Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool blew Arsenal away, as the German’s ‘ heavy metal football’ dumbfounded and dismantled a lacklustre Arsene Wenger side.
Liverpool fans basked in glory as they arose to applaud their sides mesmeric performance, on a warm summers afternoon at Anfield. Conversely, Arsenal fans headed early for the exit doors as they had endured more than enough horror for one day, in what was a game that brought back many familiar feelings for the travelling supporters.
Want-away forward Alexis Sanchez made his first appearance of the season for the Gunners, but there was no place for fellow South American, Philippe Coutinho, who is also trying to engineer a move away from Merseyside to Barcelona.
There was a shock selection in the form of Loris Karius in goal for the Reds, in place of Simon Mignolet, with no real reason as to why the Belgian was randomly dropped emerging. Although, Karius had very little to do all afternoon.
If ever there was such a thing as a one sided game, this was it.
From the get go, Klopp’s side were emphatic. The attacking trident of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane proved all too much for a broken backline of Arsenal.
The scoring was opened by Roberto Firmino, who nodded home 17 minutes in.
Youngster, Joe Gomez, floated a ball into the box, where the Brazilian forward was on hand to convert. His downward header generated enough power to bounce upwards and out of the reach of Petr Cech in goal.
Moments Later, Jordan Henderson scuppered a chance which would have made it 2-0. His one on one effort dragged wide of the post, though. This came shortly after a glaring opportunity for Salah to fire home.
Five minutes before half time the inevitable second arrived. Star man, Sadio Mane, curled in a superb effort.
On his Premier League debut last year for Liverpool in a 4-3 win at the Emirates, he carved apart the Arsenal defence; today was no different.
Jetting down the left hand flank, the Senegalese international left Rob Holding for dead, cut inside onto his favoured right foot and fired into the right hand corner.
Wenger’s side barely mustered any real effort at goal, and were spectators for the entirety of the game- allowing the Reds to walk all over them.
They finally had a chance to create a good opportunity when they won a corner ten minutes into the second half, which also allowed them to target and exploit Liverpool’s biggest weakness; set pieces, as they’ve shown countless times how they struggle to defend from these situations.
However, the resulting corner led to a goal for the home side, something which summed up Arsenal’s day perfectly.
As the ball bounced out of the box and towards Hector Bellerin, Salah pounced, and sprinted the length of the pitch where he then finished expertly.
Bellerin and Francis Coquelin charged back frantically, but could only watch on as the Egyptian bagged his second Premier League goal for the Reds.
A despondent Alexis Sanchez slumped to the ground in despair. There was to be further misery for his side.
In an attempt to try and salvage at least one goal back, Wenger deployed strikers Olivier Giroud and record signing Alexandre Lacazette. Liverpool also brought on a striker of their own, in Daniel Sturridge.
It didn’t take long for one of these substitutions to make their mark on the game. After three minutes of entering the pitch Sturridge made it 4-0 to Liverpool.
An inch perfect, arrowing cross on the left wing from Salah flew straight into the path of Sturridge, who was poised and ready to capitalise.
He bundled in from close range in what was their second headed goal of the day, as well as Sturridge’s 100th career goal in football.
It was a day of almighty lows for the Gunners, but as they stared in the face of adversity, there was an air of familiarity to it which only made matters worse.
Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal
Chelsea 6-0 Arsenal
Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal
Bayern Munich 5-1 Arsenal ( X2)
Manchester City 6-3 Arsenal
And now : Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal.
Fans of the club have somewhat become accustomed to heavy margin defeats, where there has been a major gulf in class between Arsenal and their opposition.
As soon as the team concedes one their heads drop, and they never recover.
There was not one point in the match where Arsene Wenger’s men looked threatening, but most worryingly of all- the players didn’t even seem bothered by the carnage that was unfolding around them.
The North London side had 0 attempts on target all match- a frightening statistic.
Wenger himself, has come under plenty of criticism of late, with plenty calling for him to leave the club. But, what about the players who showed no desire, hunger, or passion?
Arsenal’s midfield three of Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka, and Mesut Ozil were diabolical throughout, Ozil in particular.
Things were that bad that when the German was in possession of the ball, it came as a surprise that he was still playing.
There is no leadership or team spirit in a side that were once the ‘Invincibles’ of the league. One things for sure, they are anything but that now.
The Reds, on the other hand, were spectacular.
Going forward, there aren’t many better in the league. The blistering pace of Salah and Mane is proving too much for defenders already. Firmino has also taken well to his new, more advanced role.
The midfield was another flawless department. Georginio Wijnaldum had the best game in his Liverpool tenure- making Xhaka amongst others fall to the ground hopelessly in an attempt to take the ball off him, as he brushed them aside as if they weren’t even there. Likewise, Emre Can was remarkable- his power and bundles of energy were instrumental.
Liverpool proved there is life after Philippe Coutinho as they waltzed to a comfortable win without him, which would have been even greater had it not been for Cech in goal, who thwarted Salah amongst others on numerous occasions.
For Liverpool, it’s just more of the same going forward. For Arsenal, it’s more of a how can we go forward from this?