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Reds Column I

Premier League 2020-21 Summary: Liverpool vs Arsenal

Liverpool Fc (The Reds) continued their impressive Premier League form by beating Arsenal Fc (The Gunners) 3-1 at Anfield. It was the Gunners first loss of this season.

To put things in perspective, the Gunners have not won at Anfield for more than 7 years and beating the home side who are unbeaten for more than 2 years in the Premier League is always going to be a difficult task.

Thiago Alcântara was ruled out of the match due to a minor fitness issue but Joe Gomez recovered in time.

Arsenal Fc (The Gunners) under Mikel Arteta is slowly building the reputation of being a team that defends deep and difficult to break down. As expected, against the Reds the Gunners were defending deep but their defence hardly troubled the Reds attackers.

The absence of Thiago may have caused a bit of concern due to the lack of creativity in the midfield but the Reds kept finding small pockets of spaces from quick passes and intelligent ball movements.

Besides marshalling his troops brilliantly, Virgil Van Dijk kept providing the Reds attack with long range diagonal passes to further unsettle the Gunners Defences.

Yet despite dominating possession and creating many chances, the Reds went behind in the 25th minute as a miscued clearance from Andrew Robertson went gently in the direction of Alexandre Lacazette and the Frenchman shot beyond Alisson’s reach.

Sadio Mané equalised from close range for the Reds in the 28th minute after the Gunners’s Goalkeeper Bernd Leno blocked Mohamed Salah’s shot from the near post.

For Robertson particularly, the Scot did not take long to quickly make amends of his earlier defensive error. In the 34th minute the unmarked Scot guided the ball past the Gunners’ keeper after receiving the cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold and gave 2-1 lead for the Reds.

Later in the second half, Alisson denied Lacazette twice from point blank range as the Gunners were desperate in search of an equaliser.

With the Reds in hunt for the knockout blow, Mané and Keita were substituted for Diogo Jota and James Milner in the 79th minute.

Jota finally clinched the match for the Reds in the 88th minute (3-1). The Portuguese International capitalised on the loose clearance from David Luiz and guided the ball onto the bottom left beyond the Leno’s reach.

 

Reds Team Performance Ratings

Liverpool (4-3-3 Formation)

Defence:

Alisson – 8: When the match was evenly poised in the second half, the Brazilian made 2 point blank saves but could do nothing about the Gunners’s opening goal.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8: Provided an assist that was scored by Robertson. Defensively was compact.

Joe Gomez – 8: Looked calm and composed. Kept the Gunners’s attack at bay.

Virgil Van Dijk – 8: Standby Captain in place of the injured Jordan Henderson. The towering Dutchman was at his usual best of marshalling his side and kept providing diagonal passes in a bid to unsettle the Gunners.

Andrew Robertson – 8: His miscued clearance led to the opening goal for the Gunners. Quickly made amends in helping the Reds to get the lead.

Midfield:

Georginio Wijnaldum – 7: Kept things simple by passing the ball around quickly and tried to instigate the counter attack.

Fabinho – 7: Intercepted the ball early to prevent Gunners’s counter attacks and expertly shielded the Reds defence as Van Dijk ventured forward at times.

Naby Keita – 7: Always looked to get the Reds on the front foot but conceded a few possessions.

Forwards:

Sadio Mané – 10: Scored the equaliser and made the Gunners’s defence sweat until he was substituted.

Roberto Firmino – 7: Provided with deft passes, intelligent movements and quick linkups. Despite having an affinity to score against the Gunners, the Brazilian this time did not get the chance to score.

Mohamed Salah – 8: Always on the peripherals of the Reds attacks and never gave a moment’s respite for the Gunners’s defence. Setup a sumptuous chance for Jota but the Portuguese just missed the net by a whisker.

Substitutes:

Diogo Jota – 8: Replaced Mané in the 79th minute. The Portugese International’s well taken goal sealed the win for the Reds. This was also his first goal as a Reds Player.

James Milner – 7: Brought on to replace the tiring Keita and bring stability in the midfield.

Takumi Minamino – N/A: Replaced Firmino in the 91st minute to close out the game.

Coach:

Jürgen Klopp – 8: The boss would be particularly happy to see the Reds clinch a win over the Gunners as the Gunners under Mikel Arteta are becoming a team that is becoming harder to beat.

The Reds are due to host Arsenal Fc (The Gunners) again for the Fourth Round of the Carabao Cup 2020-21 (01 October 2020 at 7:45 p.m (BST)).

 

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