Liverpool Player Ratings v. Arsenal (FA Cup)

Shaun Botterill

Liverpool lose 2-1, miss chance at cup run.

After going down 2-0 at the Emirates, Liverpool clawed back via a Steven Gerrard penalty to set up a scintillating finish, however the Reds could not find an equalizer despite creating a multitude of chances. Second string goalkeeper Lukasz (there's really a "z" in his first name) Fabianski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were the top performers for Arsenal, while Lukas (no "z" in his first name) Podolski netted an all important second goal for the Gunners. In reality, Arsenal needed this win much more than Liverpool, and the post-match jubilation of their players emphasized this point. It's a sour feeling to be knocked out of the cup, but at least Liverpool can turn their focus solely on the league while their rivals tire in other competitions.

STARTING XI:

Jones - 7 - Brad Jones played confidently and was quick to claim/punch a good deal of aerial balls. Neither Arsenal goal was his fault, and Rodgers will be pleased that his second choice keeper can play at a high standard whenever he's needed.

Cissokho - 5 - Arsenal clearly set out to expose Cissokho in the early going, repeatedly attacking the left flank, however neither of their goals came from a Cissokho mistake. Where Cissokho did struggle was when he came forward, which unfortunately happened often. He is utterly lost past the halfway line, and for all the talk about him at least being a good crosser, he was 0/2 in that category against Arsenal. I would like nothing more than for Cissokho to succeed at Liverpool, but realistically that's looking very unlikely and it doesn't seem like he's up to Premier League standards.

Agger - 6 - Oh how I love Daniel Agger. He was merely average against Arsenal, but the idea of having his assertiveness anchoring the back four instead of Toure in the coming weeks is quite comforting. Great to have him back.

Skrtel - 5 - How Skrtel totally whiffed on Ozil's initial cross, allowing Sanogo to control the ball with his chest in the box and shoot, we'll never know. The shot deflected off Gerrard and into the path of Oxlade-Chamberlain who scored easily to put Arsenal ahead. A fair argument might be that Skrtel could never get to the ball, in which case he should have at the very least kept between Sanogo and the goal rather than running straight past the young forward. It was a moment of spazzery from Skrtel, something Liverpool fans have unfortunately become accustomed to over the years.

Flanagan - 5 - Flanno's lack of physical class overshadowed his mental makeup in this one. He was ineffective offensively except for one nice pullback to Suarez at the edge of the area, and didn't play particularly well defensively either, failing to get over to block off Podolski on Arsenal's second goal.

Gerrard - 7 - Gerrard pinged some quality balls to the forwards from his deep midfield position, brought Liverpool back into the match with a well taken penalty, and could have easily been sent off in the second half after making a rash challenge on a yellow card. Taking everything into consideration, it was an above average match for the captain. Gerrard has a good chance to have his highest goal total since 2008/9 as he brought himself up to 8 goals in all competitions with 12 games left to play.

Allen - 6 - Allen adventured forward effectively for parts of the match, yet spent much of the game as an anonymous figure.

Coutinho - 6 - Like Allen, Coutinho had a few positive moments amid a generally neutral display. The Brazilian seemed to struggle in the first half with the accuracy of his passing, but that problem was eradicated as the game went on.

Sterling - 8 - Sterling continued his blistering form, even filling in well at right back when Rodgers opted to go all out for the equalizer. To think that Sterling is only 19 and still progressing as a player is mind-boggling, and his total performance against Arsenal adds to the list of reasons to be ecstatic for the winger. Being knocked out of the cup will help preserve his legs ahead of the World Cup and hopefully European football next season.

Suarez - 7 - Suarez cannot find his goals at the moment, a product of his wide positioning, great goalkeeping, and some bad luck. However, his movement and chance creation abilities are still top class even in this little goal drought, and he should have won two penalties today (although let's be honest, the first one was a little soft). Undoubtably the Uruguayan will score three or four goals soon, and next weekend against Swansea would be a perfect time to do that.

Sturridge - 6 - Sturridge's second chance in the first ten minutes when he got around Fabianski only to shoot with his right foot into the side netting was disappointing and indicative of his performance on the afternoon. Liverpool are used to seeing Sturridge score all of his big chances, so his wastefulness was surprising. Every striker has an off day, but it's a shame that both members of SAS were off during the same match.

SUBS:

Henderson - 7 - Jordan Henderson is perhaps the most likable player on a Liverpool team brimming with likable players, coming on as a second half substitute days after undergoing surgery for a broken wrist. Hendo is the ultimate (insert "tough guy" cliché here), and he continues to be a vital piece in Liverpool's midfield.

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