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Played
September 2, 2012 1:30 PM BST
Anfield — Liverpool
Referee:‬ H. Webb‎
Attendance:‬ 44932‎
 
 
 
   
 
 

Player Ratings: Liverpool 0-2 Arsenal

The Gunners' midfield base were superb while Santi Cazorla ran riot ahead of them, combining devastatingly with Lukas Podolski, but Steven Gerrard looked out of place for the Reds

By George Ankers

  • Pepe Reina
    61
    152
    2.00

    Pepe Reina

    Suspect again at the near post although Cazorla's strike was a belter. The Spaniard's kicking was poor and in general he looks much less reliable than the Reina that Liverpool fans have loved for so long.

  • Glen Johnson
    54
    122
    2.00

    Glen Johnson

    As complicit as Steven Gerrard in Podolski’s goal, following the German on his run into the final third but failing to do more than watch when he should have intervened.

  • José Enrique
    52
    118
    2.50

    José Enrique

    Did not contribute much with crosses going forward but battled well to keep out Giroud in a late second-half chance.

  • Daniel Agger
    63
    109
    2.00

    Daniel Agger

    If the Dane had met Gerrard’s 13th-minute corner as he really should have done then it could have been a different story for Liverpool. Handled Giroud well enough but, like Skrtel, struggled to deal with the likes of Cazorla on the counter.

  • Martin Skrtel
    57
    115
    2.50

    Martin Skrtel

    Caught out on the counter by Arsenal's schemers but kept a lid shepherded Giroud around with some authority.

  • Nuri Sahin
    80
    127
    2.00

    Nuri Sahin

    A little off the pace on his Liverpool debut, somewhat short of match fitness and struggling to make an impression against a supreme Arsenal midfield. Taken off after 65 minutes; we will see much more of him than this in a Reds shirt.

  • Steven Gerrard
    128
    178
    1.50

    Steven Gerrard Flop of the Match

    His terribly lazy pass ceded possession to Arsenal for their breakthrough goal and his set-pieces ranged from defence-testing to patience-testing. The Anfield hero has been below-par for some time and one wonders, with Brendan Rodgers so keen for quality on the ball, if his all-action style will be compatible with the boss’ vision for even the medium-term, with his pass completion well down compared to all of his midfield colleagues. The captain should have seen yellow at the very least, too, for a reckless rasping tackle on Vermaelen when his team's heads were down.

  • Joe Allen
    148
    79
    3.00

    Joe Allen

    Only the most occasional failure to find his target, the former Swansea City man was a superb passer as ever, though his colleagues around him failed to create anything with the possession that he supplied.

  • Raheem Sterling
    156
    74
    3.00

    Raheem Sterling

    Liverpool’s clearest first-half threat, gambling and running into dangerous positions. Rattled the post with a shot from a difficult angle and posed questions to Mertesacker.

  • Luis Suárez
    64
    142
    2.50

    Luis Suárez

    Spent too much time asking for penalties against Mertesacker rather than really pushing to expose his lack of pace as he had in the opening five minutes, but forced Mannone into a strong save in the second half.

  • Fabio Borini
    42
    137
    2.50

    Fabio Borini

    Apart from a snatched shot in the first five minutes, the forward was mostly occupied with tracking back and getting stuck in, at which he was game but not excessively competent. It is a surprise not to see the Italian used more centrally, given Luis Suarez’s habitual profligacy, and a poor cross from his unnatural position proved his last contribution before being sacrificed for Downing after 54 minutes.

Substitutions

  • Stewart Downing
    67
    102
    2.00

    Stewart Downing

    After replacing one of Liverpool's only two recognised strikers a greater attacking impact would have been desired from the winger but he was as unpenetrative as ever in his extended cameo.

  • Jonjo Shelvey
    111
    66
    2.50

    Jonjo Shelvey

    Made an impact off the bench, pushing forward to nearly get a goal back in the later stages, and looks more likely to fit into this midfield unit long-term than Gerrard.

