Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool: Winners and losers from disappointing Reds defeat

Liverpool had the better of the play but ultimately lost to an Arsenal outfit who took their chances. OLIVER LAWRENSON picks out the Reds’ winners and losers from the game.

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An underwhelming Reds display combined with individual errors denied Liverpool the opportunity of a new Premier League points record after defeat in the capital to a much-changed Arsenal outfit. 

Klopp went for a strong line up at the Emirates with a minor alteration from the side who drew against Burnley. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain returned to the starting eleven against his former club, to partner Georginio Wijnaldum and Fabinho in midfield.


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The defeat means Liverpool can no longer reach the ‘100 point club’ but despite the performance Jürgen Klopp won’t be to disheartened after winning the Premier League title in the quickest time in the division’s history. 

Here are the winners and losers from the game:

Winners

Sadio Mané

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Many pundits and fans have lauded the Senegal international with praise throughout the season for the catalogue of impressive displays he has put in. This performance against Arsenal can be added to that magnificent portfolio. He was simply unplayable for large parts of this fixture with Cédric Soares struggling to adjust to the pace and skill he was up against.

Mané was Liverpool’s main outlet for the 90 minutes with everything positive developing down the left side with him being the main conductor throughout. His goal was a well-worked team move with Roberto Firmino, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Andy Robertson, as the three connected for a sequence of passes before the Scot cut the ball back for the current African Player of the Year to finish. 

The former Southampton man was mesmeric all night and once again showed his qualities in a generally poor team performance. He will once again be extremely important for the Reds moving into next season as the team look to bring more silverware to Anfield.

Losers

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

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It was a major opportunity for the former Gunner to show his old employers what they are missing, whilst showing his current employers why he should be starting in the midfield of the champions. After this showing, he will be wondering why it went so wrong. 

He started in an extremely positive fashion regaining possession with ease and injecting energy and intensity into the midfield department. His contribution in the build-up to the goal was valuable as his movement and passes unlocked a stubborn Arsenal rear guard with ease before Mané tucked the ball home. 

Unfortunately, for the Englishman his evening would take a turn for the worse after the goal, for in the time he remained on the pitch he was ineffective as he struggled with the late Arsenal first-half resurgence, and would fade out of the game completely after half-time. 

This is now an important moment for Oxlade-Chamberlain in his Liverpool career. With the competition in midfield intensifying week by week and the consistent transfer links with other midfielders on the continent, he needs to start showing some sort of form sooner rather than later.

Mohamed Salah

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On his 150 appearance for the Reds it was a night to forget for the Egyptian as he struggled to have any impact on the game. For large parts of the evening he was a bystander as he watched Sadio Mané take the fight to the Gunners on the other flank. When he did receive the ball, he was inconsistent and extremely wasteful, giving Kieran Tierney a comfortable evening all round. 

His game was summed up in the first half as he wasted a golden chance to put Liverpool two up. After being played in by Roberto Firmino, the Egyptian cut inside and took several unnecessary touches which allowed the Arsenal defenders to get back and nullify the attack. This proved costly in the grand scheme of the game. It now seems that he will relinquish his grip on the Premier League Golden Boot after this goalless display. 

Despite this poor performance, the former Roma man has been a revelation since he joined the club. In his first 150 outings he has achieved so much and has been at the heart of everything positive about Liverpool Football Club over the last three seasons. Hopefully he can continue to produce more of the stellar displays in the future that have helped this club become current English, European and world champions.


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