In one of their best displays in recent memory, Liverpool thrashed Arsenal at Anfield Road this Sunday. Thanks to an inspired performance from Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, The Reds dominated the game entirely and defeated Arsenal by a convincing 4-0 score. The Reds suddenly look like a team capable of posing a title challenge, while The Gunners keep sinking week after week.
Here are four things we learned from the Reds’ win over the Gunners at Anfield Road.
No Coutinho? No Problem!
There has been a lot of talk regarding Philippe Coutinho over the summer. The Brazilian playmaker has been tipped with a move to FC Barcelona, but so far nothing has happened. And amid the transfer rumours around him, he is yet to play with The Reds this season. Considering how good Coutinho was last season, many expected Liverpool to suffer on the attack. But if we considering their early performances as the benchmark, it is safe to say Jurgen Klöpp has not missed the playmaker thus far.
Against Arsenal, Liverpool netted four times and the attacking trio was in full display. Firmino and Salah contributed with a goal and an assist each, Sadio Mane added another strike, and Daniel Sturridge came off the bench to bag a goal of his own as well. The Reds have scored 14 times in just five games, and only a few days ago they netted four times against Hoffenheim in the UEFA Champions League play-off round.
Sure, having Coutinho would make Liverpool an even more dangerous team. But it is not like Liverpool REALLY need him. Not anymore, it seems.
Alexis Sanchez Staying at Arsenal
If the Coutinho transfer saga remains alive, it seems the one involving Alexis Sanchez and Arsenal is over. The Chilean winger missed the first two games of the season with an abdominal injury, but he returned to the starting XI in this one. Unfortunately, he did not look accurate and was far from becoming a legit threat. In fact, he left the pitch in the 62nd minute and was replaced by Olivier Giroud.
Considering Alexis can’t play for other Premier League side since he already debuted for Arsenal, it seems is either PSG or bust for the Chilean’s aspirations of leaving the Emirates Stadium this summer. And if we consider PSG are on the verge of adding Kylian Mbappe and already signed Neymar, things do not look good. As such, we should expect Sanchez to remain with The Gunners until the end of the season.
Arsenal missed an incredible opportunitity to raise some aditional funds to their transfer budget by not selling Sanchez. Which leads us to…
The Gunners Need To Spend If They Want To Mount A Top-Four Challenge
…Arsenal’s imperative need of bringing talent to the squad. Last season was not a fluke, and it seems Arsenal’s days as a bonafide Top 4 team in the English Premier League are all but over. They seem to be a few echelons below Chelsea, Manchester City, and Manchester United. Even Liverpool and Tottenham seem to be better equipped than The Gunners to mount a title challenge.
With a squad like this and no viable reinforcements coming any time soon, Arsenal seem likely to fight for a Europa League spot. They do not look good, especially on defence, and their lack of talent and leadership could easily expose them against better sides. Last week’s defeat against Stoke City might have been a sign of things to come. But this loss against Liverpool was a worst-case scenario. The team looked outmatched defensively, outmuscled in midfield, and they lacked ideas to generate any sort of danger offensively.
All things considered, it might be a long year at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsene Wenger Lost This Game Before It Even Started
If we look at how both teams started the game, it was Arsene Wenger committed a huge mistake. One he never tried to solve, and when he realised, it was simply too late. The 3-4-2-1 tactic did not work as expected, and it exposed Arsenal at all times. Because even though the game ended 4-0, Liverpool could have added at least two more goals had Mane being a bit more accurate on the attacking third.
Wenger forced his three defenders – Rob Holding, Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal – to play one-on-one against Salah, Firmino and Mane, respectively. We all saw the result, and this is an experiment Wenger can’t repeat in the near future. He does not have the adequate players to use a three-men defensive unit. At least not after what we saw today.
Liverpool: Karius; Gomez, Matip, Lovren, Moreno; Emre Can (Grujic, 84′), Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino (Milner, 80′), Mane (Sturridge, 74′)
Arsenal: Cech; Holding, Koscielny, Monreal; Oxlade-Chamberlain (Lacazette, 62′), Ramsey (Coquelin, 46′), Xhaka, Bellerin; Özil, Alexis (Giroud, 62′); Welbeck
Goals: 1-0, Firmino (17′, LIV); 2-0, Mane (40′, LIV), 3-0, Salah (57′, LIV), 4-0, Sturridge (77′, LIV)
Yellow Cards: Lovren (20′, LIV), Welbeck (22′, ARS), Gomez (23′, LIV), Xhaka (40′, LIV), Özil (49′, ARS), Holding (73′, ARS)
Referee: Craig Pawson
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