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Winners & Losers

Liverpool winners, losers and ratings as Firmino fires but Alexander-Arnold struggles under the spotlight

20:02 EAT 01/10/2022
Trent Alexander-Arnold Liverpool 2022-23
Is Gareth Southgate right about Trent? The Liverpool full-back's defensive frailties were exposed again in Saturday's 3-3 draw with Brighton.

Few teams do drama quite like Liverpool, but for once it was the home fans left floored by a late strike at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp’s side looked to have given their season the shot in the arm it needed on Saturday, only for Leandro Trossard to burst their bubble with a late equaliser, as Brighton secured a remarkable 3-3 draw.

Trossard became only the third visiting player in Premier League history to score a hat-trick away to Liverpool, following in the footsteps of Peter Ndlovu for Coventry in 1995 and Andrey Arshavin for Arsenal in 2009. 

The Belgian gave Brighton a 2-0 lead inside the first 18 minutes, but Liverpool hit back strongly with Roberto Firmino scoring either side of half-time.

Adam Webster’s unfortunate own goal looked to have won it for the home side, but Trossard had the final say, slamming home with seven minutes remaining to ensure Roberto De Zerbi’s reign as manager began in positive fashion, and with a positive result.

For Liverpool, however, it is two more dropped points in a season which promised so much but has so far delivered little except disappointment.

  • Trossard Brighton Liverpool 2022-23

    The Winners

    Roberto Firmino:

    He may not be quite what he once was, but don't ever doubt Roberto Firmino's importance to Liverpool.

    The Brazilian was the man who dragged Klopp's side back into this contest, scoring twice to cancel out Brighton's early lead. He now has five goals for the season, almost halfway towards his tally of 11 in all competitions last term.

    First, he followed up well after Mohamed Salah had touched the ball across goal from Jordan Henderson's clipped pass before half-time. Then, after the break, he was there to collect a square pass from substitute Luis Diaz, showing great feet and composure to slam home left-footed for 2-2.

    He got a standing ovation when replaced by Diogo Jota, 15 minutes from time, and the noise would have been even louder had he converted a great chance for his hat-trick from Henderson's volleyed cross.

    Leandro Trossard:

    There are some days that just go your way, and for Trossard this was most certainly one of those.

    With three left-footed strikes, Brighton's brilliant Belgian became only the third visiting player to score a hat-trick at Anfield in the Premier League.

    Not since Andrey Arshavin, who scored four times here for Arsenal in 2009, has anyone stunned Liverpool fans quite like this. Peter Ndlovu, for Coventry in 1995, is the other player to record a treble on this famous old ground.

    Trossard has his eye on a starting spot for Belgium at the World Cup, and his early-season form must be surely be catching Roberto Martinez's eye. He was superb here, quick of foot and mind, causing untold problems for Trent Alexander-Arnold with his movement and, when the chances came, clinical with his finishing.

    He had to be, to beat Alisson Becker, who was in superb form for Liverpool. The Brazilian could scarcely believe he had to pick the ball out of his net three times, but the embrace he gave Trossard at the end said it all.

    Respect, for a superb performance.

    Luis Diaz:

    It's easy to say with hindsight, but what might have happened had the Colombian started this game?

    Jurgen Klopp had erred on the side of caution by leaving Diaz, as well as Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota, on the bench here. The winger had only trained with the team once prior to this game, having returned from international duty late on Thursday morning.

    Klopp's preference would have been to rest him entirely, but with Liverpool 2-1 down at half-time, up went the Bat Signal. Diaz was summoned, replacing the ineffective Fabio Carvalho, and immediately we saw what the Reds had been lacking.

    He set up their equaliser for 2-2, breaking away down the left and picking the right pass for Firmino to score, and his work-rate, physicality and purpose ensured Brighton were kept on the back foot for much of the second half.

    It should have been a match-winning cameo, but Trossard had other ideas.

  • Trent Alexander-Arnold Liverpool Brighton 2022-23

    The Losers

    Trent Alexander-Arnold:

    After a week of discussion about his World Cup prospects, this was not what Liverpool's right-back needed.

    Alexander-Arnold, one imagines, would have wanted a nice, uneventful afternoon here, a game to calm the nerves and turn down the spotlight. He most certainly did not get it.

    Inside five minutes, he had been left on the floor as the impressive Trossard opened the scoring, and when the same player doubled Brighton's lead on 18 minutes, the goal came from a loose touch from Alexander-Arnold, who was caught in possession attempting to bring down a long ball on his chest.

    There were signs of nerves in the 23-year-old's performance. Some hurried passes, errant headers and wild clearances. His corner delivery was fine – one of them led to the own goal which looked to have won the game for his side – but there was to be one final sting as Brighton overloaded his flank late on, allowing Kaoru Mitoma to cross for Trossard to snatch a point at the back post.