  • Vito Mannone
    230
    37
    2.50

    Vito Mannone

    Few worries for the Italian, continuing to deputise for Wojciech Szczesny. One late shot from Shelvey that he could only parry but by that point Arsenal were safe and Vermaelen cleared.

  • Per Mertesacker
    250
    36
    3.00

    Per Mertesacker

    Why Arsenal played such a high line away from home against the pace of Suarez, Borini and Sterling when fielding the immobile German is a mystery but, despite being suckered early on into a booking by the Uruguayan, Mertesacker was impressive when he was able to stand his ground and tackle. A good showing that threatened to be more poorly served by Wenger’s tactics than it eventually proved thanks to the Gunners' superiority elsewhere.

  • Thomas Vermaelen
    288
    19
    3.50

    Thomas Vermaelen

    Played an important role in building attacks from the back line, though somewhat too keen to get forward into the opposition half himself. His smart interception from Mannone's block prevented a late Liverpool revival.

  • Carl Jenkinson
    174
    159
    2.00

    Carl Jenkinson

    Still looks like he has been promoted to the Premier League elite far too soon. Awkward and undisciplined in his clearances and distribution.

  • Kieran Gibbs
    218
    42
    2.50

    Kieran Gibbs

    With Borini on the Liverpool right for most of the match, the full-back did not have many tests defensively, though his crossing when getting forward left plenty to be desired.

  • A. Diaby
    357
    23
    4.00

    A. Diaby

    A real eye-catcher. The Frenchman displayed fearsome strength in holding the ball, passed it on with precision and provided momentum to the building of attacks. If – if – he can stay fit for an extended period, then Diaby has shown that he is capable of being a distinct upgrade on Alex Song.

  • Mikel Arteta
    321
    27
    4.00

    Mikel Arteta

    The Spaniard continues his impressive adjustment into the Gunners’ key midfield cog, the picture of efficiency in deep midfield. Hardly a pass out of place, the real boss of the Anfield pitch. Supreme.

  • Santi Cazorla
    396
    38
    4.50

    Santi Cazorla Top of the Match

    His World Cup class was evident almost every time that he was on the ball. Always found space, notably to receive Podolski’s pass before setting him up on the return to score, in a run that showed his easy-to-miss strength as much as his ability to pass with either foot. When he repeated the trick from the other side of the combination, his movement and powerful finish were superb. A real star.

  • Lukas Podolski
    343
    25
    4.00

    Lukas Podolski

    Fantastic effort from the German, who was back deep to aid his side when Gerrard’s misplaced pass allowed him to find Cazorla in space before a superb run into the box in order to receive the ball in his ideal attacking zone. His finish, under pressure from Suarez, was brilliantly assured and he reciprocated excellently for the second.

  • Olivier Giroud
    206
    112
    2.50

    Olivier Giroud

    Not well served by crosses from his team-mates but, in his eagerness to get off the mark for his new club, the Frenchman was guilty of snatching a shot wide when he could have put it on a plate for the unmarked Gibbs.

  • Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
    213
    57
    2.50

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

    Some energy on show from the youngster but outshone by the more experienced stars around him. Withdrawn midway through the second half for Ramsey.

Substitutions

  • Laurent Koscielny
    167
    29

    Laurent Koscielny

    A late substitute for Mertesacker as he returns from injury.

  • Andre Santos
    154
    31

    Andre Santos

    Spent 10 minutes on the pitch after replacing the exhausted Podolski, enough for a witty chant from the lively away support but not much else.

  • Aaron Ramsey
    187
    36
    2.50

    Aaron Ramsey

    Calm enough in midfield after replacing Oxlade-Chamberlain, an able part of a central pack being dominated by the likes of Arteta and Diaby.

Results
 
Player Ratings
Tournament
Position
Ranking
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Luis Suárez Luis Suárez
Striker
Liverpool
29 0
Daniel Sturridge Daniel Sturridge
Striker
Liverpool
20 0
Yaya Touré Yaya Touré
Midfielder
Manchester City
18 6
Wayne Rooney Wayne Rooney
Striker
Man Utd.
15 2
Sergio Agüero Sergio Agüero
Striker
Manchester City
15 0