There really is not much to be said about this game, one word really describes the entire 90 minutes… Dominant. Liverpool Football Club went out there and stepped on the throat of Arsenal for 90 straight minutes yesterday, the first time we’ve seen a full 90 played like we know they are able to.
I want to start in the midfield because unlike many others that’s where I believe we won the game. Fabinho has shown his class in the early moments of this season but apart from him whomever has been beside him hasn’t stepped up. Yesterday was different. Arsenal came out in a surprising 4-4-2 diamond, theoretically meaning that they should have the superiority in the midfield compared to Liverpool’s 4-3-3. Once again, theoretically, the midfield three of Wijnaldum, Henderson and Fabinho should’ve had their hands full but my god did they control the entirety of the game. Arsenal lined up with 4 central midfielders in Joe Willock, Dani Ceballos, Matteo Guendouzi and Granit Xhaka but they were no match as Fabinho was snatching every ball that was cleared and tackling everything that came near him and Wijanaldum and Henderson spent their time picking the ball up in dangerous areas and spreading it out wide to the playmaking full backs Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold. Wijnaldum completed the most passes in the midfield even though he was subbed out around the 80th, completing 45 of 46 passes. Although it was Fabinho who shined brightest in the midfield, he seemed to playing playing with an extra chip on his shoulder after a Pundit through Joe Willock into a combined XI over him, aimed to show the *only person in the world who believes that. Fabinho had a pass success rate of 93% with 27/32 passes completed in the final third, he won 6 balls back and completed 2 tackles and also picked up the assist on the Salah wonder goal. A complete performance from Fabinho who continues to show why he should be in arguments for the best Defensive Mid in the Prem.
Next I want to talk about Unai Emery’s decision to play the 4-4-2 diamond. Leading up to the game I won’t even lie, I was nervous. The Liverpool defense looked a bit shaky and not in mid season form as they looked all of last year. There were plenty of dangerous situations that caught the backline out and could’ve been one on one situations if not for almost lucky offside calls or badly timed runs. With a combination of Aubameyang with his elite level run making abilities and his seemingly easy finishing abilities, Nicholas Pepe who I was expecting to start with his playmaking abilities and dribbling combinations, and Lacazette with his elite level hold up play and build up play, to go along with Dani Ceballos who had a world class performance the week before against Burnley. I’m not ashamed to say I was a tad bit worried. But Unai basically took all of that out of the equation by not picking Lacazette and playing Aubameyang and Nicholas Pepe in a two striker formation. Those two saw one great chance each, Aubameyang’s coming early on another Adrian mistake that saw his chip go just wide, and Pepe’s after a breathtaking dribble move to get by Roberston only to muff his chance on a one on one with Adrian. The rest of the game saw strictly Nicholas Pepe look at least somewhat dangerous as Aubameyang looked like he would’ve enjoyed his time more on the bench. To go along with taking his teams best attribute out of the equation he played directly into Liverpool’s. The narrow formation is a great tool to use against direct attacking teams with little wing play, but that is the complete opposite of what Liverpool do. Liverpool were allowed to spray passes towards TAA and Robertson all night long which then inevitably ended in dangerous crosses into the Arsenal penalty box all night long. Trent managed to create more chances (6) than the entire Arsenal team (5) on the night. To make matters worse when Liverpool were up 3-0 Unai used his first substitution which brought on Lucas Torreira for Dani Ceballos, which made little to no sense and also didn’t change anything at all. I mean in hindsight Lucas Torreira did put away Arsenal’s only goal, although any one on the pitch could’ve been there and would’ve put it away. Down 3-0 it looked like Unai Emery decided to play damage control instead of going for the game. In my eyes Unai Emery lost the game as soon as it started with the team that he picked.
Finally moving to the attack, I mean what else can you say about the Liverpool attack, simply world class, each and everyone of them. Mane didn’t have his A game yesterday after single handedly carrying Liverpool the past 2, but it didn’t matter as Salah took on that load by winning and scoring a penalty and then scoring a simply stunning solo goal. I was in awe watching him sprint down the wing and finish so beautifully. And do I even have to speak about Roberto Firmino, I think we all know where I’m at with him. He is simply special with every thing he does, don’t even get me started on the flick up volley. It’s a pleasure watching him play week in and week out.
Honorable mention to Joel Matip as he played what is probably his best game as a Liverpool player and even picked up a goal. Fantastic performance.
9 points from 3 games and the sole leaders on top of the Premier League, can’t complain with that. Saturday away to Burnley, I will Catch Ya Then!
My twitter is @LFCeltics