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Digging Deeper Into Liverpool’s FA Cup Win Over Arsenal

With a second half resurgence leading to a Liverpool win in the books, we take a closer look at what it all means for the Reds.

Arsenal v Liverpool - Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Jürgen Klopp rolled out a surprisingly strong lineup as Liverpool took on Arsenal in the marquee matchup of the FA Cup 3rd round. The Reds looked slow and out of sorts to start the match, gifting several gilt-edged chances to the Gunners. Thankfully, a combination of Alisson in net and poor finishing from Arsenal kept Liverpool in the match. A tactical switch to start the second half saw the Reds start to see more and more chances, and they were finally able to break through for the win and advancement to the fourth round of the cup.

Below, we take a look at some winners and losers on the night, and attempt to disentangle narrative from fact.


Winners

Trent Alexander-Arnold
The Scouser was again the catalyst for Liverpool. He started off strong on the defensive end of the pitch, making a few key blocks and clearances. He finished with 3 tackles, 3 clearances, and 2 blocked shots. As the Reds struggled to get going in the attack, it was Trent who began to make things happen with his passing range as well as some timely runs on the ball. He crashed a shot off of the crossbar at the end of the first half and forced the opening goal with a dangerous corner kick.

Alisson
The Brazilian continues to be in tip top form. As the Reds were under major pressure early in the match, Alisson came up with a few big reaction saves to keep Arsenal off of the board. He finished the match with 5 saves, with a couple of them being top shelf saves made to look ordinary with fantastic footwork and positioning.

Diogo Jota
Liverpool’s attack revved into high gear with the introduction of the Portuguese striker in the second half. Jota was savvy as always with his movement and timing, and he helped make the attack look much more fluid and dynamic with some clever passing. He was unlucky not to have scored, sending a trademark header surrounded by players off of the crossbar, but managed to get on the score sheet by assisting Luis Diaz in the 95th minute.

Luis Diaz
It certainly wasn’t a perfect performance from the Colombian attacker, but he is definitely looking much more assured and threatening on the ball over the last few weeks. He was again a handful on the dribble and capped the performance off with a confidence-boosting goal in the 95th minute.

Young Defensive Core
No Virgil van Dijk and no Joel Matip? No problem for the Reds as the young duo of Ibrahima Konaté and Jarrell Quansah stepped up to help keep Arsenal scoreless with some strong rearguard action. Both Konaté and Quansah covered a lot of ground in the back, and both were very calm both on and off the ball.

The Traveling Kop
9,000 of the Liverpool faithful made the trip to the Emirates and boy were they loud! They were in full voice throughout, and it was wonderful to hear the Diogo Jota song serenading the player as he stepped on the pitch.

Losers

Topping the Woodwork Table
It looked like Liverpool would be left cursing the woodwork yet again if not for a couple of late goals. Trent Alexander-Arnold hit a rocket that smacked off the crossbar in almost the exact same spot as he struck just against Arsenal a couple of weeks ago.

Diogo Jota also was denied by the woodwork after somehow beating everyone to a header, as he does, beating Ramsay but putting it onto the crossbar.

Arsenal
That’s one win in the last seven for the supposedly title challenging Gunners, including three straight losses. Oops.


Talking Tactics

With no Mohamed Salah, Dominik Szoboszlai, or Ben Doak, Jürgen Klopp had a decision to make with regard to who would play on the right side of the attack. He opted to start Harvey Elliott in the spot while playing Cody Gakpo in midfield. It did not bring out the best of either player and it threw off the balance of the team.

To start the second half off, Klopp moved Elliott back into his usual midfield role and moved Gakpo into a central striker with Luis Diaz on the right and Darwin Núñez on the left. It had an immediate effect as the Reds looked much stronger and more fluid on the ball.


What Happens Next

It’s a quick turnaround for the Reds as they switch gears over to the EFL Cup. Liverpool will host Fulham on Wednesday in the first leg of the EFL semifinal before they get a week and a half off.

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