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Winners & Losers

Salah's still the King! Liverpool winners, losers and ratings as Gomez silences Haaland and Milner rolls back the years in Man City win

2:27 AM SGT 17/10/22
Mohamed Salah Liverpool 2022-23
Liverpool's Egyptian King was the hero as Jurgen Klopp's side recorded a priceless 1-0 win over Manchester City at Anfield

Mohamed Salah still has the magic, Liverpool still have the minerals and the Premier League’s hottest rivalry is alive and kicking. What an afternoon this was at Anfield. Manchester City’s unbeaten start to the campaign is over, after Jurgen Klopp’s much-criticised Reds delivered a performance to ignite their season and send their supporters into raptures.

Salah was the matchwinner, scoring superbly at the Kop End, 14 minutes from time, to settle a frenetic, absorbing and often bad-tempered contest, which saw Klopp shown a red card and Pep Guardiola livid after a Phil Foden goal was ruled out by the VAR at 0-0. The Manchester City boss also said he was targeted with coins thrown from the home fans, while Liverpool issued a statement afterwards condemning the 'vile chants' emanating from the away end on a fraught, needly afternoon.

But when the dust settles, Liverpool will reflect on a display that had all the hallmarks of their best ones under Klopp. They were intense, they were aggressive, they defended superbly and they took the big chance when it came. To a man, they were terrific.

They may not be able to live with City over the course of a full season - they remain 10 points behind in the Premier League table - but they can still cause anyone problems when they play like this. Guardiola knew that beforehand, and what followed served only to prove him correct.

Reports of the Reds death, it seems, have been greatly exaggerated.

  • Mohamed Salah Liverpool 2022-23

    The Winners

    Mohamed Salah:

    We should have known that Liverpool's star man would have the last word, shouldn't we? All the build up had centred on the goalscoring genius at the other end, but while Erling Haaland drew a blank - only his second of the season - Salah left Anfield wearing a beaming smile and with his name ringing out around this famous old stadium. The matchwinner on the big stage, yet again. What a goal it was, too. Credit Alisson Becker for the assist, the goalkeeper spearing a long kick up to the Egyptian, but Salah still had so much to do. He did it. First there was the strength, holding off Joao Cancelo as he does so often. Then the touch, spinning 360 degrees to run clear. Then the finish. He'd missed an earlier one at the same end, denied by Ederson's fingertips, but not this one. Unerring is the word. Then came the noise. Wow, the noise. A celebration fit for the occasion. A goal fit to win any contest, but especially one like this. There had been gasps when, just a few minutes before the goal, Salah's number had appeared on the fourth official's board. Substituted? Now? No chance. Klopp called his main man over, corrected the error and Salah stayed on. How glad Liverpool are that he did.

    Joe Gomez:

    If Salah was the matchwinner, the Man of the Match must surely go to Gomez, who delivered one of his best performances in a Liverpool shirt. With Ibrahima Konate injured, the England international was moved to centre-back to partner Virgil van Dijk, with James Milner asked to fill in at right back once more. Liverpool fans were terrified, but they shouldn't have worried. Milner was superb, using all of his experience and aggression against Phil Foden, while Gomez was imperious. The 25-year-old is not always the most aggressive defender, but he stood up here. He played on the front foot, he read the game superbly, he never lost his concentration once and he played some superb, line-breaking passes to get his side on the front. Alongside him, Van Dijk looked back to his best. The Dutchman loves playing alongside Gomez, and the hug they shared at the end was one of a job superbly done. Was Gareth Southgate watching? He should have been. England have a few centre-backs to choose from, but not many of them could have delivered a showing like this, in a game like this, against an opponent like this. Bravo, Joe.

    James Milner:

    When will football learn to respect its elders? At 36, Milner remains the oldest swinger in town, but he rolled back the years here, stepping up yet again for his club in their hour of need. Always a reluctant full-back, he's always a whole-hearted one too. He was given a hospital pass here, asked to go in cold against Foden and Co, five weeks after his last start, in the Champions League at Napoli, had turned into a nightmare. Not here. Here he was brave, he was aggressive and he used his experience as he has done so often. He stayed on his feet, he went in tight when he could and he kept his composure all afternoon long amid the maelstrom. Liverpool fans won't want to see him at right-back there too often in the future, and Milner won't want to be there himself, if truth be told, but the veteran can be proud of his efforts today. Age is nothing but a number.

