AN ATTACKING SHOWCASE

AN ATTACKING SHOWCASE

Liverpool recorded a thumping 4-0 win over Arsenal at Anfield on Saturday evening in the Premier League thanks to goals form Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota, Mo Salah and Takumi Minamino.

 

 

Liverpool started the match on the front foot, pressing high and chasing Mikel Arteta’s side deep into their own half. Mane looked particularly sharp and ‘up for it’ as he made Ben White make an early mistake but Mo Salah could only fire wide from the edge of the box.

The Reds had most of the ball for the opening quarter of an hour but Arsenal continued to carry a bit of a threat through their dynamic young duo of Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka. Summer signing Takehiro Tomiyasu also had one of his better games for the Gunners, causing problems to Liverpool left-back Konstantinos Tsimikas.

Arsenal threatened on the break but it was Jurgen Klopp’s side who had the first big clear-cut chance of the match. Trent Alexander-Arnold swung in a trademark undefendable cross which was met well by Thiago on the volley. The Spaniard’s shot though was straight at Ramsdale who spilled it into the oncoming Mane’s path but recovered miraculously to block and keep the scores level.

 

 

It seemed as though Arsenal had responded in staunch fashion with Alexandre Lacazette firing the ball home from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s squared pass. The Gabon forward though was offside when Smith-Rowe played him in with a delightful back-heel pass.

The focus soon shifted to the dugouts as Jurgen Klopp and Mikel Arteta were engaged in a heated shouting encounter that led to both managers being showed a yellow card. The match was just that much more spicier after that incident as both teams looked to draw first blood.

Liverpool continued to look the more threatening side and Ramsdale made another outstanding stop, this time from Salah. Tsimikas was played through by Mane who cut it back to the Egyptian but Ramsdale got down well to deny the league’s top-scorer.

 

 

The Englishman was in action again soon, tipping over Alexander-Arnold’s shot but was helpless when Mane got a free header from the right-back’s delivery from a free-kick. Arsena tried to respond but the home side went into the break a goal up.

They continued to keep the pressure on after the interval with former Arsenal man Oxlade-Chamberlain curling his shot just wide from the edge of the box five minutes after the restart. And they were soon 2-0 up thanks to a poor error from Nuno Tavares and a moment of brilliance Diogo Jota.

The Arsenal left-back gave the ball away at the edge of the box with a poor pass straight to Jota and the Portuguese sat down two Gunners defenders and Ramsdale before firing home to make things more comfortable for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

 

 

That however did not stop them from taking their foot off the gas as Ramsdale again made a sharp stop from Mane who volleyed brilliantly on the turn. The English keeper was then very active and brave in diving at Jota’s feet as Liverpool broke quickly from midfield.

Arsenal finally got a hold on the ball after the hour mark and played some nice combinations of passes, with Lacazette’s splitting through ball to his strike-partner Aubameyang being one that stood out exceptionally. Aubameyang though was denied by Alisson in the Liverpool goal who had his angles covered.

Jota almost had his second only for Ramsdale to pull off heroics again. The Portuguese had a great opportunity after Salah squared across the penalty spot for him but his shot was met with a strong palm by the Arsenal goalkeeper to keep his team barely in the league.

 

 

Salah had surprisingly been the facilitator on the evening so far but it was his turn for the spotlight as he made it 3-0 in the 73rd minute. A drilled simple move starting from Alisson was finished off by Salah from Mane’s low cross to put the game beyond any doubt.

Substitute Takumi Minamino put the icing on the cake just seconds after coming on after another fast break by Liverpool. Mane and Salah had some neat interplay before the latter played in Alexander-Arnold who squared for Minamino to tap-in to an empty net.

The match tumbled to a dull end as Anfield celebrated another thumping victory over a big 6 rival after Liverpool’s 5-0 win against Manchester United a few weeks ago. Here are our key takeaways from the match –

 

WHO NEEDS BOBBY?

Roberto Firmino has looked good when he has played but he has only started five matches so far this season and missed out again on Saturday with an injury. However, it is looking increasingly clear that Diogo Jota is the man to replace him not only in the long-term but in the present as well.

 

 

Jota had a big impact after his transfer form Wolves last season but he was not as effective in his build-up play as Firmino. This season though the Portuguese attacker has improved on that aspect of his game as well and now looks like an integral part of a fluid and effective Liverpool attack.

 

KLOPP DEFLATES ARTETA

Such is the fickle nature of football that Mikel Arteta, who was on the verge of being sacked according to the never-ending rumour churners earlier this season, was awarded the manager of the month in September after an upturn in form. However, Jurgen Klopp’s side exposed Arteta and Arsenal’s weaknesses comprehensively, showing very much that they have a long long way to go before they can consider themselves to even be a lock for European football.

 

 

The two managers were involved in a spat over a challenge by Sadio Mane on Tomiyasu and Kloppp will enjoy this win just that tad bit more after that altercation. Arsenal have spent heavily in recent seasons but their inferiority was on display against Liverpool and one must ask how much of that is on Arteta?

 

RAMSDALE SHINES AGAIN

Aaron Ramsdale’s transfer was a matter of much scrutiny given the fee and his record over the past two seasons but it has turned out to be a matter of huge vindication for Arsenal in recent weeks. He turned in another world-class performance after a jaw-dropping display against Leicester City a few weeks ago.

 

 

The 23-year old made multiple saves that kept Arsenal in the game for a long time but he was sold out short by the rest of his side. If he can keep this form up then it will not be surprising to see him usurp Jordan Pickford as England’s number one.

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