Player ratings from Liverpool’s victory at Arsenal

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LONDON — Liverpool beat Arsenal 4-3 at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday in an enthralling encounter during the opening weekend of the Premier League.

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Philippe Coutinho score a brace and a goal each from Adam Lallana and Sadio Mane put Liverpool 4-1 up after Theo Walcott had given Arsenal the lead, yet a late surge came from the Gunners as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Calum Chambers got on the score sheet in a wild game in north London which ended in Jurgen Klopp‘s side winning the seven-goal thriller.

Here’s a mark out of 10 for each player on the pitch.


Arsenal

Petr Cech – 6 – Couldn’t stop the goals and did whatever he had to with ease.

Hector Bellerin – 5 – Caught out defensively at times and failed to get forward as much as he usually does.

Rob Holding – 6 – Tried to hold things together but started to drop deeper and deeper after reading the game well early on.

Calum Chambers – 5 – Played midfielders into trouble time and time again. Scored but not a great display.

Nacho Monreal – 5 – Tried to support attacking players but spent most of his time trying to stop Sadio Mane. That didn’t go well for him.

Mohamed Elneny – 5 – Started well but was put under pressure on the ball by his center backs.

Francis Coquelin – 6 – Won the ball back for Walcott’s opener and was his usual combative self.

Alex Iwobi – 5 – Had a few good runs in first half but hooked off in the second half with a thigh injury.

Theo Walcott – 7 – Mixed bag for Walcott who missed a PK then 69 seconds later scored. Drifted in and out of the game.

Aaron Ramsey – 6 – Tried to influence the game from central attacking area and then suffered a hamstring injury.

Alexis Sanchez – 6 – Looked a little lost up to on his own in a central role. Much better when drifting out wide to his natural position.

Subs: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 7 – Got a goal and looked to have plenty of drive and power in the final third; Granit Xhaka – 5 – No real time to influence the game; Santi Cazorla – 6 – Did little wrong but skied an effort over the bar from the edge of the box.


Liverpool

Simon Mignolet – 6 – Saved Walcott’s PK but came for a few crosses he didn’t need to and always makes defenders nervy.

Nathaniel Clyne – 6 – Got better as game wore on. Still some issues defensively but his brilliant cross set up Coutinho’s second goal.

Dejan Lovren – 6 – Arsenal’s second goal deflected in off him but overall stopped the threat of Sanchez.

Ragnar Klaven – 6 – A solid outing. His distribution needs work but he just sticks to defending and clearing balls.

Alberto Moreno – 3 – Wretched outing highlighted by a horror two-minute spell in first half as he gave away a PK and let Walcott in to score.

Georginio Wijnaldum – 6 – Played in an unfamiliar holding role alongside Henderson and struggled on the ball in first half. Improved in second half and wonderful cross set up Lallana to put Liverpool ahead.

Jordan Henderson – 6 – Drove Liverpool on from midfield and launched himself into tackles.

Adam Lallana – 7 – Classy finish for his goal to put Liverpool 2-1 up and linked up well with Mane, Coutinho and Firmino.

Sadio Mane – 8 – His pace is terifying for opposition defenders and he belted in an absolute screamer to make it 4-1.

Philippe Coutinho – 8 – Scored a beauty of a free kick and a clever flick to put Liverpool 3-1 up. Always threatening in the box.

Roberto Firmino – 6 – Lashed one effort just wide in the second half. Often took one touch too many.

Subs: Emre Can – 6 – Helped Liverpool shore things up a little in midfield; Divock Origi – 5 – Only had 15 minutes and hardly touched the ball; Kevin Stewart – N/A – Played seven minutes near the end.

AT HALF: Martial, Rashford team up for impressive opener

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Manchester United has a stylish opening goal in its quest to go a perfect 2-for-2 in Premier League play.

After quality passing in traffic ended with Marcus Rashford slipping a through ball in to both Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial, the Frenchman bolted a ball into the upper reaches of the net.

[ STREAM: Wolves – Man Utd ]

To be honest, Rui Patricio had little recourse.

The goal is Martial’s second of the season, and United is 45 minutes away from moving atop the league.

Report: Barcelona will make Neymar loan offer

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The most expensive player in the world may be going back to his old club…on loan.

According to a report by ESPNFC, Barcelona will make an official approach for Neymar on a loan with an option to buy next summer, similar to the switch Philippe Coutinho made from the Camp Nou to Bayern Munich earlier today. In fact, the report specifically states that Barcelona will look to copy Bayern’s approach of a one-year loan with a fee ($9.4 million for Coutinho’s loan) plus all wages paid, followed by an option to buy ($133 million).

