After what has been quite some time, here we saw the Liverpool team that we know and love.
At half-time, and after 45 minutes filled with possession, but lacking in cutting edge, there was a sense of déjà-vu. In 2020/21 Liverpool, as opposed to the team of last season, have struggled to solve these problems when they have presented themselves.
That said, Jürgen Klopp has very rarely had the luxury of playing Fabinho in the centre of midfield during this campaign. And today, with the Brazilian dominating proceedings, the Anfield side looked far less nervy and flustered by their early struggles to open the scoring.
Liverpool travelled to North London to face an Arsenal side who found themselves in a decent run of form. Mikel Arteta’s side never appeared to be playing for anything more than a draw, however, and that is a dangerous philosophy when Diogo Jota comes to town.
The Portuguese was surprisingly not included in Klopp’s starting line-up, after his scoring streak continued during the international break.
When Jota was finally called upon, after about an hour, he almost immediately converted a superb Trent Alexander-Arnold cross.
Soon after, Mohamed Salah – seemingly energised by Jota’s introduction – nutmegged Bernd Leno to double the advantage.
And Salah was then involved again as a ball squirmed through to ‘Diogoal’, who wrapped up the points.
The perfect warm-up for the much-anticipated trip to Madrid on Tuesday.
Your ratings, as Liverpool took a key step towards a top four finish:
Ali 7 – Looked nervy on the ball again, but the Brazilian caught one fizzing effort from Cédric Soares, which he could easily have palmed out. Nearly set up a fourth in the dying seconds of the game.
Trent 8.5 – Under the microscope, and back on top of his game. Pinpoint cross broke the deadlock. Man of the match.
Natty P 7.5 – Keeps his good run going, and looked more comfortable in possession today, to boot.
OK 7.5 – Hardly put a foot wrong. I am very happy to be eating some humble pie after a little criticism.Embed from Getty Images
Robbo 6 – Inaccurate first half passing. No idea why he was subbed, though.
ThiaGOAT 7.5 – It really looks as though Fabinho slotting in behind the Spanish international is what this midfield – and this team – needed.
Fabs 8.5 – Awarded Man of the match by Gary Neville, and was very worthy of the title. Liverpool’s results have improved since his reintroduction. Passion, intelligence and technical class all in abundance.
Milly 7 – Many questioned his inclusion but the veteran was solid, even if he dragged a good first-half opportunity wide.
Mo 8 – Effective, if quiet, first half. Killed Arsenal after Tierney was taken off, though. Goal was beautifully taken, and the Egyptian played a crucial role in the third.
Bobby 6.5 – Very sloppy start to the game but moments of quality became more and more regular as time went on. Looked more comfortable once the system changed.Embed from Getty Images
Sadio 7.5 – Once again the Reds’ No.10 was brilliant, bar his complete lack of confidence in front of goal. Hopefully he sorts himself out on Tuesday.
Diogoal 8.5 – Works hard, scores goals. It’s that simple.
Gini 7 – Buzzed into the game quickly.
Rhys N/A – Nice cameo.
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