Liverpool’s return to formation against Arsenal indicates that it could end a difficult season at the highest level | football news
“I’m trying to go back to the last time I saw Liverpool play like this,” he said. Sky Sports Gary Neville as Juergen Klopp’s side, who had already scored three against Arsenal, stepped forward in search of another goal.
There have been some good performances in their sluggishness this season. Games in which they deserve more than they get. But they rarely played that way. Diffuse, ruthless, relentless. Liverpool as we know them was better.
The goals were reached in a frantic 18 minutes in the second half, and substitute Diogo Guetta scored the two goals of Mohamed Salah. But Arsenal were lucky to be equal as long as he was, and they were lucky too, as Liverpool didn’t punish them more.
They definitely tried.
Klopp’s team would go to the Champions League quarter-finals away to Real Madrid in three days, but you wouldn’t have guessed it from the way Salah and Sadio Mane walked forward in the final seconds of injury time, hungry for more.
There hasn’t been much thought about conserving energy and when Liverpool are in that kind of mood, following their instincts instead of bending into demotivation, they are at their deadliest extreme.
The win is big in the course of fighting the top four. Chelsea’s surprise defeat by West Bromwich Albion means Liverpool cut the gap from the Champions League places to just two points. But it is bigger in terms of what it can do for them psychologically.
We’ve all reminded Liverpool of what they look like at their brutal best, but most importantly, they reminded themselves that they are still able to reach those heights.
“Even in some matches when we lost, we weren’t bad,” said cheerfully. “But tonight the package was very good and that’s what you need.” Sky Sports Right after that. His performance rating was “very good”. “A great game,” he added.
Klopp looked like a man who had just re-recognized an old friend. “Our counter-pressure was at the highest level,” he said, still smiling. “In general, the entire team’s defense looked exactly as it should be,” he added.
In fact, it wasn’t the way Liverpool cut Arsenal first that it was so impressive. It was the intensity of their off-the-ball action and the resilience of their patchwork defense. Liverpool dominated all of the stadium. They looked like heroes again.
Arsenal could hardly put gloves on them, Neville said. In fact, Liverpool restricted them to only three shots on target over the course of 90 minutes. It is Arsenal’s second lowest total in a Premier League match since the 2010/11 season, according to Opta.
After their victories over RB Leipzig and Wolves before the international break, Liverpool have now won three consecutive matches for the first time since October.
It’s a statistic that underscores just how inconsistent it is this season and demands a degree of caution in anticipating where the next season will go.
But there is a feeling that things will finally fall into place – even if it’s still without long-term absences from Virgil Van Dyck, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Jordan Henderson.
“It’s the first time in the season, by and large, by and large, aside from long-term injuries, all boys are fit – and really “Fit, long enough to come back from injury and in really good shape,” Klopp said. “We’ll use that and hopefully it helps.”
Saturday’s game showed it really is.
Jota was not talked about as much as Liverpool was absent in defense during his time on the sidelines, but he scored nine goals in 15 matches in the English Premier League and Champions League before his injury and the return of the goals shows how much he missed.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – this is Trent Alexander-Arnold – also missed him, but his eye-catching bid against Arsenal suggests his omission from the England squad could work in Liverpool’s favor.
There was no self-pity, it just strengthened the determination, as evidenced by the moment he celebrated his fist after an impressive cross pass with a header by Jota for the opening goal.
The midfield has been boosted hugely by the comeback of Fabinho, who has been pushed back into his favorite position thanks to the appearance of Nat Phillips alongside Capac weights.
If the central defender’s partnership really is an area of weakness, then Liverpool definitely did a good job of hiding it against Arsenal. Fabinho provides a lot of protection after all.
The Brazilian, outstanding in midfield against RB Leipzig and Wolves, was equally impressive against Arsenal. “The best player on the field,” said Neville. He performed twice as many tackles as any Liverpool player and his smart distribution helped him as well.
Klopp dropped the others’ names, too.
Naby Keita is not off the bench at Emirates Stadium, but he is ready to make an impact after a season of injury, Klopp said. The Liverpool manager said the same about Alex Oxlade Chamberlain.
Liverpool will have to overcome tougher opposition from the “worn out” Arsenal side in the coming weeks, of course, starting with the Real Madrid clash on Tuesday night. But suddenly it seems that the season of conflict may end on a loud note. Has Liverpool returned? It definitely looked like this on Saturday night.