A Few Thoughts from the Match: Liverpool 4 Arsenal 0
1. Before we start we should take some time to acknowledge that sometimes it's just nice to watch good, fluent, attacking football like we saw today. We can debate about the tactics, personnel, quality of the opposition and everything in between but it's easy to forget that football played well can be really, really fun and it was today. Sunny day, warm late August air and the Reds tearing Arsenal apart like a hungry dog devouring a cartoon ham; yeah, that's football. Every time we attacked all I could think of was a quote from Monty Python and the Holy Grail "that rabbit's dynamite" don't ask me why.
2. Lots of talk about our shonky defence but when this team clicks it REALLY clicks. The front three are now pretty much what Klopp wants - a combination of power, pace, skill and determination. Like the Gatekeeper and the Keymaster in Ghostbusters, 'we have to get these together' as much as possible and, to paraphrase Egon Spengler, it might be 'extraordinarily dangerous' but only for defences in the rest of the league.
3. Emre Can continues his hot streak for the club and they really need to think about tying him down to that new contract. I think Can gets a raw deal from some quarters but I see him as valuable squad player at minimum and you don't get many of those who are young with the attributes that Can possesses. The nonchalant view that we can easily replace him seems to ignore just how difficult the club seems to find recruitment. Get him signed.
4. The defence won't have an easier game against one of the bigger teams in the league. Both Gomez and Lovren overcame early bookings without incident and even Alberto Moreno looked competent. True, Arsenal didn't provide much firepower, and Wenger's decision not to start either one or both of Giroud or Lacazette seemed obtuse considering players like that give us the biggest problems, but Arsenal didn't get a shot on target all day which should be applauded, especially since...
5. Karius. Goddamnit, he had barely anything to do and yet still somehow managed to put the shits up most of the ground. Let's not analyse Klopp's decision to start him (it was stupid, the end) but the fact that Karius provided the most tense moments of the afternoon should be a source of concern. Iffy footwork is a mainstay of our goalkeepers since Pepe Reina tacked on mass and sacrificed flexibility but Karius looked worse than Mignolet as Arsenal were able to put pressure on him during his clearances. The ironic cheers from the crowd when he did kick it clear probably wound Klopp right up but hey, stick with the Mig or buy a better keeper, Jurgen.
6. This Arsenal team was the most passive and limp I've seen in a long while, and I include the one we battered 5-1 a few years ago in that. Arsene Wenger no longer knows what his plan is and he's completely got away from building a squad that can challenge for top honours. He was very close once but in his quest to tweak it he's completely lost it. Maybe this illustrates it better.
7. Mané is our best player, no doubt about it. Barcelona, you're digging in the wrong place.
8. Hendo and the fella from Newcastle (can't spell his name) both bossed midfield. Hendo looks at home in this position and has been a model of consistency when he's been fit. The other guy *grits teeth* Gini, looked like a real dynamo today. His problem is we don't see enough of these days and it's usually when the team is playing well. We need him to do this when everything's not coming up Milhouse but today, he was slaloming around like he was on Ski Sunday.
9. I love Mo Salah. Everything about him is what I've been waiting for since the dark days of being shushed by Stewart Downing. Salah is quick as a hiccup, gets into great positions around goal and generally looks like the business. Man of the Match and man of my footballing heart right now. Yeah, I just typed that, I have no regrets.