Dominant. It is the only the way one can describe Liverpool’s 5-1 demolition of a wretched Arsenal. It’s also a word to characterize not only a fixture that in recent times has seen the Reds’ score 22 of the last 30 goals, but also Jürgen Klopp’s squad’s scintillating unbeaten first half of the season.
With second-placed Tottenham shockingly (but not really) falling to this season’s giant-killers, Wolverhampton Wanderers in the earlier kickoff, Liverpool supporters would’ve been aware that a win would take their side an astounding nine points clear at the top of the table ahead of third-place Manchester City’s fixture with a resurgent Southampton on Sunday.
Mark will get into the details in the recap about what transpired between the opening and final whistles at Anfield, but let’s say that a Roberto Firmino hat trick, a few flailing legs from a collection of hapless Arsenal defenders seemingly incapable of performing their primary function and a masterful display from the home side led to what ought to have been the expected outcome of a comprehensive Liverpool victory.
Reds’ center half, Virgil Van Dijk congratulated his side on their performance while focusing on how his side could’ve improved by not allowing Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ shock opening goal for the visitors.
“Obviously we know [Arsenal] dangerous on the break, with the speed of their counter-attacks,” the Dutchman admitted in his post-game interview.
“It was unlucky we conceded, but we reacted how we should have reacted, and deserved it today. We still need to improve a lot of things, but we’re very happy with the situation at the moment.
“We want to keep going, keep working hard and keep the intensity high, make sure we keep doing well.”
When asked if this Liverpool side currently opening the gap with their faltering fellow challengers could conceivably go all the way and win the club’s first league title since 1990, the Dutchman responded with confidence:
“That’s how we should go out there and play: anything is possible,” he continued.
“We’re on a good way, we feel good, it’s tough these days but now it’s a great time to be a Liverpool player.”
The Reds will turn their sights now to the Etihad where next Thursday’s marquee matchup with the preseason title favorites, City will potentially be a season-defining one.