Liverpool as impressive as Arsenal are poor in easy win at the Emirates2 min read
Not good enough for England? Really? Alexander-Arnold played like a man with a point to prove. It was a statement performance, a reminder of his quality. With Arsenal defending deep and resolutely for an hour, it was Alexander-Arnold who played the delivery that opened them up.
“Outstanding,” said Klopp. “When you play like Trent played tonight, fully in the game, then you can do these things. He is a world class player, and not only offensively. Does he always perform world class? No. I don’t know a player who does. But it is his potential.”
Arsenal had no answer to Alexander-Arnold’s energy on the right wing, and they had no response to Mohamed Salah and Jota’s superb finishing after the break. Mikel Arteta’s side were missing a series of key players, yes, but this team is certainly capable of playing far better than this. Arsenal were cowed, unable to get out of their own half or play their own game.
“I am in shock,” said Arteta. “They were better in every department and deserved to win the game with the margin they had, or even more. I accept responsibility for the way we played. The basics were not there. If you do that against this kind of opponent, you get punished.”
Arsenal will of course be a more dangerous side when Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe return from injuries, although it will have troubled Arteta to see Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe play so woefully together. These are the three most expensive players in the club’s history, signed for a combined £175 million, yet this was their first start together all season. We might not see such a lineup again any time soon.
“I don’t care who is missing,” said Arteta, who was also without David Luiz and Granit Xhaka, and then lost Kieran Tierney to injury before half-time. “That’s an excuse. I hate excuses.”
No Premier League fixture has produced more goals over the years than this one, although it soon became clear that Arsenal had no intention of allowing it to be another open, chaotic affair.
Arteta’s side found success in this match last season by sitting deep and taking their chances when they came. On that night it was a sign of respect to Liverpool, then the league’s standout team, and further evidence of the gap in quality between the two clubs.
The circumstances have changed since then, but Arsenal were once again forced to adopt a similar strategy. They shrunk back, falling further and further away from the opposition goal, as Liverpool took control. “The result is the result of the performance,” said Klopp.
Fabinho, reinstated in midfield, was fundamental to Liverpool’s dominance. Every time Arsenal tried to escape, he locked them back up. James Milner twice went close, Sadio Mane forced a save from Bernd Leno and Roberto Firmino flashed wide from range before half-time.