Liverpool 2-0 Arsenal: Match Report

Liverpool defeated Champions League rivals Arsenal 3-1 this week thanks to goals from Roberto Firmino, Sadie Mané and Georginio Wijnaldum at Anfield.

Manager Jürgen Klopp made one change at the heart of the defence by bringing Ragnar Klavan inplace of Lucas Leiva.

Emre Can continued to start in Liverpool’s midfield in the absence of captain Jordan Henderson also.

From the start Liverpool turned the clock back 2 weeks to the performance against another top six side when we beat Spurs all over the pitch.

Today the first half was exactly that again. Adam Lallana along with Sadio Mané were immense in the first half.

Philippe Couthino and Firmino were on top form and continually found themselves in space between the back lines of the  Arsenal defence causing havoc and being allowed to turn and run at them.

Lallana in particular was all over the pitch harassing and breaking up play and setting Mané and Firmino up with good quality and he was always first when it came to regaining possessio.

The fact that Liverpool went in at the break leading by two goals was the least they deserved such was their dominance and overall play in the first half.

Simon Mignolet had virtually nothing of note to deal with apart from having to come for the couple of floated crosses aimed for Giroud at the back post.

On nine minutes Mignolet kicked long and Firmino went up to challenege for the header and actually won a good flick on that fell to Lallana in alot of space he was able to turn and feed the ball out wide to Sadio Mané. He controlled it and drilled a cross in from the right side low. Couthino missed his chance but with Firmino behind him after following his own move into the box he was able be to control the ball and lift it high up into the net over the desperate lunge from Petr Cech in goals.

A goal produced from great flowing, fast football and movement that left the Arsenal defence looking like they had been nailed to the ground.

The second goal came on 40 mins when James Milner and Georghino Wijnaldum exchanged passes on the left wing to get the ball to the edge of the box and to Firmino. He turned quickly and switched play right across the box with a  clever and quick low pass out wide to the free Mane who was able to drive the ball back across the path of Petr Cech to score.

Half time came with a two goal lead and while Liverpool looked like they would cruise past another top team yet again.

Arsene Wenger looked like he was expecting to be hounded for his decision to leave his best player, Sanchez on the bench for this game.

Sanchez did start the second half in place of Francis Coquelin and immediately he began to have an effect on the game and the confidence of Arsenal.

His presence alone meant that Nathaniel Clyne was not able to bomb forward like he did previously and he was a visible threat on the break with his pace and skill.

After a better start to the second half Arsenal did score on 56 minutes when Danny Welbeck chipped the ball home over the top of a diving Mignolet who came out maybe a bit too early to block a narrow angle shot.

Welbeck had been played in down the side of Clyne by the clever Sanchez and it was a good finish also by the striker.

Arsenal now had a visible lift and they enjoyed more of the ball too than the home team.

Liverpool for their part were able to sit back to an extent and try to pick their times to explode forward and break on an Arsenal side now pushing forward.

Divock Origi came onto the field on 75 minutes to replace the excellent Couthino and was pushed right up top to hold the ball up and try to bring the midfielders into the game again.

He did this to good effect on 81 minutes when he got onto the end of a ball hacked long by Emre Can and was able to draw a foul in doing so.

From the free kick he got his head onto the ball right in the centre of the box only to see his deft flick come back off the post with the goalkeeper beaten.

By now Arsenal had made all their changes available with both Theo Walcott and Lucas Perez on the pitch and were pushing forward, leaving gaps behind in an effort to sneak a point from the game.

This was to lead to Liverpools third and final goal on 90 minutes when Winjaldum got on the end of a good cross from Divock Origi to score from inside the box at the far post having tracked the move well.

Adam Lallana deserves a special mention here as he played the ball out wide to Origi but only after he turned in central field to give Origi the time to get back onside before playing him through. It was class and vision personified.

Emre Can has been the butt of some of my own frustration here recently but today he was excellent all over the pitch in passing and tracking back also.

He was lucky not to see a second yellow also with a foul on Walcott but overall he was on top form.

This win puts Liverpool back up into third  place on the league although it may be only momentarily but it does also show that the upcoming games against Manchester City and Everton will be crucial in efforts to get top four this season.

Out record against top six teams now stand at 9 games played with 19 points taken from those games. By far the best on that mini league and with only Manchester City left to play from that top six group it looks encouraging.

Some of the other top teams have more games to play against their closest rivals and no doubt they will drop points against each other where hopefully we will be able to gain points alongside them.

Another good win but a frustrating display also when you take into account the fact we were so poor last time out against a weaker side.

The Jeckel and Hyde performances still exist but this was good today and hopefully the next few big games will be just what we need to blow out those cob webs and get back to form.

Written by @StephenKimg75

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