Liverpool vs Arsenal result: Five things we learned

Liverpool vs Arsenal result: Five things we learned as Sadio Mane stars once again for Reds

Liverpool came from behind to comfortably beat Arsenal 3-1 at Anfield in the Premier League on Monday night.

The Reds were dominant throughout the entire first half, but fell behind to an Alexandre Lacazette goal after Andy Robertson’s attempted clearance was horribly sliced into the striker’s path.

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Arsenal’s lead lasted mere minutes, though, as Mohamed Salah tore through the defence, saw his shot saved and Sadio Mane tapped in the rebound. And Robertson atoned for his earlier error by putting the hosts ahead before half-time with a smart, close-range finish.

Mikel Arteta’s side were a little more adventurous after the break, but Lacazette saw a one-on-one saved by Alisson Becker before sub Diogo Jota had two late chances for Liverpool, one put wide and one put in to wrap up the points.

Here are five things we learned from the match at Anfield.

Liverpool celebrate Robertson’s goal
Liverpool celebrate Robertson’s goal(Pool via REUTERS)

Pragmatic Arteta

Mikel Arteta might want his side to play with attacking intent, a high pressing line and lots of quality all over the field, but he’s realistic enough to know they are not good enough to compete toe-to-toe with the best just yet.

In most of their matches under the rookie coach against the league’s top sides, this has been a familiar approach: a very deep block, 3-4-3 with the wing-backs becoming a five at every opportunity and waiting for chances to hit on the counter-attack or exploit opposition errors.

It has worked, in fairness; they beat Man City in the FA Cup semi-finals this way, beat Liverpool in the league last season this way – albeit with the Reds then celebrating a title win – and had them in front early on at Anfield.

But there are also limitations, of course, and without a stellar rearguard they remain susceptible to conceding under long spells of pressure…as also happened at Anfield.

Wing-back wars

There’s a battle at Liverpool every season now, friendly but with competitive rivalry nonetheless, with Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold attempting to provide most assists.

 

The Scot might want that to include goals this time around too, as he’s off and running first and ended last term with a strike too.

Robertson’s error gave Arsenal the lead, but he also put the Reds back in front – while, to add to the intrigue, the Reds’ equaliser came after Mohamed Salah had surged past Kieran Tierney, Robertson’s international team-mate and some-time left-back rival.

In a game of Arsenal’s wing-backs against Liverpool’s effective players of the same role, all four were the crucial outlets on the counter, providers of width and potential routes to goal – but the home side’s came out on top there.

Alexandre Lacazette capitalises on Andrew Robertson's error
Alexandre Lacazette capitalises on Andrew Robertson’s error(AP)

Super Sadio

His goal was a tap-in, but the rest of his performance was ludicrous.

Liverpool’s No. 10 was a relentless barrel of energy, a non-stop pressing machine of Arsenal’s defence, even from goal-kicks, and won the two-pronged battle against Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin single-handedly.

His movement off the ball was irrepressible, his ability to cut in and clip a pass or drive to goal unstoppable.

Kevin de Bruyne regularly wins plaudits for perhaps being the best player in the league, and certainly the best midfielder, but in attack that accolade belongs to the Senegalese Red.

He wasn’t best-pleased at being subbed off with 10 minutes to play, mind.

100 per cent club

Liverpool’s late third took them above Everton on goals scored, into second in the early table, with just three teams on three wins from three.

Leicester still top the league after their drubbing of Man City, but the Gunners had a 100 per cent record of their own heading into this encounter.

None of the league standings mean anything right now, but clocking up the wins certainly do.

It shouldn’t be forgotten: Liverpool first dropped points in the Premier League last season in mid-October, then didn’t do so again until the end of February.

That relentlessness only comes game by game, but the signs are already ominous for their top-flight rivals.

Absent Aubameyang

While the big chances of the night for Arsenal fell to Lacazette, the Gunners have placed much hope and faith for their regeneration in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

However, he’s a long way from being the man for the big occasion when it comes to games away from the Emirates and this proved no different.

The forward has scored just one goal now in 12 Premier League appearances away to the big six.

At Anfield, he didn’t have a single shot or make a single key pass, while completing only 42 per cent of his passes – to say he was on the periphery of events is putting it mildly.

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