Liverpool 2-0 Union Saint Gilloise
Europa League (2), Anfield
October 5, 2023
Goals: Gravenberch 43′, Jota 90+2
Alisson – 6 (out of 10)
A surprise starter due to Caoimhin Kelleher‘s injury; the Reds’ No.1 didn’t have much to do in the first half and so was perhaps bored when he raced out of his box and got nowhere near the ball – thankfully it wasn’t costly, and neither was when he missed a punch and catch after half-time.
Maybe Ali just doesn’t really care about the cups, but he has his centre-backs to thank on more than one occasion, Quansah bailing him out after a fumble from a corner.
Finally made a good stop deep in stoppage time.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7
Some lovely pinged passes from deep and a bit better in terms of sharpness, changing the speed of Liverpool’s play with quick bursts past his man on occasions.
Led the counter and took the initial shot which led to the opener before the break. Played an hour on his first start back – and his third time as captain from the start.
Ibrahima Konate – 7
His first notable involvement came right before half time when he had to speed back past Alisson and clear a clipped shot before it bounced into the net. A minute later his power was on show too as he wrestled a dangerous ball away from the Union forward to win a free-kick.
Well-timed tackle after the restart in the box and showed recovery pace a couple more times against counters.
Jarell Quansah – 8 – Man of the Match
Must think professional football is an absolute breeze – never looks troubled, passes out really intelligently and with conviction into midfield, not afraid to use either foot and reacted quickly to clear a ball off the line that Alisson dropped towards goal.
A really good battle with Kevin Rodriguez let us see some actual defensive traits for almost the first time – he did well.
Was playing for Bristol Rovers earlier this year, now starting in Europe for Liverpool, impressive!
Kostas Tsimikas – 7
A couple of good early crosses and set pieces, plus a host of overlapping runs which didn’t always see him fed the ball.
Defensively a couple of minor issues but nothing too worrisome and contributed plenty to the build-up – a fairly standard Tsimikas showing all around in truth, other than a 25-yard right-footed shot which was somewhat outside the norm!
Wataru Endo – 6
Not enormously progressive with his passing but picked the ball up in some nice areas between the lines and made sure he retained possession.
Nothing overly fancy, nothing particularly wrong, maybe didn’t do enough to really stand out but looks to be getting slightly more up to speed with the required tempo.
Harvey Elliott – 8
Despite some inconsistent game time at the start of this season, Elliott really does look in decent form and he thrived in the spaces afforded to the midfield in the first half here.
Two powerful runs forward with the ball created openings for the team and he was happy to switch up the channels too, not just sit on the right.
Played with plenty of aggression and intent, real work rate and forward-thinking with his passing. Quieter second half but still a good showing. Might be unfortunate to not start on Sunday but was one of our better players here.
Ryan Gravenberch – 8
A really bright start, winning possession and skipping past challenges, then battered in a ferocious shot which led to a disallowed goal. Before half-time he opened his account from the Reds with the easiest he’s likely to get in his whole time here, a three-yard tap-in after the ‘keeper spilled the ball.
That was his first club goal since August last season, for the record, and he looked extremely pleased indeed. Almost curled in a second on the hour mark.
Goal aside, by our reckoning he’s put himself in pole position to fill the void left by the suspended Curtis Jones this weekend, but only just ahead of Elliott.
Mohamed Salah – 7
Should have scored an early one-on-one, well saved but a predictable shot.
Great movement and speed made him impossible to mark and he teed up chances for Darwin and opened up the defence for two or three more chances elsewhere, too.
Didn’t see another chance fall his way and subbed at the break in preparation for the weekend.
Darwin Nunez – 6
Followed in well but was offside for his ‘goal’ on ten, then can’t possibly have missed his next chance on 17′, except we’ve watched the replay ten times and he does indeed seem to not score it.
Was always busy and just made constant, relentless runs behind the defence and in the channels, but you just want him to put the whole package together on a more regular basis. Still, saving it for Brighton, hey…
Diogo Jota – 7
The quietest of the front three in the first half, fairly neat but on the fringes of most of the Reds’ best work.
Had a header tipped over after half-time in his best moment; every game he just looks more like a penalty box poacher who has the movement and ability to score, but outside the box is ponderous and lacking the acceleration to beat a man or connect too consistently with his teammates.
Showed exactly all that in stoppage time: couldn’t hold the ball up on the halfway line but was still there in the penalty box to finish off the most inaccurate, fortunate counter-attack of the night with a good finish!
Alexis Mac Allister (on for Endo, 46′) – 7 – On to face his brother for the first time and was largely good, defensively and in possession.
Curtis Jones (on for Salah, 46′) – 7 – Got a run-out since he’s now suspended domestically but didn’t impact too much from the right.
Luis Diaz (on for Nunez, 46′) – 6 – Looked dangerous a couple of times and usually a decent outlet but it’s not quite Diaz’s moment right now after a great start to the season. Hit the post late on but was offside.
Joe Gomez (on for Alexander-Arnold, 62′) – 6 – Decent showing. One great cross, a couple of good challenges.
Dominik Szoboszlai (on for Gravenberch, 78′) – n/a – Not sure he was needed to see the game out but maybe it keeps his sharpness topped up.
Subs not used: Mrozek, Jaros, Van Dijk, Matip, Robertson, Chambers, Doak
Jurgen Klopp – 9
Went somewhat strong for the starting lineup and was rewarded with a far more enterprising start to proceedings.
Clearly stuck to a pre-designed plan, too, with three subs at the break and Trent getting an hour to keep a host of players involved but fresh ahead of the weekend game with Brighton.
Considering a few injuries and suspensions have mounted up, this was pretty decent and risk-free rotation from the boss in a game we were never in danger of not winning, in truth.
Two games down in Europe, six points on the board and – hopefully – the bulk of the squad ready to go for the bigger game at the weekend.
He wasn’t overly happy with the performance by the looks of things in the second half but it’s not really Jurgen’s fault we didn’t take three decent chances to put the game out of reach.