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Liverpool 5 Arsenal 1 (Dec 29 2018)

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Dave Usher

 

Well that was easier than I thought. Foolishly, I’d convinced myself that Arsenal could give us real problems. I’d described them as being “like us before we signed Virgil”.

 

I take it back, that’s massively insulting to our lads. Arsenal are as flaky as ever and this was a stroll in the park.

 

In my defence, the reason Arsenal concerned me is because they do have firepower and are dangerous going forward. My reasoning was that unlike most opponents we’ve faced this season, they have the players to hurt us and they won’t come here to try and keep the score down.

 

Emery left Lacazette on the bench though and that played into our hands. He needed to fight fire with fire, and he didn’t. He was caught between having a go and being careful. The end result was a hammering and Aubameyang only touching the ball 14 times, six of them from kick offs. Arsenal should have gone for it and hoped to turn it into a shoot out, because their defence is a fucking joke.

 

As concerned as I’d been all week, that changed when I saw Arsenal’s team. Talking to the lads before the game, my outlook immediately flipped when I saw that defensive unit they were putting out there. I believe my exact words were: “Look at that defence, none of them can run. Our forwards will fucking destroy them”.

 

And they did. Five goals for the front three and Arsenal actually got off lightly. It could easily have been worse for them, but much of the second half was a case of our lads conserving a bit of energy and Klopp looking to rest a few players. If we’d needed more goals we’d have gotten them pretty easily.

 

Arsenal did show why I was right to be concerned about them at the other end though. They carried a real menace early on before the game eventually got away from them. I’ve always thought that Iwobi was shite but he was their best player by some distance. 

 

Trent had the most difficult job of any of our lads in trying to keep him quiet. Everyone else won their battles comfortably. Trent won his too, eventually, but at least Iwobi made him work for it. It was a stroll for everybody else. Especially the midfielders. I like that Torreira but he looked like a little kid against the magnificent Wijnaldum. What a performance from him. Bobby is the star man because of his hat-trick, but Gini was top class.

 

Arsenal were on the front foot early on and played with belief that they could do something. They pressed high up the pitch and had some joy with it, in part due to some sloppy passing from us. Fabinho gave the ball away carelessly with a reckless cross field pass. He seems to have one of those moments in him every game. So far he hasn’t been punished but he needs to clean it up.

 

Poor old Dejan isn’t so lucky. Anything he does wrong usually ends up being costly. Blaming him for the goal is harsh though and Klopp even said afterwards the problem was that no-one was showing for the ball so he just hit it long. 

 

I’d give Arsenal credit for it. They were closing us down well and we had a few uncomfortable moments passing it around in our own defensive third with a lot of Arsenal players hunting the ball. Lovren’s pass forward wasn’t the greatest but for it to result in a goal then other things need to go wrong as well.

 

We had players back but Arsenal worked it very well. Iwobi’s cross was brilliant and Robertson couldn’t get back in time to stop Maitland-Niles finishing at the back post. Initially I thought Robbo must have switched off and let him run off the back of him, but it wasn’t that. He sprinted to try and get back in but he was just too far up the field when we lost the ball to get back in time.

 

If that had been Moreno he’d have been slaughtered for it, but my view on it is that it’s simply a consequence of how we play. The full backs are asked to push right up and play as wingers as well as defenders. To do that you need to be high up the pitch when the team has the ball. If possession is lost then it’s a problem.

 

Maybe Robbo shouldn’t have been that far forward but none of us really know because it all depends on where Klopp wants him to be. It felt like the end of the world though. Not because I didn’t think we’d come back, but because we conceded a goal and it put a dent in our wonderful record. 

 

Any goal conceded now puts me on a massive downer because I love how miserly we’ve become. Imagine beating the record for fewest goals conceded! It could happen. For so many years it’s been our big weakness and if I’m being honest I’d gotten used to winning 4-3 rather than 1-0 and was actually quite happy with that.

 

"Clean sheets are boring, we’re the fucking entertainers!!"

 

Actually no, clean sheets are fucking boss as long as they aren’t achieved through shithouse footy. I don’t want to watch a defensive side. Been there, done that, and it’s only palatable when it delivers trophies. Take the trophies away and it’s fucking shit. I want to watch an attacking side who are also boss at defending. That’s what we have now and this season has been a fucking ball so far.

 

You can tell the players are obsessed with clean sheets too, and when Arsenal scored they were fuming. They couldn’t wait to get the game started again and within five minutes they had the lead. Score against us? The fuck do you think you are? Bing, bang, bosh, pow. 4-1 before we’d even reached half time.

