Arsenal 3 - 2 Liverpool
Gunners: Martinelli 1’, Saka 45+5’ 76’ (pen)
Reds: Nunez 34’, Firmino 53’
Klopp once again runs out the 4-2-4, with a double pivot of Henderson and Thiago. Our opponents can’t easily bypass a midfield that doesn’t exist. Smart. Up top there is the quadruple threat of Mohamed Salah, Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota, and Darwin Nunez. If Nunez feels like quieting some critics, today would be a good day to do it.
Goal. I’ve barely cracked open a beer and Liverpool’s porous defense has already been well and truly exposed. It was the easiest pass and finish for Arsenal, and Liverpool once again start the match in the hole.
Liverpool, like so many times in seasons past and present, continue having the lion’s share of possession, even on the road against a top side. However, unlike seasons past (and very much like the current season), it remains unclear how they play to punish opponents. The high-risk, high-reward style of high-line + press play that we’ve grown accustomed to has seemed to become all risk and no reward this season.
Liverpool are denied a penalty from a clear handball in the box. Not that they deserve a penalty, but come on.
GOAL! Diaz picks up the scraps from a poor defensive clearance and puts it on a plate for Nunez! GET IN!!!
Well, this is no bueno, Luis Diaz comes off just before the half with a knock of some description. Roberto Firmino comes on in his stead.
Goal. Remember when we used to be the team countering with brutal efficiency? Yeah. Those were the days. Saka gets a tap in at the back post, kept onside by Jordan Henderson. Nothing like conceding in the first and last minute of the half. Oof.
Aside from both goals, it wasn’t a terrible half for the Reds. Certainly not as bad as the score indicates. But then again, both goals were so soft, and it follows a clear pattern of conceding pillow soft goals, that you can’t’ just discount them out of hand.
Klopp makes a halftime sub, hooking Trent Alexander-Arnold (who has NOT been at the races) for Joe Gomez.
GOAL!! BOBBY! It was apparently our turn to make a goal out of nothing! Jota played Firmino through, and Bobby placed the shot perfectly in the far corner with a left-footed finish.
Since Bobby’s equalizer, the hosts have put in their longest period of sustained pressure, and Liverpool have done well to keep them at arm’s length. That said, I don’t trust this side to continue anything resembling stout defending. Also, it would be nice to see the ball again.
Klopp makes a pair of subs with 70 minutes gone: hooking Matip and Salah for Fabinho and Konate. Interesting. Salah was not happy, to say the least. Also, great to see the young French defender back in among it.
Penalty. Oliver points to the spot for a soft as anything foul. If it’s that. Both Jesus and Thiago appear to go for, and get, the ball at the same time. Regardless.
Goal. Saka places it perfectly in the corner, and Alisson has no chance.
Two minutes from full time Elliott is tripped up inside the box, but of course no call. #Narrative
Listen, Liverpool aren’t in great nick. That’s clear. But they’re also not getting any breaks. Between the handball that wasn’t given in the first half and the ridiculously soft penalty on the other, it’s fair to say that this match was decided solely by the man at the center circle. Congrats on the win, Michael Oliver.
Then again, Liverpool had one (1) shot in the second half (Bobby’s equalizer). So, fuck it, we probably deserved nothing.