Arsenal vs Liverpool in the Premier League never fails to disappoint, and this game was no exception. A five-goal thriller resulted in the Gunners going 1 point clear of Manchester City at the top of the table.
How did the sides set up?
Arsenal made just one change from the team that beat Tottenham 3-1 last week. Takehiro Tomiyasu came in for Oleksandr Zinchenko at left back. Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, Saliba, Gabriel, White, Partey, Xhaka, Martinelli, Odegaard, Saka & Jesus was how the Gunners lined up.
Liverpool stuck with their 4-2-3-1 formation that beat Glasgow Rangers in the week 2-0. In fact, it was an unchanged 11 from Jurgen Klopp as he decided to persist with a new system. Alisson, Tsimikas, Van Dijk, Matip, Alexander-Arnold, Thiago, Henderson, Diaz, Jota, Salah, Nunez is how Liverpool lined up.
Gabriel Martinelli scores just one-minute in...
Liverpool have done themselves no favours whatsoever in recent times by going a goal down & having to chase the game straight away. And once again, we saw it yesterday. It took Arsenal just one minute to break the deadlock thanks to Gabriel Martinelli who seems to be Liverpool’s kryptonite. Saka carried the ball forward from right midfield & played it into play maker Martin Odegaard. The Norwegian played a defence splitting pass between Joel Matip & Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Martinelli was never going to miss from close range. Once again, Liverpool had a mountain to climb.
Liverpool responded well to going a goal down so early on and ensured that Arsenal didn’t gain early momentum & run away with the game. They dominated possession and caused the Arsenal defence plenty of problems.
Alexander-Arnold played a fantastic ball over the top of the Arsenal defence, which was met by Diogo Jota. Jota attempts to chip the ball into the mixer, but the ball was struck by Gabriel’s hand. It looked like Gabriel’s hand was in an unnatural position, but due to how close the two players were, Arsenal got away with not conceding a penalty.
Darwin Nunez Gets The Equaliser
More chances came Liverpool’s way as they continued to cause Arsenal problems. Darwin Nunez got a good chance after being played through by Mohammed Salah, but it was a routine save for Aaron Ramsdale. Nunez continued to look a constant threat for Liverpool as he then tried to play the ball across the box to Luis Diaz, but Saliba made a crucial interception forcing Aaron Ramsdale to make another save.
Liverpool continued to knock on the door, and finally got the equaliser that they deserved. A long ball up the pitch from Alexander-Arnold was not dealt with by Gabriel. Luis Diaz came out with the ball down the right wing & squared it into the box where Darwin Nunez took one touch to chip the ball into the back of the net.
Bukayo Saka Restores Arsenal’s Lead…
Just a minute before the half time interval, Liverpool were still searching for a goal to take them ahead. After lumping the ball forward, they earned a corner in the dying embers of the first half.
However, it was a poor corner that Arsenal counter attacked, and eventually got the goal to restore their lead. Gabriel Jesus skipped past Thiago, who should have stopped the goal in that moment. Jesus played the ball into Martinelli who once again, caused Liverpool’s right-hand side a huge problem as Henderson & Alexander-Arnold both drifted out to the wing to try and stop the attack. Martinelli cut back and took them both out the game, and then played a brilliant pass to the far post where Bukayo Saka had a tap in to take the Gunners ahead once again.
Roberto Firmino Equalises…
Liverpool came out in the 2nd half to try & search for that equaliser yet again. Not only a pattern that we’ve seen in this game, but so many times during this season alone. Diogo Jota played a nice through ball into Roberto Firmino who slotted it past Aaron Ramsdale with his weak foot.
Arsenal Take The Lead Late On...
Unfortunately for Liverpool, that’s pretty much where the attacking intent stopped. Arsenal grew into the game at this point and took the game to Liverpool. In fact, Jurgen Klopp has received heavy criticism for his in-game management as it seemed like he was playing for a point with 20 minutes left to play.Arsenal persisted to go at Liverpool’s defence & eventually got the winning goal that they were searching for. Liverpool failed to clear the ball away numerous times, and Thiago clips Gabriel Jesus which resulted in a penalty for Arsenal.
It was an extremely soft penalty & the contact between the players was minimal, however in the modern game if there’s contact in the box, you’re within your rights to go down. And that’s what Gabriel Jesus did. Bukayo Saka stepped up to take the penalty & placed it to Alisson’s right-hand side. The goalkeeper went the right way, but he wasn’t stopping it.
Overall, it was a disastrous game for Liverpool. Not only did they lose yet again, but two injury blows also came their way. Trent Alexander-Arnold seemed to pick up an ankle injury & was forced off, whilst Luis Diaz, who has comfortably been Liverpool’s best player this season, reportedly left the Emirates Stadium in a knee brace after also being forced off due to injury. Both big blows for Liverpool in their upcoming games against Glasgow Rangers & Manchester City this week.
It was a very disappointing display from Liverpool in the 2nd half. Personally, I thought Liverpool were the far better side in the 1st half, which is why I was left baffled as to why Liverpool came out in the 2nd half to play the way they did. There was no intensity, no desire to push on for the win & ultimately the reds left with what they deserved. Nothing.
I have stood by the manager when things have gone wrong, but his substitutions were very questionable yesterday. When you’re searching for a winning goal, yet he decided to substitute Mohammed Salah for Fabinho, to then play Jordan Henderson at right midfield for the last twenty minutes, showed me that he was scared of Arsenal & was content with a point.
This shows how far Liverpool have dropped off in just a year. Liverpool were unbeaten against the gunners in four games last season. Winning three of them and drawing one which was a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the Carabao Cup Semi Final. Liverpool scored six goals against them in that time, whilst conceding none. Yet if we fast forward into October 2022, Arsenal now look like a team that Liverpool should aim to play like. Which is just simply not good enough from everybody involved.