Match Report: Liverpool 3 – 1 Arsenal

Liverpool (1) 3 Arsenal (0) 1
Premier League
Anfield Stadium, Anfield Rd, Liverpool L4 0TH
Saturday, 24th August 2019. Kick-off time: 5.30pm
(4-2-3-1) Bernd Leno; Ainsley Maitland-Niles, David Luiz, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Nacho Monreal; Mattéo Guendouzi, Granit Xhaka; Joe Willock, Nicolas Pépé, Dani Ceballos; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Substitutes: Emiliano Martínez, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Alexandre Lacazette, Lucas Torreira, Calum Chambers, Reiss Nelson, Sead Kolašinac.
Scorers: Lucas Torreira (85 min)
Yellow Cards: David Luiz
Arsenal Possession Percentage: 47%
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Attendance 53,298
Despite our poor record in the past few years at Anfield, overall, it was a better performance than the scoreline suggests. After all, it won’t be every week that we meet the European champions at their spiritual home, nor will we be overawed by the cacophony of their supporters either. But Arsenal did enough this afternoon to suggest that once our new signings bed in properly and get used to the general sturm und drang of the Premiership, then we will be a force to be reckoned with again.
The match itself started in the time prescribed manner that most away teams face at the Anfield Stadium; high intesity play bolstered by incredible vocal support by their crowd. Somehow we managed to weather the storm admirably, and it has to be said that early on in the game, both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and the stunning new kid in town, Ivory Coast international, 24-year-old Nicolas Pépé came close to opening the account in our favour.
Wow. And when was the last time that you saw anyone dribble (yes, dribble) past Virgil van Dijk or cause this often impenetrable defence so many issues? Mark my words, Nicolas Pépé will be truly indespensible to us over the course of time. Overall, our first half play was mainly one of containment, with occasional smash-and-grab raids on Adrián’s goal, which led to several heart-stopping moments with our strikers becoming dangerously close to scoring. It also has to be said that when Liverpool took the lead just five minutes before the break, it was against the run of play at that time. A deceptive Trent Alexander-Arnold corner whipped in to our six-yeard box, and in the ensuing confusion that so often occurs in these situations, the man we didn’t think would score, Joël Matip, actually did. There should really have been a VAR inquest because Mattéo Guendouzi was held in a headlock as the ball flew into the Arsenal net, but the referee didn’t appear to have neither the appetite nor the necessary desire to request one.
Whatever happened at half-time, one can merely speculate, but whatever was said, Liverpool appeared to benefit from the manager’s talk more than we did. Less than five minutes after the restart, David Luiz appeared tohave a rush of blood to the head and tug at Reds’ striker Mo Salah’s shirt; everyone from Ireland to India (let alone those in the stadium) could see that it was a blatant penalty, so with no further ado, the bantam Egyptian international wasted no time in extending his team’s lead. Ten minutes later it was all over; Mo Salah slipped past David Luiz on the touchline in an almost ghost-like manner, and just seconds later drilled the ball past Bernd Leno into the corner of the Arsenal net following a truly unstoppable run towards the goal.
But still we never gave up, unlike in previous years at Anfield. Despite being three down, Arsenal constantly made huge efforts to construct movements in the opposition half, and it was one of these that led to our goal. Lucas Torreira (one of our three substitutes that were introduced late to the party) managed to get the ball past Adrián with just five minutes left on the clock. Despite some late frenetic activity, we were unable to add any more goals to the tally, so regretfully we returned to North London with no points on the board, although we still remained second in the Premiership, behind the victors of this contest in Liverpool today.
Despite the disappointment, there were some good things to take away from Anfield. We had desire, structure and a team ethic that we haven’t seen in an Arsenal side at Anfield for quite a while now; and in Nicolas Pépé, we have a real star in the making here. And we had 47% possession too; keep those heads up! Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as this season is going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Our next match: Tottenham Hotspur at The Emirates on Sunday, 1st September at 4.30pm (Premier League). Be there. Victoria Concordia Crescit.

Steve

Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon.

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2 thoughts on “Match Report: Liverpool 3 – 1 Arsenal

  1. Olanrewaju

    You gave the match report like a commentator with no stake in it. Somehow, you forgot (or deliberately refused) to comment on the “whys”. Why the manager chose to bench Laca for 80 minutes in such a game. And Torreira? If he knew at a point he would stop containing Liverpool, why not go full throttle at start of second half? We all saw Ceballos was struggling, he should have been substituted earlier. I think the manager, not the boys, missed the points.

    Reply

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