Final Score – Liverpool:0/Arsenal:2
31′- Podolski, 68′-Cazorla
This was definitely the match of the week as the Reds hosted the scoreless Gunners at Anfield. However, both teams were without a win and both eager to take one from the other. Brendan Rodgers obviously really wants this win to show the fans that his place on the fabled side was not a fluke. However, the experienced Arsene Wenger shows that, regardless of losing a top striker once again, will always look for the win and attempt to score. The signings for the Gunners rarely showed any life in the earlier games, while the signings for Liverpool looked to be of better prospect. With both teams desperately needing a win and both looking incomplete after the transfer window, the teams look to see if they can start the marathon regardless of the head start from teams like Swansea and West Brom.
For a general summary, I think that Liverpool should feel undeserving of the loss. With about more than two-thirds of the game played as good or better than Arsenal, the Reds will need to wonder about what to do. Without consistent scoring, its hard to see Liverpool ever seeing the top four again. Yes, some can argue that the winter transfer window will make the second half of the season much better, but needing to hold out for fifteen more games is a hassle. Arsenal, however, decided to finally find the back of the net, as counter attacks were finished off by the two new recruits of Wenger’s, Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski. Liverpool failed to do the same, although had opportunities to do so. Luiz Suarez found himself in front of the goal multiple times without prevail, while Borini looked as if he didn’t know how to make a correct decision. Regardless, Liverpool found themselves playing some great football for most of the game, including the first 25 minutes of the game. Sadly, the momentum was killed by a pair of mistakes from Steven Gerrard, who had an uncharacteristically bad game. However, the defense was not sound enough on counter attacks to carry the weight of not scoring, as both goals came of a mistake from the attacking third. While every mistake didn’t result in a counter, the “mistake” part was a key word. Rarely did the attacks for Liverpool result into a shot, and if they did, they were usually off-target. The defense did well for the most part, as well as coming out of the back line. New signing Joe Allen continued his work of spectacular passing for Liverpool but without an answer from the forwards. Arsenal, however, would constantly find themselves in their defending third. However, Thomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker did a good enough job of keeping the line strong, as they were called on more than once to create a strong tackle. However, Arsenal scored with the few chances they had, opening their early league drought and keeping a clean sheet simultaneously. Some other notes for the teams
Liverpool- It seems like Steven Gerrard is having a tough time settling to new manager Brendan Rodgers’ set up. I would prefer him to sit out a game or two to recollect his head as they are in desperate need of his expertise. Sterling needs to be kept as a strength. The kid works hard and is always a threat to the goal, and well-deserving of his starting role. I do believe that Rodgers is going to through a bout of bad luck. Against Manchester City, the defense was under-par, while the opposite in this match. Of course, having both is the key to a great team but Rodgers needs to find a way to facilitate both. I know he can’t decide when his strikers have bad days, but knowing that attacking options are limited, regardless of two great goals against the reigning champs, I feel like a more defensive approach should be used for the next couple games. The game will rise out of the back, as the combonation of Joe Allen and aware Stevie will prove to be a strong tool for Borini and Suarez. The 4-3-3 is a strong attacking formation, but switching to a more option based formation may be ideal. Other than that, Nuri Sahin looks like he will be of use when he gets match ready, and Reina needs to look stronger. I know he is a hero of Liverpool’s, but after giving up two easy goals, I would suggest giving young ones a try again.
Arsenal- For some reason I do not remember Diaby ever being this powerful. His midfield presence was felt on a constant basis, as his quick decision making and speed gave trouble to the defensing Reds. More of Diaby like this and Arsenal can see top four finish, despite my predictions. Both center defenders did their job well enough, and the first goal for Lukas and Santi should only mean more from them later. Oliver Giroud had a tough game today, but looked deadly at some parts of his attack. The strength of the Arsenal attack was something of a sight, as the absence of Robin van Persie almost seemed as if it didn’t matter today, regardless of Santi Cazorla’s goal being of some keeper mistake. Santi, in general, was strong and commanding in the midfield. He always found space and constantly gained much ground per attack. Jenkinson, subbing for the injured Sagna, looks like he is still working on his bearing, but some strength was shown in parts of the match. Overall, the Arsenal side was never too commanding of the game, but did score when they needed to. To some, that is all that matters. But this is a short-term solution to the non-scoring issue, as stronger teams will not allow easy counter attacks like Liverpool did. Arsene may need to be a bit more clever in order to topple the stronger teams.
Overall, great match to watch. I am excited to see how Liverpool evolve and whether the Gunners will continue to score. Regardless of the negative things I have said about the team, the strength can take points away from all who aren’t wary.