Liverpool went three points clear at the top of the Premier League, at least provisionally, as they thumped Cardiff City 4-1 at Anfield. The Reds didn’t really have to get out of second gear, once Mo Salah put them in front in the 10th minute. Sadio Mane scored after half-time to put the Reds in command.
Calum Paterson gave Cardiff a lifeline with a goal off of the Bluebirds’ only touch in the Reds’ box. But any fears were laid to rest as late goals from Xherdan Shaqiri and Mane ensured an easy victory.
Here’s how each player fared.
ALISSON BECKER – 6/10
Cardiff had one touch of the ball in the Liverpool box. That was Paterson’s touch to put the ball in the back of the net. That is the measure of how little Alisson had to do in the Liverpool goal.
TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD – 6/10
He had little to do defensively, as Josh Murphy doubled up as a left-back for Cardiff. Trent’s balls into the box were testing, as they always are. It was his cross that caused confusion in the Cardiff box, leading up to Salah’s opener.
VIRGIL VAN DIJK – 6/10
He was imperious when he had to be. He didn’t give Paterson a sniff in the air. A little unlucky that Hoilett’s cross ricocheted off him into the path of Paterson for the Cardiff goal.
DEJAN LOVREN – 6/10
Like Van Dijk, he had very little to do. But for the Cardiff goal, he is one of those to be held at fault. As soon as the ball deflected off Van Dijk, Lovren switched off and allowed Paterson to make the run across him.
ALBERTO MORENO – 5/10
He should’ve done a lot better going forward, where he was a little too conservative given the nature of the opponents. He was also at fault for the Cardiff goal, jumping into the tackle a little too early, and not tracking Hoilett’s run. He put in one delightful cross towards the end of the first half that Lallana should’ve scored.
FABINHO – 6/10
He failed to reach the heights of his midweek performance, but he was tidy. He was also critical in winning the ball back for Liverpool’s fourth goal.
GINI WIJNALDUM – 6/10
Solid, if unspectacular. Wijnaldum’s good run of form has continued as he kept things ticking in midfield and didn’t make too many mistakes.
ADAM LALLANA – 5/10
There were a decent number of good touches in the first half, but it was largely another underwhelming performance from Lallana. He had a brilliant chance to score right on the stroke of half-time, but his header was cleared off the line. He’s done his chances of more playing time absolutely no good though.
ROBERTO FIRMINO – 4/10
That was a poor performance from Firmino. Defensively, he was still the same Firmino that we all expect to see. But his offensive play was awful. The passing was poor, the dribbling was poor, the decision-making was poor. He’ll forget that performance in a hurry.
SADIO MANE – 8/10
He was largely a peripheral figure in the first half and didn’t use his pace enough. Eventually, he decided not to rest on ceremonies and absolutely smashed a left-footed shot past Etheridge for his first league goal since September 1st. It was an awesome finish to grab his second of the game too.
MOHAMED SALAH – 8/10
All the talk of his bad form can now take a break. He got his goal early in the game, he got himself two assists and he gave Sol Bamba a tough time throughout the game.
XHERDAN SHAQIRI – 7/10
After he came on to replace Lallana on the hour mark, he freshened Liverpool up. He made a difference as it seemed the Reds had gone into a slumber at the start of the second half. It was a fabulously taken goal as well, as he opened his Reds account.
JAMES MILNER – N/A
Came on to take the armband from Van Dijk.