some good positions but was unable to create much.
James Milner (62 mins) 8 – It was a good half an hour performance from the vice-captain in midfield and he was instrumental in the second goal as it was his cross which deflected into the back of the net.
Dominic Solanke (83 mins) – N/A
Marko Grujic (88 mins) – N/A