Wednesday went how I kind of expected then.
We competed for nearly an hour, but then Liverpool’s quality showed.
It was a bit of a sliding doors moment. Alisson made a world class save to deny Martin Odergaard, then minutes later Aaron Ramsdale let in a soft attempt from Diego Jota.
On Ramsdale, I have seen a few fans get on his back in recent weeks. This is just crazy and I put it down to these fans searching for an outlandish opinion to appear edgy, to appear different.
Ramsdale is a class keeper and we should be delighted to have him.
Wednesday showed why Liverpool are chasing the title and we are chasing top 4.
Despite our clear and obvious improvements this season, they are still better than us in every department.
Take Alisson and Ramsdale.
Ramsdale is a fantastic young keeper, but Alisson is just that level above. He is a world class performer.
And across the pitch it is very much the same.
Gabriel is fantastic, but Virgil van Dijk is better. Bukayo Saka is fantastic, but Mo Salah is better. Gabriel Martinelli is fantastic. But Sadio Mane is better.
The exciting thing though is that everyone in the Arsenal team is young and will improve.
Ramsdale, Gabriel, Saka, Martinelli, etc should be looking at their elder Liverpool counterparts and believing that they can reach that level. And if they do (and remain at Arsenal), we will be title contenders sooner rather than later.
Even at management level, Jurgen Klopp is a better manager than Mikel Arteta. But Klopp is 54 and has managed close to 1,000 games. Arteta is 39 and managed 120.
Like in the playing department, as long as Arteta keeps working on himself he will become one of the best managers in world football.
The strength of the benches also showed the gulf between the teams.
Liverpool were able to bring on the likes of Mo Salah and Firmino. They also had the likes of Konata, Kieta and Gomes on the bench.
Meanwhile Arsenal had a bench of mainly youngsters.
Yes, some might say we only have ourselves to blame having let go so many senior players over the last 8 to 10 months. But this was needed.
Arteta and Edu needed to rebuild what was an underperforming, overpaid squad.
To do that they first needed to get rid of those senior players that were costing us too much on and off the pitch.
Now that many of these have been shipped out, we can continue the rebuild that started last summer. Focusing on signing those young, hungry players.
Liverpool again show us the way in how to do this.
Look at the transfer activity from when Klopp took over in 2015.
Out went older, underperforming players, and in came younger, more talented ones.
This continued for a couple of years. Every player that left was replaced by someone younger and better.
They spent a year out of Europe as they finished as low as 8th, and then rebuilt to finish 4th a couple of times in a row.
In his 3rd full season Klopp lead his side to Champions League victory and his 4th full season they won the Premier League.
Now next year will be Arteta’s 3rd full season. I am not expecting him to win us the Champions League.
But Liverpool show that when you have a good manager, good coaching and a good transfer policy, you can compete with those mega-rich clubs.
As long as Arteta continues to improve those young players (and himself) and Edu continues to buy better players than what we are selling, the gap to Liverpool and Manchester City will continue to close.
The race for top 4 will be tight. But we are still leading the way.
On to Aston Villa.