Liverpool became the first English team to win all six of their Champions League group stage matches by beating AC Milan 2-1 at the San Siro.
The Reds must have felt almost guilty as they crushed Milan’s Round of 16 dream even after making nine changes from the weekend’s win over Wolves.
Fikayo Tomori had put the hosts in front, only for Mohamed Salah and Divock Origi to smartly convert on the rebound either side of half time.
A damning indictment of Milan and Serie A or a glowing endorsement of Liverpool’s reserve ranks? Probably a bit of both.
Anyway, here’s how the Reds rated.
Alisson Becker – 7/10
Can’t really be criticised for Milan’s goal given the speed with which he was forced to react when Takumi Minamino failed to clear at the front post.
A slightly ropey moment under pressure from Junior Messias midway through the second half, but he then rushed out to deny the Brazilian and Franck Kessie as Milan pushed for an equaliser in the closing stages.
Neco Williams – 8/10
Another encouraging night’s work from Williams, building on his performance against Porto last time out. Defended diligently throughout the game, limiting the impact of a very good attacking full-back in Theo Hernandez when the Frenchman had the chance to get forward.
Moved to right wing when Joe Gomez was introduced on 64 minutes and produced his best delivery of the night for an unmarked Divock Origi, who could possibly have earned him an assist.
In the dying stages, he nipped in to win the ball back before the Naby Keita/Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain break.
He looks as accomplished as ever.
Nat Phillips – 9/10
That honestly bordered on a stunning performance when you consider that his only significant first-team minutes this season had come in the second half of a Carabao Cup tie against Preston.
Was well positioned to clear the danger on a number of occasions and also exhibited his passing range with lofted balls from his RCB berth to the left flank.
The highlight, of course, was his outrageous turn out of trouble in his own penalty area. Fitting really, on Ronaldinho’s former stage.
Ibrahima Konate – 9/10
One or two ever so slight mistakes at the start of the game, and maybe you could argue he switched off a little for the aforementioned Messias chance. But for the most part, Konte was immense, so much so that I’d have him as man of the match.
He seemed to be winning all of his duels, using his body expertly and dominating Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who got so frustrated that he ended up playfully throwing the 22-year-old to the floor.
There was also a perfectly-executed challenge to nick the ball from the feet of Kessie on the edge of the area two minutes from time.
Lastly, both Konate and Phillips deserve credit for their communication. They’d never played together before, but Liverpool’s defensive line was as good as it’s been all season.
Kostas Tsimikas – 7/10
Like Konate, he seemed to come out on top in all of his battles, and the stats prove it: 10 ground duels contested, eight won.
In a defensive sense, then, he didn’t put a foot wrong, but if you’re being greedy, you would have wanted a little more going forward. He wasn’t able to produce the kind of inviting crosses which have been feature of his outings so far this season.
Milan wanted a penalty for his nudge on Kessie, but there weren’t any grounds for VAR to get involved.
An assured European performance from Tsimikas. There can’t really be any doubts about him anymore.
Tyler Morton – 8/10
Largely a continuation of what we’ve seen already from 19-year-old Tyler Morton.
Held his own up against up players who are currently competing for the Scudetto, and was decisive and accurate in possession (seven of his eight long passes found a team-mate).
He was beaten by Tiemoue Bakayoko in the lead-up to the Kessie chance, but expectations have to be tempered. And even Fabinho tends to be second to the ball at least once a game.
Nearly slipped in Minamino through on goal in the final 10 minutes.
Ultimately, it’s hard to imagine Jurgen Klopp being anything but delighted.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 8/10
Started the game a little slowly but got better as it progressed. Great work for the goal as he beat Kessie, evaded Tonali and forced Mike Maignan to get down and make the save, with Salah steering home the seconds.
That was the best of his five attempts, three of which were blocked.
He also tracked back effectively and played some excellent passes.
There was a scare 20 minutes from the end when he had to receive treatment, but in most un-Ox fashion he was able to continue, allowing for the long-awaited resumption of the False 9 experiment.
His best moment at CF was his backheel 1-2 with Keita, and he might have had a penalty at the end of it.
Takumi Minamino – 6/10
The main culprit for the goal conceded, Minamino is unfortunately the only starter below a seven.
He didn’t look particularly well suited to the midfield role, and in fairness that might be why he’s featured there so rarely.
On this evidence, the 26-year-old doesn’t quite seem to have the passing range, defensive awareness or the physical strength to be an effective no. 8. A no. 10 in a 4-2-3-1? Maybe.
There were some neat flashes, like when he turned smartly into space and curled over the crossbar shortly after half time and when he slid a pass into Salah for a blocked shot around the hour mark.
I would have liked to see him play 90 minutes in the front three, to be honest.
Mohamed Salah – 8/10
Coming into the game, I knew he was on 19 goals, and yet I was still amazed when Darren Fletcher announced he’d hit the 20 mark. It’s 7 December.
I don’t need to say anymore about the difficulty of the finish.
For a lot of Reds, after he scored, it became a matter of getting him off the pitch as quickly as possible!
Divock Origi – 8/10
Debated giving him a seven but he directed that header superbly.
He hadn’t really impacted the game before that, aside from firing a shot straight at Maignan after cleverly working space for a shot half an hour in.
It wasn’t for the want of trying, though, as he repeatedly dropped into his own half to receive the ball.
He went close to bagging a second on 65 minutes with a reverse shot from the edge of the area, and he should have made Maignan work not long after when Williams picked him out unmarked.
Subbed off on 80 minutes. Should he start alongside Firmino and Jota in January?
Sadio Mane – 7/10
Was very much heading for a six before he earned himself an ‘FPL assist’ after pouncing on Tomori’s error.
He won the ball back high in the opposition’s final third again two minutes later, showcasing commendable but typical desire.
Thankfully substituted off on 64 minutes.
Joe Gomez – 6/10
Good to see him getting 25+ minutes after what must have been a frustrating spell back on the sidelines.
One slightly short pass to Fabinho put Liverpool in a bit of danger, but he defended pretty well in his RB berth.
Naby Keita – 6/10
Introduced at the same time as Gomez, progressed the play tidily and combined with Oxlade-Chamberlain for that chance in the final moments.
Gave away a free-kick in a reasonably dangerous position, though, so a six rather than a seven.
Fabinho – N/A
Erm I need something to write so I don’t finish the article with N/A…
Here we go, SofaScore tells me that he only had a 60% passing accuracy (3/5). Shocking.