    Darwin Nunez:

    The last time Liverpool shipped three goals at home, Darwin Nunez was chiefly responsible.

    The Uruguayan's performance here for Benfica back in April was part of the reason the Reds were so keen to sign him in the summer. He was unplayable that night, scoring once and giving Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip a torrid time throughout.

    And here? Here, he was reduced to the role of a late wildcard, brought off the bench in the 89th minute as Liverpool tried, fruitlessly, to force a late winner.

    "You're just a s**t Andy Carroll," sang the Brighton fans, cruelly, after Nunez had conceded a free kick chasing the ball into the box. Those comparisons are unfair, but there's no doubt that Nunez would have envisaged a quicker start to his Liverpool career than he has had.

    Liverpool's top-four hopes:

    Forget the Premier League title for now. It's Champions League qualification that should be on Liverpool's mind, and there should be genuine concern given the way they have started the campaign.

    While Arsenal and Manchester City fly, while Manchester United improve and while Chelsea continue to dig out results, the Reds continue to underwhelm.

    They might have a game in hand, but they are 11 points off top spot already, and seven behind Tottenham, who were beaten at the Emirates on Saturday. They and City were in a league of their own last season, but it looks as if the chasing pack have caught up to Klopp's side since May.

    On this evidence, Brighton certainly have.

  • Jurgen Klopp Virgil van Dijk Liverpool Brighton 2022-23

    Liverpool Ratings: Defence

    Alisson Becker (8/10):

    Crucial saves from Welbeck and Trossard in the first half, but could do little about the two goals. Another big intervention to deny Welbeck at 3-2. Brilliant performance, and deserved to be on the winning team.

    Trent Alexander-Arnold (5/10):

    Beaten by some nice footwork from Trossard for Brighton's opener, and lost the ball for the second goal. Looked edgy, as if all the recent discussion about his abilities had affected him. Will be glad to see the back of today, one feels, even if his corner did eventually lead to Liverpool's third goal.

    Kostas Tsimikas (6/10):

    A few nice deliveries, but should have pulled the trigger when played in on goal just before he was replaced by Milner.

    Joel Matip (6/10):

    Looked good stepping out with the ball, but was bewildered by Brighton's early movement. Better second half, although got away with one slip.

    Virgil van Dijk (7/10):

    Important block at 2-0 down, but like Matip he made a slow start. Defended his box well in the second half.

  • Fabinho Liverpool 2022

    Midfield

    Fabinho (6/10):

    Sluggish early on, as Liverpool were too easy to play through. Stepped up to the plate second half, protecting his defence and feeding his forwards, but couldn't stem the flow as Brighton pushed for the leveller.

    Jordan Henderson (6/10):

    Slow start, only really getting into it at 2-0 down. But he played some fine passes to help get his side back into the game, having a big hand in both Firmino's goals.

    Thiago Alcantara (7/10):

    Off the pace early on, as Liverpool struggled to get a grip in midfield. But when they got hold of it, it was the Spaniard who made them tick.

  • Roberto Firmino Liverpool 2022-23

    Attack

    Mohamed Salah (6/10):

    Carried Liverpool's threat early on with his runs, one of which led to the crucial goal back. Always dangerous without finding the final pass or finish thereafter. Work rate could not be faulted.

    Fabio Carvalho (5/10):

    Looked a little lost on the left, and was better when he came infield. Replaced by Diaz at the break.

    Roberto Firmino (8/10):

    Two goals make him Liverpool's top scorer for the season, and both were taken with confidence. Team looks so much better when he delivers, though he might have had a hat-trick here, but headed straight at Sanchez.

  • Jurgen Klopp Liverpool 2022

    Subs & Manager

    Luis Diaz (7/10):

    Made a huge difference, setting up Firmino's equaliser and giving Brighton's defenders all kinds of problems. Could he have started? Liverpool might have won if he did.

    James Milner (5/10):

    On at left back, he was missing as Trossard levelled late on and couldn't offer much quality going forward.

    Harvey Elliott (5/10):

    The odd nice touch but didn't really make too much of an impact.

    Diogo Jota (5/10):

    See above.

    Darwin Nunez (N/A):

    Given a thankless task as he was sent on late at 3-3. Needs a far greater role if he is to get his Reds career going.

    Jurgen Klopp (5/10):

    Erred on the side of caution by leaving out Diaz, Jota and Nunez, and it didn't pay off as Brighton threatened to run riot early on. Diaz changed things, but Milner and Elliott didn't and his side were unable to close out the game at 3-2, when a win would have done so much to lift the mood.