Friday, July 1, 2022

Liverpool vs Villarreal Champions League player ratings: Jordan Henderson led midfield, Sadio Mane found goal

Liverpool ground Villarreal down and walked away with a comfortable 2-0

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The first leg goes to Liverpool after a 2-0 victory over Villarreal at Anfield. An own goal from Pervis Estupinan and a goal from Sadio Mane did the job for the Reds as they knocked and knocked until they broke Villarreal down. It shows how strong Unai Emery’s defense is that Liverpool only scored two goals from their 19 shots but things will need to change in the second leg in Spain. 

For just over 50 minutes, it looked as if another Unai Emery masterclass might be on the cards as the Spaniards were rugged at the back and equal to anything thrown at them by the reds. Ultimately, though, Jurgen Klopp’s men torpedoed El Submarino Amarillo which sank without trace with not even a single shot on target over the 90 minutes.

Villarreal are not dead yet, especially if they can nab an early goal at home, but this is a monumental task ahead of them next week which feels like it might already be a stretch too far.

But how did each player perform in this one? Here are our player ratings for the match for every starter, substitute and manager.

All ratings are out of 10, and the higher the number the better. A zero would be a first-minute red card. A 10 would be like a dominant hat trick.

Liverpool ratings

By Chuck Booth

(GK) Alisson

90

Considering that Villarreal didn’t have a shot on target during the entire game, Alisson could have been in a chair for the entire match. He was strong on set plays but didn’t have much to do. 

7

(DEF) Trent Alexander-Arnold

81

In acres of space all day long, Alexander-Arnold created four chances, level with Robertson for the lead. Defensively, he led Liverpool in tackles won with four ensuring, that Villarreal’s attack couldn’t get going.

8

(DEF)  Ibrahima Konate

90

Couldn’t keep his scoring streak going but Konate won’t mind as he won five aerials en route to his team keeping a clean sheet.

7

(DEF)  Virgil van Dijk

90

A rock in the center of defense as always, van Dijk seemed bored that there wasn’t more to do given how well the midfield was defending in front of him.

7

(DEF)  Andrew Robertson

90

Had a goal chalked off due to offsides but Robertson had an excellent day going both ways for Liverpool. His 11 recoveries were joint top on the team as Robertson was everywhere.

7

(MID) Jordan Henderson

72

His cross led to Estupinan’s own goal but Henderson was so good in midfield winning four tackles while adding steel to the finesse of his teammates. 

9

(MID)  Fabinho

90

Four interceptions saw Fabinho quickly turning defense into attack on multiple occasions for Liverpool. A large reason why van Dijk didn’t have to do much on the ground is how good Fabinho was protecting his defense.

8

(MID)  Thiago Alcântara

90

Did Fabinho one better with five interceptions and kept possession ticking over. Thiago had an excellent day. He completed 96 percent of his passes to move the ball almost as much as the entire Villarreal team did.

7

(FWD)  Mohamed Salah

90

I’m convinced that Salah’s assist to Mané had eyes as it evaded multiple Villarreal defenders before ending in a goal. Salah pushed the Villarreal defense to their limits but couldn’t hit the target with his shots.

8

(FWD) Sadio Mané

73

Playing as the central forward for the attack, Mane did disappear for moments but he was there when it mattered to get on the end of Salah’s pass scoring a goal to get ahead 2-0.

7

(FWD) Luis Díaz

81

Díaz’s work rate was as strong as always and he found space constantly putting three shots on target and creating two chances. No one was on the end of a few of his crosses but Díaz seemingly always did the right thing with the ball when he got it.

7

Naby Keïta

Mané, 73′

Was fine in midfield after coming on to provide fresh legs, but didn’t have much to do.

6

Diogo Jota

Henderson, 72′

Only had one real chance coming off of the bench but was diligent defensively.

6

Joe Gomez

Alexander-Arnold, 81′

By the time Gomez entered, Liverpool were knocking the ball around so the defense wasn’t getting involved. 

N/A

Divock Origi Díaz, 81′

On to provide fresh legs and wasn’t asked to get on the ball in attack. N/A

Jurgen Klopp

4

An excellently coached game from Klopp. He learned from Liverpool’s victory in a similar situation against Everton and had his team ready to go in the match. Everyone kept their heads despite the frustration playing through Villarreal’s low block in the first half and Klopp’s preparation is to thank for it.

8

Villarreal team ratings

By Jonathan Johnson

(GK) Geronimo Rulli

90

It was perhaps not all his fault, but the shot stopper’s misjudgment for Henderson’s opener was costly. A crueler version of Francis Coquelin’s disallowed effort in the previous round vs. Bayern Munich.

5

(DEF) Juan Foyth

90

A solid effort from the Argentine up against Liverpool’s left side of Andy Robertson and Luis Diaz, although equally not up to his Bayern heroics.

6

(DEF) Raul Albiol (c)

90

Until Pervis Estupinan deflected in Henderson’s effort, it had been a resolute defensive display from El Submarino Amarillo and the veteran Spaniard was a key component in that. However, his central defensive pairing with Pau Torres was picked apart for Liverpool’s second.

6

(DEF) Pau Torres

90

Like Albiol, it was a solid opening 50 minutes or so until the opener and then cracks started to appear which the hosts exploited right down the middle.

6

(DEF) Pervis Estupinan

72

Unlucky with the deflection and also booked, it was a difficult evening for the Ecuador international who was then substituted.

4

(MID) Samuel Chukwueze

72

Emery was unable to use the Nigeria international to the same devastating impact as in Munich and his outing rather reinforced the idea that he is better suited to the role of super sub.

4

(MID) Dani Parejo

72

One of three players withdrawn with 18 minutes to play, the game plan had gone out of the window by then and Parejo’s key role had gone with it.

5

(MID) Etienne Capoue

90

Perhaps left on to physically compete in the middle instead of leaving the technically gifted Parejo to close the match, the veteran Frenchman was workmanlike if nothing else.

6

(MID) Francis Coquelin

57

Sacrificed after 57 minutes when Liverpool had just gotten their second, the Frenchman might have fared better in place of his compatriot and alongside Parejo as Villarreal searched for a route back into the tie.

5

(FWD) Giovani Lo Celso

90

Too isolated to weave his magic,and picked up a booking for his troubles on a frustrating evening.

5

(FWD) Arnaut Danjuma

86

Surprising that it took so long for him to be hooked considering how little of the ball the Spaniards were getting in attack which stopped him from adding to his impressive season tally.

5

Alfonso Pedraza

Coquelin, 57′

Given 33 minutes, but the damage had already been done in terms of Emery’s plans and Villarreal hopes of springing a shock result.

5

Serge Aurier

Parejo, 72′

A bit of a bizarre introduction considering the situation Villarreal were in as the Ivorian’s attack-minded approach was never going to be of use in a game of zero chances.

5

Manu Trigueros

Estupinan, 72′

Relief for the beleaguered Estupinan, it was one of a number of changes made with 18 minutes to go and felt like it was designed to conserve certain figures.

5

Boulaye Dia Chukwueze, 72′ A goal threat in a game where little to nothing was being created which added to the sense of surprise that Parejo was also withdrawn around the same time. 5
Paco Alcacer Danjuma, 86′ A desperate late roll of the dice to grab a late consolation, he was given five minutes to salvage something which was always going to be a tough ask. 5

Unai Emery

5

This was not one of the Spanish wizard’s finest moments, although it was working for a while. Once the deadlock was broken, Villarreal were too slow to respond and the changes were odd when they arrived. Zero shots on target over 90 minutes tells its own story as to how hard it was for the visitors.

4

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