Liverpool Fc beat FC Midtjylland 2-0 thanks to the Goals from Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah. The result meant that Liverpool Fc (The Reds) top the Champions League 2020-21 Group D, after Atalanta BC drew 2-2 in their Home Match against AFC Ajax.
With both Virgil Van Dijk and Joël Matip out injured due to knee and thigh injuries respectively, Fabinho was again lined up in the heart of the defence alongside Joe Gomez.
The Front 3 of Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah were named on the bench. The Fearsome Trio started in the last Saturday Premier League Home Match against Sheffield United Fc.
Their absence was quite telling. Despite the dominance in possession, the Reds could not manage a single Goal on Target in the entire First Half.
Van Dijk absence was particularly felt as poor passing particularly Cross-field diagonals out of defence were often overhit especially by Joe Gomez.
The visitors even threatened to score so early in the First Half. In the 2nd minute, after a neat assist from Alexander Scholz was met by Andres Dreyer but his shot was brilliantly denied by Alisson Becker.
The Reds Defence became further depleted as Fabinho seemed to pull up in the 29th minute and the Brazilian was replaced by the young Rhys Williams in the 30th minute.
Whatever maybe the plan of the visitors to disrupt the Reds attacking rhythm, it seemed to have worked even though 3 of their Players picked up Yellow Cards during the First Half. The First Half ended 0-0 with the Visitors looking more satisfied.
Before the Second Half began, Georginio Wijnaldum replaced Captain Jordan Henderson perhaps with the view of playing him as a Makeshift Centre Back for the upcoming Premier League Home Match against West Ham Fc.
The Reds finally broke the Deadlock in the 55th minute as Xherdan Shaqiri sneaked the ball past the defenders on to Trent Alexander-Arnold. The young Englishman then slid the ball neatly which was met by Diogo Jota and he tapped the ball into the net to score the Club’s 10,000th Goal in all Competitions, since its inception.
With the view of increasing the attacking tempo, Mané and Salah were brought on in the 60th minute in place of Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi.
The Visitors looked to level the score in the 77th minute as Frank Ogochukwu Onyeka crossed to Evander but the ball went to the left side of the post.
Later, Firmino was introduced to replace Jota in the 81st minute as the Reds were searching for the Goal that could seal the Game.
Firmino had the golden opportunity to kill the game off as Alexander-Arnold laid the ball in the platter for the Brazilian in the centre of the box but struck the ball too high.
Finally, deep into the Stoppage Time (90+1 minute), Paulinho drew a foul on Salah and conceded the penalty. The Egyptian struck the ball in to the bottom right corner of the net to seal the match.
Reds Team Performance Ratings
Liverpool (4-3-3 Formation)
Alisson Becker – 8: The Brazilian was at his usual best. Calm and snuffed out the danger. Made brilliant saves to keep the Reds in the game.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7: After Fabinho’s injury, the young Englishman stepped up his game and played much better particularly in the Second Half. On another day, could have had 2 assists to his name.
Fabinho – N/A: Unfortunately pulled his leg and could not continue. The Reds Defences are already severely depleted and the Brazilian’s injury is a major worry for the Reds.
Joe Gomez – 7: Wayward passes and some of his long diagonal passes missed the intended Reds Players. Was alert to the danger and defended resolutely.
Andrew Robertson – 7: Continued with his impressive performances. Defended well and his attacking became much sharper after the Second Half.
James Milner – 7: The Veteran stuck to his task. Shielded the defence and passed the ball with intent.
Jordan Henderson – 7: The Captain was one of the few bright spots in the First Half. Led the team brilliantly with fine crosses and quick passes.
Xherdan Shaqiri – 8: The Swiss played a near perfect game and did not put a foot wrong. His pass to Alexander-Arnold in the Second Half eventually resulted in the 10,000th Goal for the Reds.
Divock Origi – 4: The Belgian is clearly showing why he is not shown enough faith. Very poor performance. Misplaced passes and poor link-up with Jota and Minamino. The Reds looked toothless with Origi in the attack.
Takumi Minamino – 6: Did a decent job as the Japanese International attacked with Intent. His finishing though was not up to the mark.
Diogo Jota – 7: After a quiet First Half, improved much better in the Second Half and scored the Club’s 10,000th Goal. The young Portuguese is beginning to prove his worth.
Rhys Williams – 8: The youngster was brought into the game very early on. Did a commendable job. Stayed calm and kept the Visitors attack at bay. He could be perhaps another Van Djik in the making.
Georginio Wijnaldum – 7: Kept things simple by passing the ball quickly to the forwards and intercept the passes from the oppositiom.
Mohamed Salah – 7: Drew the foul and scored the penalty. The Visitors simply found it difficult to contain the Egyptian.
Sadio Mané – 6: Quiet Game and did not make a major impact but helped the Reds to increase the attacking tempo.
Roberto Firmino – N/A: Brought on to replace Jota as the Reds were in search of the goal that could seal the match. The Brazilian missed the golden opportunity to seal the game for the Reds.
Jürgen Klopp – 8: The injury of Fabinho was the last thing the German Coach needed. The mounting Defensive Crisis is beginning to put a heavy toll on an already injury stricken side.
With only Joe Gomez remaining as recognized Senior Defender, Klopp might seriously consider lining up Captain Henderson alongside Gomez in the upcoming Premier League Home Match against West Ham United Fc.
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