Liverpool thrashed a dismal Arsenal side 5-1 at Anfield on Saturday evening to maintain their strong position at the top of the Premier League table. A Roberto Firmino hat-trick as well as goals from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah saw Jürgen Klopp’s side come from behind to cruise to victory. The Anfield Talk’s Lewis (@TizTaz99) looks at the talking points…
Reds go up the gears to turn match in their favour…
It’s something we have certainly seen in recent weeks, with Liverpool undoubtedly now having the ability to raise their game if and when required.
Cast your mind back a few months to performances like the one against Huddersfield, where it felt like the Reds were going through the motions and stumbling to the final whistle. However, as seen against Arsenal, Klopp’s side can now grab control of a game and overwhelm the opposition whenever they like.
The Gunners stunned Anfield when they took the lead, but within a matter on minutes the Reds were soon ahead. From there it was simply a matter of Liverpool’s superior quality being far too much for a disorganised and bemused Arsenal team.
It was the first time the Reds have gone behind in a league game at home this season, but the reaction was superb and opposing teams now know that even if they start well and go ahead, getting something from the game will still be a extremely difficult task.
Sloppiness shows still room for improvement…
Have no doubt, Arsenal are a good football side. We saw it in the encounter at the Emirates earlier in the campaign, and their press especially has improved under Unai Emery.
In the end Liverpool’s press was better, but the Gunner’s was still quite effective and in the first half especially the Reds were far too sloppy on multiple occasions.
The likes of Fabinho and Dejan Lovren were caught out playing unnecessary cross-field passes and Liverpool could have been punished more than they were. Lesser teams won’t be able to utilise a press as well as Arsenal did, but teams such as Man City will look to pray on such weaknesses.
The fact that Klopp’s team can still be sloppy and run out 5-1 winners is a very good sign, but any team should always be arriving for perfection .
Fantastic Firmino leads attacking charge…
It’s been mentioned in the last few matches that Firmino has been returning to form, and the Brazilian, against one of his favourite opponents, was undoubtedly at his very best as he came away with the man-of-the-match award and the match ball for his hat-trick.
The first was a classic no-look finish as only Firmino could do, but his second strike was pure genius as he waved past three defenders before slotting past Bernd Leno.
Fair play to Salah who after scoring a penalty in the first half let Firmino step up to the spot to try and claim his third goal, which the striker duly took. Salah scored for the first time against a ‘big six’ side this season and also claimed a superb assist when he teed up Mane for Liverpool’s third.
It was terrific to see all three on the score sheet once again, with their superb play on and off the ball a prime example of why they are one of the best attacking tridents in Europe.
Midfield selection dilemma for Klopp ahead of City encounter…
The only change to the starting line-up from the win over Newcastle was Fabinho coming back in for Jordan Henderson, and looking forward, Klopp now faces a tough call as to what midfield he selects for the Reds’ biggest game of the season thus far.
Gini Wijnaldum has been the glue in Liverpool’s midfield this season, and after growing into the game was superb in the win over Arsenal. He was substituted before the final whistle which could well indicate that he will have one of the three places against Pep Guardiola’s team.
Jordan Henderson’s recent form arguably should see him have another slot, but then where does Fabinho fit in? The 4-2-3-1 has worked wonders recently but does Klopp go back to his ‘big game 4-3-3? Is Naby Keita required to provide the midfield with some spark given Xherdan Shaqiri’s very likely spot on the bench.
It is a huge call for Klopp and one that will go a long way to deciding a monumental clash.