Barcelona prefers this approach as they have already racked up a massive transfer bill this summer, spending over $220 million on the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong, Junior Firpo, and Neto.

While there have been numerous reports of potentially creative offers for Neymar over the past few weeks that mention players included in a swap deal, the ESPNFC report specifically states no players will be included in any current or future deal for Neymar either in the terms of the loan or as part of the option to buy. While Barcelona considered this approach in the past, Paris Saint-Germain was reportedly not interested in any players Barca offered, other than Coutinho. They apparently made an official offer already, ponying up $89 million plus Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic, but that was turned down.

The ESPN report does state that Coutinho’s loan to Bayern is seen by those close to Neymar as “a huge setback” as the Brazilian’s camp saw Coutinho as the key to making the deal happen, given that Barcelona is unwilling to put up a straight cash offer this summer. Unnamed Barcelona officials are also quoted in the report as stating that a for a potential Neymar deal, “it will be complicated,” but they are hopeful of progress.

The option to buy in Barcelona’s offer has reportedly not been decided upon as of yet, although previous reports have stated that PSG is unlikely to consider an offer that does not net them back what they paid for Neymar two years ago, to the tune of $245 million.

Watch Live: Wolves v. Man United

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Manchester United travels to Monlieux to take on their boogy team as Wolverhampton Wanderers look to make it four straight without a loss against the Red Devils across all competitions (Watch live, 3:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com)

The last time Manchester United beat Wolves was in 2012 when they won 5-0 at Monlieux in a season that saw Wolves eventually relegated. They were winless in all three matches against Wolves last season, including two in Premier League action and one in domestic cup play. To end that drought, they’ll need to break a Wolves streak of eight consecutive top-flight matches unbeaten at home, making their midlands ground a fortress of late.

WATCH WOLVES v. MAN UNITED LIVE ONLINE HERE

To help snap the streak, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has handed winger Daniel James a full debut, coming into the side in place of Andreas Pereira as the only change from the team that topped Chelsea 4-0 to begin the season. Juan Mata stays stuck on the bench, while Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, and Anthony Martial all spearhead the attack alongside James. Paul Pogba again partners with Scott McTominay in midfield to reprise a duo that was fabulous against the Blues. Alexis Sanchez remains out of the squad, although Solskjaer confirmed he is “close” to a return.

For Wolves, they deploy an unchanged side from the opening day draw with Leicester City. Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez are back leading the lines after being rested midweek for their Europa League win over Pyunik. Nuno again deploys a 5-3-2, with wingers Johnny and Matt Doherty serving as wing-backs along the three central defenders in Connor Coady, Wily Boly, and Ryan Bennett.


LINEUPS

Wolves XI: Patricio; Doherty, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Jonny; Dendoncker, Neves, Moutinho; Jota, Jimenez.
Subs: Ruddy, Neto, Cutrone, Gibbs-White, Saiss, Vinagre, Traore.

Man United XI: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Pogba, James, Lingard, Rashford, Martial.
Subs: Romero, Tuanzebe, Pereira, Mata, Matic, Greenwood.

Sokratis calls it “easier” to defend Liverpool than Burnley

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Arsenal has not fared well at Anfield the last few years, not at all. In fact, the Gunners haven’t shown up against the Reds at all the past two seasons, shipping 13 goals in their last four meetings with Liverpool, and 15 goals in their last four trips to Anfield.

Which made the words out of the mouth of Arsenal defender Sokratis about defending Liverpool even more surprising.

Following 2-1 win over Burnley this past weekend, Sokratis compared playing the Clarets to playing defending Champions League winners Liverpool, whom Arsenal visits this coming weekend. “It is a different game,” Sokratis said. “Maybe it is more easy, because you don’t have to fight a lot, but they also play football.”

Play football they certainly do. Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino have all scored each of the last two times the Gunners visited Anfield, resulting in 5-1 and 4-0 drubbings. So…how does that figure to “more easy?”

“If they are on good day and you are having a bad day, it is hard,” Sokratis admitted. “In the end, we know that it is difficult and we respect Liverpool a lot. But I think the best [way] is to go and play our style of game. We will see what happens.”

When asked specifically about last season’s lopsided result, Sokratis believes that was a rare occurance. “The 5-1 last season…it was not the game to take five goals – [there was] the penalty kicks, we made mistakes,” he said. “I think this year will be different, but we have to improve of course from the work we do with the coach and his staff.”

Arsenal will have to avoid the mistakes this time around if they want to find an important three points. Even a draw would be helpful in the Gunners’ quest to attain Champions League qualification for the first time in four years. Sokratis would be wise not to take the Reds lightly.