Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal : Player Ratings
Liverpool sent a stern message to their fellow Premier League contenders with a free-flowing performance to destroy Arsenal at Anfield.
After a series of fluffed opportunities , Jurgen Klopp's side got the lead they deserved when false nine Roberto Firmino headed in unmarked from Joe Gomez's cross. The lead was soon doubled when Sadio Mane made a brilliant galloping run, before curling a low shot out of the reach of Petr Cech into the far bottom corner.
The second half saw no exchange of batons, as Liverpool continued their charge at a dis-organised and shaky Arsenal defensive line. Mo Salah punished Arsenal's tactic of leaving nobody in their own half during a corner, finding himself in a one-on-one situation with Petr Cech before coolly finding the back of the net with a low strike. Substitute Daniel Sturridge added more gloss to an utterly ruthless Liverpool display, losing his marker Laurent Koscielny to direct Salah's cross and score his first league goal of the campaign.
Here are the player ratings from a memorable game for Liverpool:-
Loris Karius - 5
Karius was selected instead of Simon Mignolet in goal, but his performance certainly didn't justify Klopp's decision. The German's tendency to dilly-dally on the ball under pressure from Welbeck could easily have backfired on another day. Thankfully for Liverpool and the Anfield faithful, Karius' nervousness with the ball at his feet didn't have any major bearing on the game.
Joe Gomez - 7.5
The young Gomez impressed massively at right-back, steaming forward and putting in quality crosses for the forwards to attack. It also helped his case that Bellerin was completely out of shape and allowed him the space on the wing to exploit.
Dejan Lovren - 7
Liverpool's supremacy in attack meant that Lovren didn't have much defending to do. However, each time Arsenal came forward with the ball, he kept his focus and ensured that the likes of Welbeck and Sanchez were denied a clear opportunity at goal.
Joel Matip - 7
Matip, like Lovren, had a relatively light shift at the back. He was solid whenever he needed to be, making interceptions and clearances to snap Arsenal's attacking pursuits - however rarely they were produced.
Alberto Moreno - 7.5
Moreno teamed up with Sadio Mane to devastating effect on the left flank, setting up the latter to make continuous inroads into the Arsenal box.
Jordan Henderson - 7
The skipper was an integral part of an entertaining Liverpool display, moving the ball around with purpose while helping win back possession from Xhaka, Ramsey and Coquelin in midfield to launch Liverpool on the offence.
Emre Can - 8
The German's fantastic start to the season continued against the Gunners, as he manouevred the ball across the edge of the box with pace and precision to keep Xhaka and Coquelin on their toes across the span of the game. His low crosses were perfect and quite literally, laid on a plate for his colleagues to finish.
Georginio Wijnaldum - 7.5
The Dutchman had a quietly effective game, dominating the midfield with a high pass precision rate and taking maximum advantage of Aaron Ramsey's lacklustre body-language to bring the ball into the attacking third.
Mo Salah - 8.5
The Egyptian seems to have already settled into Jurgen Klopp's attacking philosophy at Liverpool, making tireless runs down the right hand side and giving Arsenal's defenders no chance whatsoever of keeping him in check. Apart from a couple of missed chances to score earlier on, Salah had a terrific game and he capped it with a deserved goal after Arsenal left no bodies at the back to defend a counter attack from their corner. He also set up Daniel Sturridge to score the Reds' fourth and imprint a more definitive meaning to the scoreline.
Roberto Firmino - 8.5
Firmino plays the crucial role of a false nine in Jurgen Klopp's system and he was destructive at Anfield on Sunday. He was not just effective in the Arsenal penalty area with his pace and movement, but also from the middle of the pitch. He showed commitment to pick up the bits and pieces in midfield, lay the ball to either wing and subsequently make a forward run to add to a passing or crossing option for the wingers and full-backs. He began the attack which led to the fourth goal, makinga swift turn from what looked like a hopeless position in his own half and send Emre Can on his bike.
