Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal: Player ratings from an embarrassing defeat

Written by Edward Pitt

November 21, 2021

Arsenal have often struggled in recent years against Liverpool, especially at Anfield, and last night was no different.

It was partly expected; Arteta wants to do something similar to what Pep has done at Man City. Liverpool are the only team that can make that City side look second best at times, so it was never going to be good for us.

However, I appreciate the fact that we were brave. Trying to play out from the back and through the lines against a team like Liverpool is always risky. We could have put 5 at the back and just sat off if we wanted to save some face, but Arteta wants to make this Arsenal side a proper side. You cannot make this a team which dominates sides like Liverpool if you don’t trust your players to play bravely against them.

The first 30 minutes were promising. We created a couple of half chances and limited Liverpool to virtually nothing. We were controlling their press effectively and pressing quite smartly ourselves. Around the half-hour mark, Arteta and Klopp got into a heated argument over a Sadio Mane foul which was not given (in fairness I think it was a foul). This completely changed the game it seemed; the atmosphere inside Anfield was flat to begin with but after that incident, the crowd was galvanized. They got a goal to make it 1-0 with a well-worked set-piece before halftime, and then it was a calamity of errors in the second half which saw Liverpool put 4 past us. Here are my player ratings:

RAMSDALE – 7/10: He keeps proving everyone wrong. I think he could have done slightly better on a couple of the goals, but he also made some sensational saves to keep it from becoming a rugby scoreline.

TOMIYASU – 7/10: Mane was really pumped up last night and I actually think for most of the game, Tomiyasu was getting the better of him. Defended really well and put in some decent crosses. The scoreline was by no means a reflection of his performance.

WHITE – 6/10: This was the most interesting test for White so far. He prides himself on being excellent at playing out from the back, but hasn’t had to do it yet against a team like Liverpool. Overall, I think he did it well. He knew when to run with it, when to play to feet or when to go long. Would have been a higher rating but he was prone to diving into challenges and did not deal well with the Liverpool attack running at them

GABRIEL – 6/10: He had a tough night; Tavares was struggling against Salah and Gabriel often had to cover for him which overall he did well. Overall, I don’t think the game was lost by our CB’s. They played as well as can be expected when we were subject to constant pressure like that.

TAVARES – 5/10: I did think it was strange KT was left on the bench. I understand that in Tierney’s absence Tavares has been really impressive, especially going forward, but he hasn’t faced a winger like Salah yet and it really shows. He was getting turned inside out a lot last night and giving the ball away carelessly, most notably gifting Jota Liverpool’s second goal. Overall, a night to forget for Nuno, but he is still young and can only learn from nights like this

PARTEY – 5/10: Whilst you can make excuses for some of our younger players crumbling in a game like this, you would expect better from a guy as experienced as Partey. But he was well off the pace; caught out of position a lot, untidy in possession and not brave enough receiving the ball off the defence. Normally, his strongest traits are the complete opposite. I can only think that he was maybe lacking sharpness having just returned from injury, cause we wasn’t up to scratch today.

LOKONGA – 4/10: A real horror show from Lokonga. He lost possession a lot and I didn’t see him win it back much either. This was his first experience of the Liverpool press and he was not up to it. A real passenger in the game and had to be replaced by Maitland Niles in the end. But again, like Tavares, he is still young and learning; last night can only improve him.

SAKA 6/10: Overall, despite the result, Saka looked quite decent. I thought he got the better of Tsimikas; he seemed to always be back to defend him when the LB bombed forward and was smart at getting in behind him on the counter attack. Saka just needs to become a bit more decisive in the final third and then he can really start winning games and killing off opponents.

SMITH ROWE – 5/10: Don’t hate me! I love the guy! But one of the reason why Tavares struggled was he was often on his own against Salah and Alexander Arnold, arguably the best winger/fullback combo in the world. Smith Rowe was often caught napping and not always tracking the forward run of Trent. In fairness, the RB does play effectively as a forward but it is Smith Rowe’s job nonetheless. I am also not convinced that the left side is his strongest position in this 4-4-2; it’s hard for him to get close to Lacazette which is how we create a lot of our chances

LACAZETTE – 7/10: Was the only senior player who showed their experience. On the few occasions, Arsenal actually did beat the press, he was the only player capable of keeping possession. He was actually quite effective at playing in the whole and then spreading the ball out wide on the counter attack. He did his job as you would usually expect him to

AUBA – 5/10: Perhaps a harsh rating but he was wasteful in possession. We didn’t create loads of chances but he did have moments where he was in behind and running at Matip off our left side. Yet, he didn’t turn any of those moments into a clear-cut chance, goal, or even a half-decent shot.

It was a big defeat, but it won’t define our season. We always knew it would be tough to go to Liverpool, try and go toe-to-toe, and not get pummeled. Time to evaluate the game, dust ourselves off and get back to winning ways next week.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons



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