The fixture at Anfield is one that always produces goals, and this one did not fail in delivering as Liverpool exercised their mettle against Arteta’s men by beating them comprehensively 3 goals to 1.
New signing from Wolves, Diogo Jota, debuted for the home side and got the third goal for Liverpool that killed Arsenal off.
Arsenal named a line up that raised a few eyebrows as names like Ceballos, Saka, and new boy Gabriel were on the bench with David Luiz coming back into the side. They preferred Willian to Pepe, and they maintained Elneny in midfield alongside Xhaka.
The line up proved to be their undoing as Willian had only 8 touches in the whole of the first half. But that wasn’t the fault of the lineup, as it was the pressure and intensity that Liverpool applied in the game.
Arsenal was the one to strike first, with Lacazette capitalizing on a rare defensive error that gifted Arsenal the lead. But 3 minutes later, they were pegged back by Sadio Mane, who has been in blistering form since this season began.
Kieran Tierney, who has been a decent defender since he came out of injury, did not look comfortable the entire game as Trent Alexander Arnold and Mo Salah terrorized him whenever the ball was placed on the left side of the field. And in due course, the cross came in from that end, with Robertson putting the second at the back of the net.
Arsenal showed resilience. That much credit must be given to them. But misplaced long balls and panic passes in defense only added the already intense pressure to the burden of equalizing and getting something from the game. They came close. 2 times.
After they introduced Ceballos into the game, he immediately changed the outlook of the defense, as there was suddenly a creative spark in the engine room for Arsenal. Twice, this man placed a defense splitting through the pass to Lacazette. Twice Lacazette failed to convert. Had he scored, the scoreline may have ended in Arsenal’s favor or a 3 – 3 draw.
But he let his team down. When he was subbed off, the cameras showed his reaction when he took his seat. He knew he had wasted the precious chances his team had so defended with their lives on the line to produce.
Introducing Diogo Jota only caused Rob Holding more problems, as the new forward seamlessly slotted into the forward line as if he’d been playing Liverpool since they became the team they are.
The improvement of the quality of depth at Merseyside should scare all their opponents. Because now their subs are something to worry about if the first 11 are misfiring. It was his debut, and he scored in style after Salah’s selfishness denied him a goal-scoring opportunity minutes before.
How does Arsenal rise from their ruins? Well, on Thursday they face Liverpool again in the EFL Cup. It could go from bad to worse in 1 week with 2 wins being scratched off with 2 defeats potentially.
As for Liverpool, as Klopp said, they aren’t defending their title – they are attacking it. Next team, please.