Sadio Mane - 8.5
Often dubbed as the Black Suarez, Mane provided a similarly stunning shift as Salah from the other wing. He was always superior to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in terms of pace and fleet-footedness, which allowed him oceans of space to approach the Arsenal defence from the wing. He did brilliantly to finish off a Liverpool counter-attack, rounding off Rob Holding and curling the ball into the far corner, giving Cech no chance.
Daniel Sturridge - 7.5
Sturridge came on to immediate effect, heading in from a Mo Salah cross to put Liverpool well and truly in the driver's seat.
James Milner - 6.5
Milner replaced Firmino to slow the game down and see Liverpool through to the final whistle.
Marko Grujic - N/A
Grujic was introduced late in the game.
Petr Cech - 6
Cech was probably the only Arsenal player to come out of the game with an air of credibility, making a host of saves to keep the scoreline down
Rob Holding - 4.5
Holding's inexperience showed against a ruthless Liverpool team, first playing assist-provider Gomez onside for the first goal before failing to stifle Sadio Mane for room to get his shot away and double the lead. His lapses while making defensive headers and clearances are a worrying sight for Arsenal fans.
Laurent Koscielny - 5
Making his first competitive appearance this season, Koscielny was unable to show any sort of leadership at the back against an unstoppable Liverpool force. He was hapless as wave after wave of Liverpool attacks continued to pepper his defence. He was found ball-watching as Sturridge ran away from him to meet Salah's cross and seal the points for Liverpool late in the game.
Nacho Monreal - 5
Like his fellow defenders, Monreal was left flustered by Liverpool's free-flowing style of play and could not cope with the pace of their frontmen. The likes of Salah and Firmino were easily able to make inroads from behind him.
Hector Bellerin - 4.5
Having been made to play out of position at left wing-back,Bellerin could arguably have played his worst game in an Arsenal shirt, giving Salah the freedom of Anfield on the wings and failing to provide any attacking threat. He was guilty of failing to clear his lines as the last man from an Arsenal corner, allowing Salah to go one-on-one with Petr Cech and coolly slot home to stretch Liverpool's advantage.
Granit Xhaka - 5
Xhaka continues to struggle in midfield, neither providing cover in front of his defence nor providing the pass to set up an attack. He was left horribly short-fetched against the intensity of Liverpool's midfield trio and should have done better to deny Joe Gomez from delivering his cross for Liverpool's opener.
Aaron Ramsey - 4
Ramsey had a shocking afternoon at Anfield, wandering about the pitch and not willing to get back into shape each time Arsenal lost the ball. He was hauled off at half-time.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - 5
Oxlade-Chamberlain was given a nightmare by Sadio Mane on the wing, unable to match the Senegalese for pace. The left wing-back position is not one the Englishman is comfortable with, and it showed on Sunday as Mane and Moreno were collectively and consistenty able to storm into the Arsenal penalty area from the left.
Mesut Ozil - 5.5
Ozil created a couple of half-chances but on a whole, it was yet another underwhelming display from the German against a title opponent. He was lazy on the ball - often losing it very softly - and hardly showed the desire to move the ball around and help Arsenal settle down in the game.
Alexis Sanchez - 6
If this is Alexis Sanchez's last ever game in an Arsenal shirt, he will end it on a highly disappointing note. He showed the intent and passion only in pockets, providing Welbeck with a promising opportunity early on and driving past Liverpool's defenders on his own, without much effect.
Danny Welbeck - 5
As a forward, Welbeck's finishing must be better than what it was at Anfield. He was expected to get his shot early in the game on target after being teed up by Alexis Sanchez. His pace on the counter attack was not utilized thanks to Liverpool's utterly dominant performance.
Francis Coquelin - 5.5
Coquelin was brought on at half-time to provide some stability in defensive midfield, but even that move by Wenger did not stop Liverpool from expressing themselves in attack.
Alexandre Lacazette - 5
The summer signing was sent on with half an hour remaining, but only managed to get a single shot away, which went harmlessly wide.
Olivier Giroud - 5
Giroud came into the fray alongside countryman Lacazette in an attempt to force an unlikely comeback, but even he was ineffective. A header which was directed over the crossbar was the aerially powerful striker's only meaningful contribution to the game.