A Mohammed Salah Inspired masterclass saw Liverpool once again prove to Arsenal that Anfield is still a nightmare for them.
Those were Unai Emery’s words after the defeat and he couldn’t have summarised the game any better.
It is however hard to excuse his lack of ,or poor game management (if there was) against the European champions.
The manager who usually casts an animated figure down the touchline was rather slow to react and gave a miserable impression as Arsenal restarted the game at 3-0.
As much as the feeling was somewhat a familiar one on a ground that hasn’t been kind to the Gunners in the last 3 years, it was not an encouraging sight for the 11 players on the field.
For the 3,000 fans that made the long trip up north, that was the last thing they wanted to see.
If there is one thing Unai Emery has been known for in the last 13 months at Arsenal, it is his readiness to tweak his tactical approach in respect of his opponent.
As bad as the first 10 minutes of the second half collapse was, he did not disappoint in that regard.
Arsenal set up in a 4 man midfield diamond and had a clear strategy that nullified the threat of Liverpool’s wide forwards.
Also, limiting the reds’ full backs to crosses from deep seemed to be working well as Arsenal dealt comfortably with those crosses.
The plan for Arsenal’s attack, however, was to catch them on the break and Arsenal did just that. At least, for the first 43 minutes.
New signing Nicholas Pepe, in his first start for the gunners, tormented the Liverpool defence with his quick feet and blistering pace.
The gunners’ record signing was perhaps the brightest spot in this rather flat performance and was the only major positive from a sad afternoon.
By the 40th minute, Arsenal had not only survived the usual first 15 minutes onslaught but also had the better chances in the game. The plan looked to be working.
Even when Liverpool got the opener from a towering header from Matip just before half time, it didn’t look that bad for Arsenal.
It was at the start of the second half that Arsenal hit the self disrupt button with David Luiz being the culprit twice.
The Brazilian’s poor positioning and lack of concentration forced him to stupidly pull the shirt of Salah for a penalty –which the Egyptian slotted home coolly– and a booking for the 32-year old.
The consequences of that booking was seen few minutes later in the build up to Liverpool’s third as Luiz was unable to foul Salah after being spun by the Egyptian again.
At this point, Arsenal began to fear the worst and even though Liverpool took their foot off the gas, it still didn’t look comfortable.
Emery’s lack of reaction to all three Liverpool goals saw the gunners remain flat for the next 20 minutes.
Lucas Torreira and Alex Lacazette came on, with the former getting a consolation, but in the end, Arsenal were left with more lessons to take from the game yet again at Anfield.
Considering Arsenal’s abysmal record at Anfield over the past few years, especially last December, this was an improvement. However, more worrying is the tendency of old bad habits to rear it’s ugly head in defence especially.
Arsenal go into the derby next week with a different mindset , but the results of the post moterm at Anfield were clear.
To find out how good they are,the answers were clear in the aftermath. Are they capable of competing for the title? Very much not. Can they make the top 4? Absolutely.
For Liverpool, they maintain their 100% start to the season even though they are yet to reach the defensive stability of the past season.
They take an early lead ahead of City in the title race but they would be careful to read meaning into it,bearing in mind the events of last season.
Juventus start the season from where they left
It was the same template as last season with Juve just about got the work done in their Serie A opener. Giorgio Chiellini’s 21’s minute effort was enough to see off Parma after Cristiano Ronaldo was left frustrated all afternoon.
Juve were without coach, Maurizio Sarri, who missed the game after being diagnosed with Pneumonia.
Griezmann shines on Camp Nou debut
Most impressive on the night was the attitude of the Barca players who responded well to going a goal down and fought hard to get back on level terms with Griezmann getting his first of goal in a Barca shirt.
After the break, they just whizzed past Betis as Griezmann got his second, before Carles Perez, Jordi Alba and Vidal made the lead comfortable for the champions.
Pick Of the Week
The young teenager, who scored one and assisted 2 last week was on the score sheet again as Dortmund came from behind to see off Koln.
No surprise he is attracting lots of admirers back in his homeland and it will be interesting to see his next move.
Aguero, who is City’s all time topscorer scored a brace to take him to 400 career goals while David Silva took to the pitch for the 400th time in City colours.
The Captain, who is in his final season at the club has been a key figure over the past decade which has seen City win the league 4 times in that period.
He is now bent on ending his City career with yet another PL title and also win the league for the 3rd time in succession.