 

Ian Wright in the BT studio was screaming “WHY DID WE HAVE TO UPSET THEM!?!?|” Love Ian Wright me you know. Funny guy, wears his heart on his sleeve. Probably my favourite Gunner now. It used to be Club Shop Ty, but he was a bit of a knob in his post match with Arsenal Fan TV so he’s slipped down the pecking order now and Wrighty is number one.

 

This is just a teaser, click here to view the full article

 

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In one of his interviews - may have been the post match prezzer - Klopp said he was initially annoyed by Mo giving up the second penalty to Bobby but was more happy about the gesture afterwards.

 

Probably because we’d scored.

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Arsenal's defence when Bobby waltzed through for his second was pure Keystone Kops, total slapstick stuff.

There's a pic on one of the threads somewhere of 3 of the fuckers either on their arses or trying to get up, looking totally lost and bemused.  Absolutely comical.

City's defence won't be anywhere near as bad, but we've proved before they ain't all that.

Stout hearts and cool heads required on Thursday.  Just the sort of things champions have an abundance of.

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What has been most striking is the consensus that the reaction around Anfield when Arsenal scored was meh, we'll still batter this lot. Five minutes later, all was right with the world.

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So very true about the Moreno stuff ( his positioning), glad someone has pointed that out. Robertson is well better, but for the way we are playing, Moreno is actually as good a backup as we'll get, and infinitely better than Clyne at LB.

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Full agreement on Ian Wright. Gives the impression of being very genuine & sincere without ulterior motives (opposite to all Sky pundits other than Souness), and he’s certainly cleverer than given credit for too. Very likeable personality

 

It was a good time to play Arsenal. After dossing around for several years under Wenger’s watch, they’re probably exhausted right now after half a season of Emery-ball. He’s a good manager though and they’ll probably come back stronger again later in the season (hopefully in time to get something at City). We clearly made a point of isolating Aubameyang as he had similar number of touches at the Emirates too. That game is probably the only blot on our season, as we really should have seen the win out at their place too.

 

 

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We weren't playing well when we drew at the Emirates. We weren't playing well when we beat Spurs, drew at Chelsea and were held by City at Anfield either. 

 

We were getting results, but the fluency in attack wasn't there.

 

It is now.

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5 minutes ago, dave u said:

We weren't playing well when we drew at the Emirates. We weren't playing well when we beat Spurs, drew at Chelsea and were held by City at Anfield either. 

 

We were getting results, but the fluency in attack wasn't there.

 

It is now.

I think we were pacing ourselves a bit but we're hitting our stride now.  

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22 minutes ago, aws said:

I think we were pacing ourselves a bit but we're hitting our stride now.  

 

Definitely. We're a second half of the season team I think, everything is geared towards us flying in the New Year. Thats what is so amazing about what we've done so far.

 

If our form goes the way I think it will, we ain't seen nothing yet.

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7 minutes ago, dave u said:

 

Definitely. We're a second half of the season team I think, everything is geared towards us flying in the New Year. Thats what is so amazing about what we've done so far.

 

If our form goes the way I think it will, we ain't seen nothing yet.

I think we limped over the line in the league in each of the last two seasons. Klopp's recognised that and we clearly played well within ourselves for most of the season so far. I'm sure running stats would confirm that, if I could be arsed to check them. There's been plenty of healthy rotation in the midfield, too, although his hands have been a bit tied as far as the defence is concerned with the injuries. Likewise, the front three are playing most games, with an occasional early substitution. We've a run of games after Thursday where squad players will get used a lot more....and hopefully Naby will bomb on in the 2nd half. I've no doubt we'll be much stronger for the run-in.

 

Just heard that Anthony 'Altrincham supporter' Taylor is ref on Thursday, which has deflated my bubble of optimism somewhat. 

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Through January / February 2017, Liverpool's record read- 

 

P: 12  W: 2  D: 4  L: 6

 

From 2nd to 5th in the league, beaten in both legs of the League Cup semi-final and out of the FA Cup in the 4th round. 

 

Not saying fatigue was the only factor (no European footy that season), but I definitely believe it was part of it. Getting the Bayern fitness staff on board later that year suggested as much. 

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I've gone full shithouse. Convinced it's all going to fall apart and we're prone to a loss of form and injuries at any moment. We had a terrible January a few seasons back. If Klopp and the boys get through this month I'll start to believe. Nerves are wrecked watching us.

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2 hours ago, dave u said:

 

Definitely. We're a second half of the season team I think, everything is geared towards us flying in the New Year.

Imagine being an opposition fan and hearing that. First half P20 W17 D3 L0. And we were shite. 

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If City beat us, it'll be because they play at the best, not because we don't turn up.

 

We'll fucking turn up.

 

 

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