Liverpool News: Arsenal expose Liverpool weaknesses in disappointing defeat for Brendan Rodgers Reds.
By Kevin Morley.
Last season Arsenal came to Anfield and were outplayed, outfought, out thought and out of the game for most of the ninety minutes. This season's Anfield encounter was a different story as the away side subjected Liverpool to a tactical lesson yesterday. The end result was the same as last time, with the Londoners coming away from Anfield with another three points.
Compared with this clash last season, the result was the only similarity. Liverpool fielded only four of the players who overran Arsenal back in March. Arsenal had only three players who managed an unlikely victory last time. Liverpool had a new manager and new tactical approach but none of this made any difference as Liverpool were overran this time.
Arsene Wenger had done his homework on Liverpool. Where Hearts, in the Europa League clash on Thursday, did not have the quality to punish Liverpool, Arsenal had it in abundance. Santi Carzola ran the show and was able to play with huge freedom due to having a solid defence behind him, supporting his excursions into the Liverpool half. Joe Allen and Nuri Sahin on the other hand were caught between two stalls with a lack of communication in midfield contributing to the gaps Arsenal, and particularly Carzola, exploited so effectively.
In the previous clash Liverpool had the majority of possession, they had more shots than Arsenal and a corner tally which read 12-0. Yesterday it was Arsenal who bossed possession and hunted in packs to deny Liverpool any space in which to pass the ball around. Liverpool could not settle and Arsenal, it has to be said, were more than deserving of the 2-0 scoreline at the end.
Former red Jason McAteer described Liverpool's performance as 'unacceptable.' This is perhaps harsh, and did not chime with the Liverpool managers public comments. However, McAteer was a member of the Liverpool side that, under Roy Evans, came as close as Liverpool have in recent times to winning the league. McAteer understands that winning is a habit but that losing is also a habit and it is a far easier one to adopt. Liverpool need to kick that habit, and quickly.
A tally of one point from nine is not the start anybody had expected under Brendan Rodgers but it is where Liverpool are at. They must dust themselves down and get ready for the next game away to Sunderland, a challenge that brings more pressure than it should given the weaknesses Arsenal exposed at Anfield yesterday. It does not get any easier at Anfield either with the next visitors being Manchester United and Robin Van Persie, a player who seems to have a knack of scoring against Liverpool, as he did twice in this encounter last year.