Arsenal stalemate was frustrating – but will be forgotten if Liverpool win in London

Paul Connor releases his frustrations after an anaemic performance from the Reds at Anfield, but knows a better showing at the Emirates will cast away all bad memories.

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Many Liverpudlians will have come out of Anfield with a shared gut feeling of a missed opportunity – goaded on by the opposition’s ‘fans’ as they chanted ‘Always The Victims’ from the away end. 

I emphasise my point now especially, but all throughout this article – it simply was not good enough for a Liverpool team that wants to be competing for trophies.

Not for a game of this stature. I can try to be sympathetic and write that it was a lack of match sharpness but, at times, even that looks like a poor excuse.

If it hadn’t been for a wonderful save from the reliable Alisson Becker, that would’ve been a frustrating 1-0 deficit to take to north London with us – though then again, I contradict myself, a golden chance put over the crossbar by Takumi Minamino could have meant going to the Emirates with a one-goal advantage.

That perfect moment of Arsenal wanting. Ah well, he can’t save us every time.

However, such was the type of game, which makes this match slightly tough to write about.

“We started the game how we wanted to start,” Jürgen Klopp explained. However, the 24th-minute red card for Granit Xhaka saw Arsenal revert to a tough, defensive mentality, and for the German it “looked like all of a sudden we felt under pressure, which doesn’t make sense”.

On the absence of the likes of his African trio, Klopp was keen to emphasise the obvious importance they hold in the squad and the way he wants his side to play.

“Tell me one team that wouldn’t miss Sadio Mané, Mo Salah and Naby Keïta,” said the boss said. “We know that already for years that it could happen. Could we have been better prepared for it? I don’t think so.


“What we had tonight was a football problem and this team which we lined up tonight can sort that football problem. Definitely.

“We can play better and we know we have to play better, and that’s what we will work on.”

As stated, Granit Xhaka booking his early shower in the 24th minute was probably a negative thing for Liverpool in retrospect, as it gave the Gunners the cue to defend, defend, defend – which (you only have to look at Chelsea at home in August) isn’t Liverpool’s favourite tactic to come up against.

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The Arsenal players also weren’t scared of having a nice lie down here and there, which is typical of a team in that situation – but I’m annoyed, and also writing this for a Liverpool page.

It may have ended in disappointment, but the Reds would have learned from this come Thursday and will be revitalised. Everything lies upon our trip to north London. It can be looked upon as a one-leg clash only – last night firmly out of the minds of Klopp’s players.

A ravenous beast awaits Mikel Arteta and his Arsenal side.

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