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Winners & Losers

Salah sparks Liverpool back to life: Winners, losers and ratings as Klopp's men get the job done at Tottenham

6:10 am AEDT 7/11/22
Darwin Nunez Mohamed Salah Liverpool 2022-23
The Egyptian scored twice to seal a 2-1 win for the Reds that moves them right back into the race for a top-four finish

Right then, is this the game which finally gets Liverpool's Premier League season going? The Reds have their first away win of the league campaign, and a huge one too, as Mohamed Salah’s first-half brace saw them beat rivals Tottenham on a day when defeat may well have spelt the end of their hopes of a top-four finish.

Instead, Jurgen Klopp’s side move to within seven points of Spurs, who occupy fourth spot. Liverpool also have a game in hand, and had been buoyed earlier in the day by defeats for fellow Champions League hopefuls Chelsea and Manchester United.

Most importantly for Klopp were signs that the spirit and courage of his side, questioned regularly during the opening weeks of the campaign, is starting to return. Salah’s brilliance gave them control of the game, but they had to dig deep after half-time, and were hanging on at times after Harry Kane reduced the deficit 20 minutes from the end.

Hang on they did, though, and they know a win at home to struggling Southampton next week would ensure a far more positive mood at Anfield heading into the break for the World Cup.

Light at the end of the tunnel? Maybe, just maybe.

  • Ibrahima Konate Liverpool 2022-23

    The Winners

    Mohamed Salah:

    How's that for a big contribution in a big game? When Liverpool needed a hero, the man who delivers so often for them delivered again. Salah's first-half double, both goals clinically taken, gave Klopp's side a lead they would hold on to for dear life, and showed, once again, why the Egyptian is still the Reds' best and most decisive player. He has 14 goals in all competitions this season, and he had ice in his veins as he twice left Hugo Lloris and the Spurs defence stranded before half-time. His first was an instinctive strike from Darwin Nunez's pass, fired low and hard before the goalkeeper could react. His second was a lovely dinked finish, after Eric Dier had made a pig's ear of a back header. And throughout, there were moments of pure class as the 30-year-old continually bought his side time and got them up the field when the pressure was mounting. He might have completed his hat-trick, but didn't get hold of an effort from another Nunez pass. By the time he was replaced in stoppage time by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the away end was singing his name. No wonder. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool's match-winner, again.

    Darwin Nunez:

    Another game, another perfect encapsulation of why Liverpool fans have fallen in love with their new £64m ($72m) centre-forward. Nunez didn't actually play as a centre-forward here. Not to begin with, anyway. He started out on the left, and it looked an inspired call by Jurgen Klopp as the Uruguayan tore into Spurs from the first whistle. He tested Lloris with a stinging volley inside three minutes, curled another effort just wide soon after before setting up Salah for the opener with an astute pass having gathered Andy Robertson's low cross. Nunez created another chance for Salah after the break and finished, again, having taken more shots than anyone else on the field. He didn't score this time, but boy did he graft for his team, popping up at left back and right wing, competing for everything and showing plenty of quality. He earned his hug from Klopp, and his ovation from the travelling Kop.

    Ibrahima Konate:

    How different could Liverpool's season look had Konate not damaged his knee on the eve of the campaign? The Frenchman is making a huge difference to Klopp's defence, and he was immense again here, delivering a mammoth performance alongside Virgil van Dijk as the Reds protected their precious advantage in the second half. Konate's pace and strength make him a huge asset next to Trent Alexander-Arnold, who was targeted relentlessly by Spurs' switches of play, but it was the 23-year-old's positional play which stood out here. Time and again, he was in the right place at the right time. He made twice as many clearances as anyone else on the field, and won possession back more times than any other Liverpool player. Tottenham tested him, but even in stoppage time there he was, stretching at the near post to get a vital touch to yet another left-wing delivery. He probably won't be at the World Cup, which is a shame given his quality, but Liverpool will be glad to wrap him in cotton wool while the rest go through the ringer in Qatar. Konate is Van Dijk's partner, now and in the future.

  • Eric Dier Tottenham 2022-23

    The Losers

    Eric Dier:

    Oh dear, Dier. What was he thinking? There was little danger as Alisson Becker launched a long, straight clearance right onto the head of Tottenham's right-sided centre-back, but the England international made an absolute mess of his attempted back-header, and with Salah about that is a fatal error to make. Dier did try to make amends thereafter, stepping forward regularly after half-time, but when he got his head on Ivan Perisic's corner, Alisson was equal to it, and the Liverpool goalkeeper then turned over the Spurs man's mis-hit cross. Thursday sees the announcement of Gareth Southgate's 26-man squad for the World Cup. Dier will be in it, but whether that says more about him or the dearth of centre-back options at England's disposal, we'll leave for you to judge...

    Emerson Royal:

    Dier wasn't the only Spurs man to have a nightmare on the day, with Emerson Royal targeted by the home fans after delivering a haphazard performance at right wing back. His substitution for Matt Doherty, midway through the second half, drew the loudest cheers of the day to that point. Moments earlier, the Brazilian had horrendously overhit an attempted cross from wide on the right, which kind of summed up his afternoon. It is hard to imagine he'll be starting against Leeds next week.

  • Virgil van Dijk Liverpool 2022-23

    Liverpool Ratings: Defence

    Alisson Becker (7/10):

    Got away with one spill from Hojbjerg in the first half. Kick led to Salah's second goal. Got away with one moment of hesitation on the ball and was well beaten by Kane. Safe hands when needed.

    Trent Alexander-Arnold (7/10):

    Some of the most sweetly-struck passes you could ever wish to see, mixed with some scary moments defensively. Targeted by Spurs' relentless crossfield balls and had a tough test. Stood up to it for the most part.

    Ibrahima Konate (8/10):

    Outstanding. Was so often in the right place at the right time. Is making a huge difference.

    Virgil van Dijk (7/10):

    Controlled Kane well until Kulusevski came on. Got his head on a few crosses late on which helped his side hang on for the win.

    Andy Robertson (8/10):

    Prominent early and linked up well with Nunez. Showed remarkable energy levels throughout.

  • Harvey Elliott Liverpool 2022-23

    Midfield

    Fabinho (7/10):

    Much better. Was strong and used the ball well. Had a tough time in the last half hour but this was a better performance.

    Thiago Alcantara (6/10):

    Helped Liverpool play through the thirds well in the first half, but was too casual in the second and looked heavy legged.

    Harvey Elliott (7/10):

    Sure of touch and non-stop work ethic. More than held his own in a super-intense contest.

  • Roberto Firmino Liverpool 2022-23

    Attack

    Mohamed Salah (9/10):

    First chance, taken. Second chance, taken. Brilliant performance from the Egyptian, who continues to make the difference in big games.

    Darwin Nunez (7/10):

    Made a blistering start down the left and set up Salah's first goal. A handful throughout and worked his tail off.

    Roberto Firmino (6/10):

    Some lovely touches and seemed to relish the return to 4-3-3 with movement all around him. Faded after half time and was subbed.

  • Jurgen Klopp Liverpool 2022-23

    Subs & Manager

    Jordan Henderson (6/10):

    Came on with the game reaching boiling point and helped Liverpool enjoy some calming periods of possession.

    Curtis Jones (6/10):

    Came on to bring fresh legs.

    Joe Gomez (N/A):

    On to protect the lead late on.

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (N/A):

    Time wasting sub in stoppage time. Bought a late free-kick.

    Jurgen Klopp (7/10):

    Got his big calls right. Nunez was the right man to start on the left, and he made his changes at the right time.