Lovren costs Liverpool a goal but scores one to make up for it in 6/10 showing vs. Napoli
Liverpool still have work to do to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League after they drew 1-1 against Napoli at Anfield on Wednesday. Visiting forward Dries Mertens beat a flimsy-looking offside trap to volley home from a tight angle to put the Italians ahead in the first half, before Dejan Lovren out-jumped Mertens to meet a second-half corner and head home to seal a point.
It was a pretty dismal display by Liverpool’s high standards, but their ability to grind out a result, despite not being at their best, is a great habit to have.
Fabinho limped off with what looked like a knee injury, and the lack of midfield cohesion and drive in his absence will be a cause for concern if the Brazilian is out long term.
Manager rating out of 10
5 — Booked in first-half stoppage time for his over-zealous protestations following a foul on Sadio Mane, and Jurgen Klopp’s selection of James Milner and Jordan Henderson in the advanced midfield roles meant Liverpool lacked dynamism in the centre of the pitch.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 6 — It was an excellent finish by Mertens to open the scoring, but no goalkeeper likes to be beaten at his near post.
DF Joe Gomez, 5 — Started at right-back in place of Trent Alexander-Arnold, and the Reds missed the first-choice full-back’s attacking presence, while Gomez occasionally looked nervous and indecisive at the back. Taken off after 56 minutes for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
DF Dejan Lovren, 6 — A disastrous attempt at playing offside was clinically punished by a darting run and finish by Mertens for the game’s opening goal, but the Croatian redeemed himself in the second half with a towering header to restore parity.
DF Virgil van Dijk, 6 — Took a blow to the hip from goal scorer Mertens in the buildup to the opener, but was otherwise untroubled, and provided a threat in the opposition box.
DF Andy Robertson, 5 — A poor outing from the Scot, who must take some flack for the opener when he was ball-watching rather than retreating into the oceans of space in behind him, and the former Hull man was sloppy in possession in the opposition half. Booked for a needless shove in the closing stages.
MF Jordan Henderson, 6 — The Liverpool skipper put some decent crosses into the Napoli penalty area in the first half, before moving into the right-back role to make way for Oxlade-Chamberlain early in the second half.
MF James Milner, 6 — Had his side’s best first-half opening when he shot straight at the Napoli keeper following a slaloming run into the visitors’ penalty area, and it was the 33-year-old’s excellent corner that led to Lovren’s equaliser. Replaced by Alexander-Arnold for the final 13 minutes.
FW Mohamed Salah, 5 — The Egyptian had a poor first half in which he gave away possession on numerous occasions while flittering in and out of the game, and while he improved slightly in the second period, it never looked like being his day.
FW Roberto Firmino, 6 — Plenty of ingenuity from the Brazilian as he attempted to open up space for his attacking colleagues, but a deep midfield and narrow defence from Napoli meant he was starved of space. Denied a goal by a Kalidou Koulibaly goal-line clearance early in the second half.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 5 — Slotted into the holding midfield role following Fabinho’s injury, and the Dutchman was unable to really get into the game and make a telling impact. Should’ve slotted into a more advanced role.
MF Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 6 — Certainly gave his side a bit more pep in midfield, but didn’t make a substantial impact on proceedings.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, N/R — Slotted in to his usual right-back berth late on but couldn’t find the winner.