Well, where do we start? Arsenal scored five goals at Anfield. Liverpool had a bunch of kids and a few experienced men on the pitch. This should never have ended like it did for the Gunners, but it was a tribute to the mentality Jurgen Klopp has built at this club. Liverpool’s mentality these days just does not allow them to give up, and it was an outstanding finish to what can only be described as a mad night at Anfield.
We went 1-0 up, then went down 3-1, then James Milner scored a penalty, then Milner gifted Arsenal a goal to make it 4-2. Oxlade-Chamberlain and Origi cracked two thunderbolts to make it 4-4. Joe Willock cracked in a thunderbolt of his own to make it 5-4. Then in the last minute of stoppage time, Neco Williams put in a lovely cross, for Origi to volley home his second of the night, and take it to penalties, where the decisive moment came from Caoimhin Kelleher saving Dani Ceballos’s strike.
So, how did each player fare?
Caoimhin Kelleher – 7/10
Super save off Ceballos’s penalty, guessed right for most of the others as well. Unlucky to see a good first half save put in on the rebound by an offside Torreira. Needn’t have touched the ball, when he palmed straight to Martinelli for Arsenal’s second.
Neco Williams – 8/10
17 years old. Liverpool debut. Under the Anfield lights. Doesn’t get better, does it? Well, if you’re Neco, it does. You assist a last-minute equaliser as well. A super performance from the right-back. Strong in possession, loves to get forward, and looked alright defensively against Saka as well.
Joe Gomez – 5/10
His form is a big concern. Poor marking allowed Arsenal their first three goals, even if one of them was offside. Gomez needed to show calmness as the experienced hand in defence, but instead went about creating his own problems.
Sepp van den Berg – 5/10
Not too dissimilar to Gomez. It’s clear the big Dutchman isn’t quite ready for the rigours of first-team football yet. Will be much the better for tonight’s experience though.
James Milner – 6/10
Poor and uncharacteristic to gift Arsenal a goal. Calm and very characteristic in slotting two penalties on the night.
Adam Lallana – 5/10
Was given a tough night by Mesut Ozil, as he started in the no.6 role. He started off alright, but gave the ball away way too much as the game went on. Super penalty in the shootout.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 7/10
Didn’t do much for most of his stay on the pitch, but had two decisive moments nonetheless. Mustafi turned Chamberlain’s cross into his own net, and then Ox got one even better than the goal at Genk, with a thunderbolt.
Naby Keita – 4/10
Poor. Anonymous. Was a game there for him to take by the scruff of the neck but it bypassed him. Concerns after he went straight down the tunnel holding his groin.
Harvey Elliott – 6/10
All action. Chased down every ball. Won a penalty (albeit it looked like a dive). Like a lot of the kids, will be so much better for the experience, and just having been part of a night like that.
Divock Origi – 8/10
Like Chamberlain, he didn’t have a big impact in general, but had two decisive moments, with two very good finishes. And a third in the shootout.
Rhian Brewster – 6/10
Worked hard. Could have done better when he got the ball. Made no mistake after he showed bottle to take a penalty.
Curtis Jones – 9/10
Came on immediately after Arsenal scored their fourth and changed the game. He takes up intelligent spaces, manipulates the ball superbly, sees passes and plays them crisply. And also takes pressure penalties and scores them.
Pedro Chirivella – 6/10
Did well after replacing Chamberlain. Calmed things down by recycling the ball well in midfield.