Arsenal suffered a fourth successive Premier League defeat to Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday. The Gunners had come into the game with a perfect start to the season alongside the Reds, but they were outsmarted by the hosts, who were just more clinical with the chances on offer.
While the Gunners did show more resilience when compared to their previous visits to the stadium, there still remain concerns with the defensive outlook of the team. Here are two things we learned from the Gunners’ first loss of the campaign to Jurgen Klopp’s side….
David Luiz getting into his old habit:
David Luiz had an impressive debut against Burnley last time around and he continued with the same level of performance during the opening half at Anfield. However, he was disappointing following the interval as he was culpable for the second and third goals conceded by the Gunners in the 3-1 defeat.
Luiz has reduced on his defensive mistakes over the past few years but he continues to have the odd tendency of making rash decisions which have cost his team dearly. An unnecessary tuck of Mohamed Salah’s shirt in the box handed the Reds with an early second penalty and that pretty much put the game beyond the Gunners.
Thereafter, the Brazil international was partly responsible for the third goal conceded after he decided to commit himself to stop Salah, only to be outsmarted with a superb bit of trickery from the Egyptian before he scored a wonderful solo goal.
Arsenal missed the top four by the single point during the previous campaign and such defensive mistakes won’t hold good for them, if they have the aim of making the Champions League next term. Hopefully, Luiz can redeem himself when the Gunners host Tottenham Hotspur in the north London derby next weekend.
Arsenal show some positive character:
While the Gunners will be disappointed with the defeat, they can take heart from the fact that their performance was much better when compared to the previous two visits, where they suffered 4-0 and 5-1 losses respectively.
In the first period, the north London side did have their chances to open the scoresheet through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe but both of them were disappointing with their finishing under the pressure of the occasion.
Aubameyang could not convert his effort as his lob over the anxious Adrian went over the bar. Elsewhere, Gunners’ record signing Pepe had the better prospects of finding the net with a few genuine scoring chances including one where he could not beat the goalkeeper after finding himself in a one-on-one situation.
It can be argued that Pepe has just started to adapt to the demands of the Premier League, but he needs to find his feet quickly to enhance the Gunners’ push for the top four while swaying away the criticism which generally comes with the high price tag.
The Gunners did find a consolation goal through Lucas Torreira but it was too late to make a comeback against the Reds, who were relatively comfortable during the course of the second half. Torreira has looked likely in successive substitute appearances and that should aide his return to the starting XI.