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Football News: Liverpool v Arsenal - A Liverpool Perspective

Liverpool v Arsenal - A Liverpool Perspective
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Liverpool v Arsenal A Liverpool Perspective


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That was exactly the reaction needed after the debacle against West Ham United last time out. That was a team with belief in what they are asked to do and that are fully behind each other and their manager, up against a team that have been on a good run but clearly do not have the same belief in their plan of action. Arsenal folded because they are fragile, they were on a good run due to having better individuals than their opponents in recent games, without that advantage they showed how little of a team they are.

When Arteta and Klopp tangled on the sidelines, Klopp's team rose to the occasion, the crowd got behind them and they put Arteta back in his place as an poor manager with a lack of understanding of the game. That is Liverpool's key strength, they are a team, they are together as a group and they stand together. When that press gets going, it is a full-on, all-guns-blazing, powerhouse that applies pressure in a way that stifles good players and makes average players panic. Though Arsenal's way of playing plays into the press's hands making it easy to box them in and force errors, which helps Liverpool to a large degree.

The press was targeted on the weak links, Lokonga and whenever the ball went out wide, where the sideline can act as a block too, and it showed they are weak links under pressure. It was pleasing to watch because it was not a case of just hopefully chasing around, it was back to the way a press should work, waiting for the right moment to swarm the opponent. This was organised and considered, with no excess effort required to pick up a very easy win.




For all the praise Arteta and Ramsdale have been getting recently, it was noticeable that both failed badly when put under genuine pressure. Arteta lost his cool and only succeeded in getting the crowd going. His only tactic seemed to be to target Mane and hope to get him sent off, as he certainly had no plan for how to get back into the game once they had conceded. Sitting back and hitting on the counter is fine if you score first, but you need to change it when you go behind, but he has absolutely no idea how to do so. It is the same bumbling it around at the back that his team have done since he took over.

As for Ramsdale, he made a couple of decent saves, only to let in the easiest shot of the match. Lately he has been getting far too carried away with his new 'role' as cheerleader and it seems he believes his own hype as he was struggling with his distribution too. Or, in my belief, he was just showing the same old failings of being fine when there is little real pressure, but put under genuine pressure and he folds. It does not help that Arteta wants him to play it short, which meant he was only putting his defenders under pressure on the ball. There was also what looked like an odd decision to have a defender take a goal kick and play it to Ramsdale to kick. What was the point in that? It is just risking a miskick or bobble from a moving ball. Bizarre.

I have read and heard so much about how Arsenal are improving under Arteta in recent weeks, but what I saw in this game was the same old Gunners playing the same old Arteta way. They are still a bunch of very good individual players in a system that does not really suit them. There is a real lack of thought among the coaching staff as to what to do differently when it is not working. The same old Lacazette off, Odegaard on as Arteta has used regularly, with no real difference made to the play. It just showed how lacking in any tactical acumen he is. It was just carry on as you were, in the true tradition of the old Carry On movies.




Klopp - it was not much of a challenge to him and his coaching staff to be honest, but they clearly had organised when and where to press and it worked to a tee. It was yet another game this season where Liverpool strolled to an easy victory simply by playing their way so well it was almost unstoppable.


Alisson - when required he pulled out a save but, as usual with him, he made it look routine and did not need to go fist pumping to the crowd like his opposite number. Saves that other keepers would not make or would make look spectacular because they would be flat out to produce, Allison makes them look simple. Maybe to him they are?


Alexander-Arnold - he was given far too much space to get balls in and it cost Arsenal badly. With the quality of his delivery, it is asking for trouble to allow him to put balls into the box. Defensively he was not tested at all. I did not watch the England game against San Marino, but I would be surprised if that was any easier a match for Alexander-Arnold than this was.


Matip - virtually untroubled and was able to push up with Arsenal so toothless. It was not really a day to judge a centre-back's ability!


van Dijk - a stroll in the park, his kit would not have even needed a wash. When he was called upon, he showed the pace is still there to get to the ball.


Tsimikas - Saka did try to test him a bit and they looked to push onto him when he had the ball to a degree, but he dealt with it well and put in a performance reminiscent of Robertson on a good day. Except for his delivery, which is a class above Robertson's and close to being on a par with Alexander-Arnold's. He showed energy, determination, drive and linked really well with Mane.


Fabinho - the main reason why Matip and van Dijk had almost nothing to do was Fabinho, who was absolutely immense in the centre of the park. He broke up pretty much every single attack the Gunners tried to get going and also managed to get forward when the chance presented itself. It was a top class performance that set the tone for the team.


Oxlade-Chamberlain - he had a very good game against his old side. Whether it is a case of him getting back to form now he is getting some regular minutes in the team or just about raising his game against his former team I have no idea. It was good to see him play so well though and he was arguably the best player on the pitch in the first half. He looked lively on the ball, always trying to make stuff happen, but also pressed well high up the pitch. In the second half his level did drop off a touch, but he was no doubt tiring as he put so much in early on.


Thiago - he had a very good game, his control of the tempo allows Liverpool to take charge of a game and keep the pressure on. Thiago get the ball and he usually holds onto it under pressure before picking a pass. Usually not the Hollywood pass that fans want to see, but more often than not it is the correct pass instead.


Mane - Tomiyasu has been getting a lot of plaudits since his arrival, but he was given a lesson in this game and Mane ran him ragged. The Arsenal players were trying their hardest to rile Mane up and get him to react, but, while he was physical, he kept it the right side of the line to ensure it was the Arsenal team and bench that reacted rather than him. A goal and an assist is not a bad day's work for a forward either!


Salah - once again he scored and caused havoc despite being constantly double and triple teamed when he got the ball. They could not cope with him at all, though there is no shame in that as Salah is that good no one can cope with him when he is anywhere near his top form. To address the potential penalty issue, I think the ref got it right myself by giving no call. Salah was overbalanced and Gabriel did pull him back slightly making him go over the leg, but it was not because Gabriel yanked him hard or anything, it was due to him being already unbalanced. It was not a dive either, so I would agree with the referee's assessment.


Jota - once again he looked a weak link in the middle, but then he pops up and scores and after that played a lovely header through. He is such an infuriating player as he can go on a lovely dribble, beat a few players before giving the ball away fluffing the easiest five yard pass possible. I am still not convinced he ideally suits the central role, he looks much better when he drifts out wide, but it may come in time as he is showing good signs of improvement in his off the ball work. He has made huge strides in his understanding of the press, which played a big part in the team being able to pen Arsenal in and pick off errors.


Henderson - replaced Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 76th minute. Managed to show a fair bit in the short time he was on the pitch, played a couple of very nice passes. He was a little more restrained that Oxlade-Chamberlain had been in the first half, but the game was won and it was just a stroll, so there was no need for him to take risks.


Minamino - was brought on in the 76th minute to take Jota's place. It was nice to see him score again. He is beginning to look like the player LFC thought they were getting from RB Salzburg. Minamino is beginning to look a very viable fifth option for the front three positions as well as a midfield berth. That versatility could play against him or for him in the future, only time will tell, but right now it makes him very useful.


Morton replaced Thiago in the 84th minute. While he was not exactly under pressure to perform with the game won when he came on, but still he impressed. Morton was always looking to get the ball and wanted to do something but never made the mistake of trying to force something to happen. That is a mistake a lot of youngsters make as they are so desperate to impress.

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Written by Tris Burke November 23 2021 01:14:31


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