After what seemed like a very long international break, this fixture was hopefully going to provide some sort of excitement from both teams, but for Arsenal, the absence of key players Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo proved costly as Jurgen Klopp’s side comfortably created chances and scored three past an Arsenal side who seemed to have focused all their efforts onto their Europa League campaign.
The game started off fairly slowly, with both teams sharing possession and no chances being created, but after efforts from James Milner and Fabihno ten minutes into the game, the Liverpool dominance began and Arsenal looked lost and even scared to try and get the ball into the final third.
Liverpool’s chances in the first saw the scoreline remain 0-0 until halftime, with Arsenal’s only burst of energy into the box resulting in a poor header from Nicolas Pepe which was comfortably handled by Alisson.
Liverpool’s closest chance of the half came when Milner found himself unmarked in the box, only for his strike to go wide, much to him and his teammates’ frustration.
Liverpool’s dominance rolled over into the second half and they were finally rewarded for their strong performance through substitute Diogo Jota who got onto the end of a wonderful cross from Trent Alexandar-Arnold and the visitors deservedly took the lead.
Mohammed Salah was on target four minutes later after Fabihno chipped the ball over Arsenal’s defence and the Egyptian winger scored his 18th goal of the season from six yards out.
Arsenal were unable to keep hold of the ball for any substantial amount of time and the visitors continued to punish them, with Jota scoring his second of the night after Sadio Mane couldn’t control the ball in the box, but the Portuguese striker was on hand to score the side’s third goal and take home the three points.
An utterly frustrating night for the Gunners and Arteta and maybe one of the worst performances of the season, with the team showing no desire to fight and unfortunately no positives can be taken from this game, just negatives, so here is what I thought of the game…
ESR and Saka carry Arsenal
Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka were both absent in last night’s game at the Emirates and it really showed in Arsenal’s performance.
Saka has arguably been Arsenal’s best player this season alongside Smith-Rowe who was chucked in at the deep end by Mikel Arteta but has handled games very well.
The absence of these two players meant Arsenal found it very tricky to get any fluidity to their game or travel up the pitch into the final third, with Arsenal having three total shots on goal compared to Liverpool’s 16 and creating two chances compared to the visitors’ 12.
Loanee Martin Odegaard, who has excited Arsenal fans as of recent and looks to possibly sign a permanent contract with the club in the summer looked lost in midfield. He didn’t get the reception from Dani Ceballos, Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang like he does from the youngsters like Smith-Rowe and Saka.
The Norwegian was unable to produce flare going forward and he found it very hard to stand out in the game, creating zero chances throughout. Liverpool were able to close the 22-year old chance whenever he had hold of the ball and they prevented him from attacking.
Hopefully, this performance has made Arteta realise he relies too much on certain players and they will get Injured, so you have to know how to deal effectively with that because most of that team did not look like they wanted to be out on the pitch fighting for the team.