Liverpool just about scraped past Inter Milan in their Champions League round of 16 tie last night, after Lautaro Martinez brought the Italian side within one goal of Jurgen Klopp’s side, before former Manchester United and Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez ended the Serie A Champions’ hopes by getting sent off after receiving a second yellow card.
Despite going through on aggregate, it was the Reds’ first loss since the end of December – and the first time this season in the Champions League that they failed to win.
However, they should have scored at least two goals on the night but for some great defending and poor finishing.
While Joel Matip hit the bar, it was Egyptian fan-favourite Mohamed Salah who missed the two best chances of the game – hitting the post on both occasions, on his way to a 6.6 match rating according to SofaScore, which only Diogo Jota failed to match or beat.
The 29-year-old also lost the ball 18 times – working out at every three times he touched the ball he gave up possession, which is something that will surely frustrate Klopp – particularly as the result was anything but a comfortable one.
Rather remarkably, goalkeeper Alisson also had two more touches of the ball at Anfield last night and made 18 more passes at a higher completion rate. Those are rather alarming statistics when you consider Salah is someone that Liverpool will always be aiming to give the ball to.
Despite wanting an insurance goal after Martinez’s thunderbolt, he also failed to deliver one accurate cross, or have a shot that was on target and could even force a save out of 37-year-old Slovenian keeper Samir Handanovic.
With that in mind, it was a rare off day for Salah who will need to improve on this performance if Klopp’s side wants to go all the way and win the competition.
In comparison, Senegalese teammate Sadio Mane achieved a rating of 7.0, despite himself not having a shot on target either – but he also only gave away possession eight times and created a big chance himself, which the Egypt international failed to do.
It was the third game running that the former Chelsea and Roma winger had failed to score or assist, and with his contract set to expire next year, his form is the last thing the fans want to be worrying about if 2023 will prove to be his last on Merseyside.
However, this is the Premier League’s current top scorer and second top assister that we are talking about, who has 29 goal contributions in 25 games – he will most definitely soon bounce back and supporters will be hoping it will be immediate with Liverpool still in with a shot at winning the elusive quadruple.