This fixture never fails to disappoint. Over the years, Liverpool vs Arsenal has been an action packed fixture filled with mesmerizing attacking play. This stems from the fact that both teams attack better than they defend. This time though, Liverpool’s attack absolutely dismantled the Arsenal defense whereas the Arsenal attack did not manage to trouble Liverpool that much.
There were questions on both sides before the start. Arsenal chose to bench Sead Kolasinac, Shkodran Mustafi and Alexandre Lacazette. Liverpool chose to not include Mignolet in the squad and started Alberto Moreno who has had a tough time adapting to life in England. The one positive for Arsenal was that Alexis Sanchez finally returned to first team football.
Liverpool scored twice on either side of the half but it could have easily been more had it not been for Petr Cech. He put on a display worthy of the quality keeper that he is but needed and deserved a lot more cover from his defenders. He was by far the best Arsenal player on the pitch.
Arsenal did not look convincing during any phase of the match. They may have had more possession again but that does not count for anything. It was a weak display from them, both mentally and physically. Liverpool bullied them. It was almost too easy at times. By far, the most embarrassing goal had to be Mohammed Salah’s goal on the counter from the corner. Hector Bellerin being the last defender could have cleared the ball with Liverpool attackers charging. He decided otherwise and tried to control the ball in which he failed. Salah took the ball off him and easily finished the one on one against Cech.
Arsenal were very extremely poor in possession, having the ball pawned off them far too often during the game. Mesut Ozil tried to show some fight while going into challenges up the field but he too was out of his element. An apology from him is not going to fix these wounds. Arsenal have work to do and with the transfer window shutting soon, it will be hard for them to find new recruits.
Arsene Wenger needs to go back to the drawing board and really needs to get stuck in to his players who clearly are not performing. This kind of a performance will only add to the cases of Alex Oxlade-Chamerlian, Alexis and Shkodran Mustafi wanting to leave. Arsenal are in turmoil, and need to turn it around soon before the rest of the teams get too far ahead.
On to Liverpool now, they looked sharp. Their defense looked good and managed to keep the Arsenal attack at bay. One might say that a clean sheet was down to Arsenal’s attacking woes, but Liverpool’s defense did a good job and it must be appreciated. Up Front, they tore apart Arsenal’s defense featuring an attack that is still missing Philipe Coutinho.
Liverpool do need to manage the Simon Mignolet situation though, he was evidently unhappy at being dropped from the squad all together. While Karuis did keep a clean sheet, he was not tested at all, not having to make a save. This was mostly down to Liverpool’s resolute defense. Daniel Sturridge scored which would do him a world of good. Regardless of it being a tap in, getting his name on the scoresheet is a huge confidence boost. The usual suspects in Mane, Firmino and Salah got themselves on the scoresheet as well.
It was a complete performance which would have gotten a smile on Jurgen Klopp’s face. He must be delighted at another victory in a big game where is becoming some sort of a specialist. It seems like they do not need another world class striker when their front three are banging in goals like this.
Liverpool will be very happy heading into the International break at 2nd on the table. On the other hand, Arsenal are languishing in 16th.