Liverpool were nothing if not outstanding against Arsenal. Let nobody
say anything different and it’s important because, as usual and
typically, there are plenty out there who’d rather denigrate the
Klopp’s team pressed the Gunners relentlessly into submission. Whether by accident or design, the visitors could not get out of their own defensive area as one clearance after another kept coming back.
It was a strange tactic by Arsenal that allowed Trent and Robbo to raid the flanks unchallenged while their fullbacks retreated into the penalty area. For most of the first half it worked in as much as countless blocks – many of them brave ones – succeeded in keeping the Reds out. It surely couldn’t go on for ever – and it didn’t. I don’t think the fans were even getting frustrated because the feeling was that something would surely give, so much were Liverpool in the ascendancy.
Football can be a strange game and for all the Reds’ splendidly fast and slick possession game, it was a very basic Matip header from a corner that broke the deadlock.
Salah meanwhile, had not been in the game much during that first half, but during a scintillating Liverpool spell early in the second half, he scored twice. First, Luiz pulled his shirt just as the Egyptian would surely have scored providing the same player with the chance to lash the resultant penalty high into the top corner.
Luiz it was soon after, who got too close to Mo but found he couldn’t even perform a technical foul having been booked for the penalty earlier. Immediately there followed a characteristic race to goal and a clinical finish.
Liverpool were nothing if not unrelenting, though Arsenal, through their Manager, Unai Emery, made no effort to change tactics. Only in the last 15 minutes did Liverpool ease down, probably through predictable fatigue, and frustrate themselves by conceding a needless consolation.
Liverpool won’t be able to play so impressively every game and, indeed, they’ll doubtless this week be going through the drills at Melwood, hopefully ready to combat Burnley’s thuggery at Turf Moor next week.
As if by a curse, the weather is set to be wet and windy for our visit to one of the most exposed grounds in the land and against Sean Dyche’s horrible style of route one football. I cannot for the life of me figure why he has so many sympathisers in the media. Let’s hope for a strong referee (it’s Chris Kavanagh; mmm – jury out!)
At least, that’s one positive side effect of VAR as we saw on Saturday. Not convinced Anthony Taylor, on past record, would have given us the penalty had he not been under the closer scrutiny.
Still, Turf Moor’s to come. Right now, it’s a pleasure for fans to bask in the joy of watching our team play with such an incredible verve, energy and enthusiasm. We pay to be entertained and on Saturday, sheer enjoyment is what we got!
‘We Won It Six Times’ by Mike Hopper
Available on Amazon