  • Pep Guardiola Manchester City 2022-23

    The Losers

    Diogo Jota:

    It wouldn't have been a Liverpool game without an injury, would it, and sadly it looks as though Jota is the latest man to add to the Reds' growing casualty list. The Portugal international, who worked his socks off all afternoon and missed a glorious chance to give his side the lead at the back post from Salah's clipped cross, went down in stoppage time as Liverpool launched a counter-attack, and looks, at first glance, like he'll be facing a spell on the sidelines. He needed a stretcher, which will have everyone seriously worried. Liverpool have big games coming up, and there's a World Cup on the horizon too. Fingers crossed it's not as serious as it looked.

    Pep Guardiola:

    Whatever you do, don't try to speak to Manchester City's manager tonight. Guardiola hates Anfield. A "bugger of a ground", he has called it in the past, and if you needed a reminder as to why he feels that way, then here it was. Even City, the great City. Erling Haaland's City, Kevin De Bruyne's City. Even they struggle when Anfield roars. Even they can't play the way they usually play. The champions were good for large spells, but nothing like their usual selves. They were rocked by Liverpool's speed and intensity, made mistakes they shouldn't have made, and got dragged into the theatre of the occasion. Guardiola certainly did. He was livid when Foden's goal was ruled out, turning to confront the Main Stand. It brought back memories of his meltdown here in 2019, although it was his opposite number, Klopp, who ended the game in the stands having been shown a red card. Back to the drawing board, it seems, for Pep. City have only won here once since 2003, and that came with an empty stadium. If that doesn't tell you something, nothing will.

  • James Milner Liverpool 2022-23

    Liverpool Ratings: Defence

    Alisson Becker (8/10):

    Safe hands when called upon, and another assist to add to his collection. The best in the business.

    James Milner (8/10):

    Given a hospital pass at right-back, he responded as Milner does; head down, get stuck in and play. He was superb against Foden. Not always winning the duel, but never exposed as we feared he might be, pre-match. A proper performance, from a proper player.

    Joe Gomez (9/10):

    Superb. As good a performance as he has ever delivered in a red shirt.

    Virgil van Dijk (8/10):

    Was back to his imperious best. Concentration levels immense, reading of the game top drawer and never once looked flustered.

    Andy Robertson (7/10):

    Brought aggression, concentration and energy, and nearly an opening goal in the first half. Played a big role in getting the crowd up, and though he had his work cut out against Cancelo and De Bruyne, he battled superbly.

  • Thiago Alcantara Liverpool 2022-23

    Midfield

    Fabinho (7/10):

    Another who looked back to something like his level, after a dip in form. Front footed, alert and reliable on the ball.

    Thiago Alcantara (7/10):

    Showed courage to get on the ball and try to get his side playing. Sometimes that led to risks, but that's how he plays. He worked tirelessly.

  • Harvey Elliott Liverpool 2022-23

    Attack

    Harvey Elliott (8/10):

    Handed a start after impressing at Rangers, he looked at home in the battle. Faultless on the ball and worked his tail off defensively. He is going to be a big player for Liverpool.

    Mohamed Salah (9/10):

    The matchwinner, yet again. Great work for his goal, which meant an earlier miss at the same end was well and truly forgotten. He was superb all day, keeping City's defence on pins whenever the ball went up to him.

    Diogo Jota (7/10):

    His energy was needed to keep the crowd involved. Won more tackles than any Liverpool player even if he lacked quality at times. Should have scored and left the field injured in stoppage time.

    Roberto Firmino (7/10):

    A couple of loose touches when he had the chance to launch dangerous attacks. Better in the second half, twice setting Salah up for chances.

  • Jurgen Klopp Liverpool 2022-23

    Subs & Manager

    Jordan Henderson (6/10):

    Came on and added legs, protecting Liverpool's lead with intensity.

    Darwin Nunez (6/10):

    Made a difference in terms of adding threat, but needed to release Salah for a golden chance, and might have played Carvalho in for another. Pleasing physicality.

    Fabio Carvalho (6/10):

    Came on and did well.

    Trent Alexander-Arnold (N/A):

    Almost put the seal on the win at the far post.

    Kostas Tsimikas (N/A):

    Only introduced for the final seconds.

    Jurgen Klopp (8/10):

    Got his team selection right although he had little room for manoeuvre. Had his side pumped up and it paid off. Subs were the right ones. Red card.