If we’re going to let in three, we might as well score four!
What a tale of two halves. In the first, we looked sloppy, wasted possession, had poor touches, and were soundly outworked by Arsenal. One can only imagine what Klopp had to say to the lads at the interval.
I nearly had a stroke watching Alberto Moreno play today. He had no idea where Theo Walcott was the entire half. When he did find him, he stupidly left his feet in the penalty box and Arsenal should have been up one-nil except for a solid save by Simon Mignolet.
Less than a MINUTE later, Moreno was 30 yards out of position as he thought to break on the counter before we had secured possession, resulting in Walcott making amends for his missed spot kick.
One could say this is harsh criticism on Moreno, but in addition to the above he also gave possession away cheaply, fouled too often, and arrantly cleared out of touch multiple times. Had Arsenal had more of their regulars on the pitch, it would be hard to imagine them not adding to their first half tally.
Luckily for us, we managed to keep the deficit to a single goal and towards the end of the half began to threaten. Philippe Coutinho both won a free kick, cheaply, and curled the ensuing shot unstoppably past Petr Cech from 30 yards. Magnificent.
The second half started brightly with Liverpool dominating the midfield, stringing 10+ passes together. Again at the center of the action was Coutinho linking up well with Georginio Wijnaldum who found to Adam Lallana; chesting and scoring from a tight angle to take the lead.
What seemed like moments later after 19 passes, Nathaniel Clyne crossed to Coutinho who was able to direct the pass off his shin and into the net for Liverpool’s third.
The Reds looked to threatening every time they broke forward. New signing Sadio Mane had a brilliant solo run from the right, splitting two defenders as he drifted towards the penalty marker, then roofing a shot to Cech’s far post. The epicenter of the celebration was Jurgen Klopp as Mane piggy-backed onto the German, forcing him to lose his glasses, again!
The rout was on, or was it?
If there are three things we learned from this match it is one; Moreno is a liability we can’t afford to keep relying on. Two; when we are able to maintain possession, our attack is deadly. Lastly, and three; we still need to work on putting games away.
Moments after going up 1-4, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replicated Mane’s run, albeit not as flashy, and with a deflection off of Dejan Lovren. Then Calum Chambers was able to get the slightest of touches on a sublime Santi Cazorla free kick which left Mignolet understandable stranded.
The Reds were finally able to kill the game off after a nervy 15 minutes for the supporters. We don’t win at the Emirates often, so three points away is obviously a fantastic result. Since we’ll be cruising along at one game per week most of the season, let’s hope we can address some of our frailties in training sessions and continue to do significant damage to our opponents.
Other misc observations:
- MOTM Coutinho left the match with what appeared to be cramping issues. Didn’t look serious.
- Ragnar Klavan was calm for a man who had Moreno just to the left of him. He’s been ace since arriving.
- I know Klopp loves a deal, but the left back position must be sorted before the end of the window if we have any serious ambition for top four.
- Having said that, I think we’re in for a fun season nonetheless. Fun…heart attack inducing…whatever.