Arsenal vs Liverpool : Match day 1 report

Arsenal Liverpool Match Review


LIVERPOOL starting XI:

Simon Mignolet – Nathaniel Clyne – Dejan Lovren – Ragnar Klavan –
Alberto Moreno – Adam Lallana – Jordan Henderson – Georginio Wijnaldum – Sadio Mane
– Roberto Firmino – Phillipe Coutinho.
Liverpool Subs: Alexander Manninger – Marko Grujic – Emre Can – Divock Origi – Joel
Matip – Kevin Stewart.


With the preseason dress rehearsals done and over with, Liverpool needed to somehow
mirror the kind of form that saw them thrash Barcelona 4nil
even though that was basically a
sparring match, nevertheless against a behemoth in Cataluyna’s most successful side but
today’s fixture with Arsenal presented a similar juggernauth, not essentially the club but the
occasion and history makes this match just as tough as playing Bayern Munich or Barcelona
in full flight.
Liverpool has won only one of their last 20 away trips to Arsenal in all competitions (W1 D8
L11) and has collected just 8 points from a possible 30 points in the Premier League at the
Emirates Stadium. As if that wasn’t enough, the Gunners have lost just two of their last 15
home games on opening day (W10 D3 L2).

The fixture promised to be a high scoring encounter with the promotion having the most
hattricks of any fixture in the Premier League history (5). A silver lining in a seemingly
ominous and bleak looking match for Klopp’s side was that Arsenal’s 2 opening day defeats
at home have come in recent times (last 3 EPL seasons) and Liverpool are the highest
scoring team in the EPL as far as 2016 is concerned.
Jurgen Klopp handed out three debuts at the Emirates this evening with Ragnar Klavan,
Georginio Wijnaldum, and Sadio Mane all in the starting XI. Klavan was tasked to form a
partnership with Dejan Lovren at the centerhalf with Nathaniel Clyne and Alberto Moreno on
the flanks.


Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson join Wijnaldum in the midfield while Phillipe
Coutinho and new signing Sadio Mane provided support for striker Roberto Firmino.

With Danny Welbeck injured and Olivier Giroud lacking match fitness, the onus was on the
Copa Americas winner and MVP, Alexis Sanchez to lead the line for the Gunners with
Walcott, Iwobi, and Ramsey in support. Mohamed Elneny got the nod to play alongside
Francis Coquelin in the midfield while the back four had Gunner debutant, Rob Holding and
Calum Chambers in the center with Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal in the fullback
Right from kickoff, Liverpool struggled to impose their will or find any kind of rhythm in their
game and got repeatedly stretched at the back even though a lovely tempo ensued with both
sides feeling out both their attacking plans looking keen to push the pace.
Arsenal got the first wave of meaningful attack going in real dangerous form but Bellerin
overhit his cross but was rewarded with a corner as it was picked up by Monreal on the
overlap to force the set piece. It was only a matter of time before Arsenal stated enjoying the
lion’s share of possession in the attacking half looking very eager to keep Nathaniel Clyne’s
hands full which almost reaped fruits in the 7th minute as Alexis Sanchez got on the end of a
string of intricate one touch
passes to stab an effort at goal but hit it straight into the grateful
hands of Mignolet.
The Liverpool form that sorted out Barcelona seemed to be in the backroom of some
underwater museum as the Reds struggled to get any type of buildup
play going highlighted
by the near disaster in the 15th minute as Moreno’s errant defensive header found Ramsey
in acres of space but the Welshman couldn’t capitalize on the error as his first touch let him
down and Moreno hastily made up ground to deny Ramsey the shot at goal forcing a corner.
Two minutes later, Liverpool sought to pick Arsenal’s pocket as a drifting Mane stole the ball
and threatened to take on the Gunners back four and nearly succeeded but an excellent
tackle from Coquelin diluted his efforts with Holding doing the mopup
job to keep Mane offPetr Cech’s goal.
That attack seemed to spur on the Reds as the visitors started playing narrow in a bid to
trouble Arsenal’s two young and in-experienced centerbacks but this approach yielded nothing as each wave of
attack ended in a final third too congested to mount anything significant not until the 25th
minute which saw a nice buildup
play get Firmino in on for his first attempt of the day but
was extinguished by quite a critical block as replay angles showed Cech would have had his
work cut out to keep Firmino’s name off the score board.
Minutes and a reckless Moreno challenge later, Arsenal was gifted a PENALTY from a
non-threatening Walcott drive that got Moreno inexcusably sliding in to bring the Englishman
to the ground 30 minutes into the first half and it was Walcott versus Mignolet from the
penalty spot.

Fortunately, our first choice goalie guessed correctly, diving to his right to parry
Walcott’s shot away keeping the scoreline goalless at the Emirates. It was to be the most
ephemeral of reliefs for Moreno and Kop faithfuls as Walcott redeemed himself just 68
seconds after missing that penalty to get his name on the board. The winger took a pass
from Iwobi and from a clearly difficult position, sent a stunning finish past Mignolet, in at the
far post. <1-0 Arsenal>.
Like a champion boxer that just got his chin tested, Liverpool went to work with a little more
urgency though their attacks lacked ingenuity the traveling fans cheered the effort even
louder and were nearly rewarded for their belief from a well worked attack that saw Klopp’s
men filling the channels like a mudslide in Bangladesh, exploiting spaces made available to
them in the final third with Wijnaldum getting on the end of the nice buildup
and tried to steer a firsttime
shot in at the far post but Cech’s experience shone through to water down
his efforts.


The Red got it right later on this time in the form of a freekick
on the cusp of halftime
Rob Holding was adjudged to have fouled Coutinho, who got us level with a sumptuous
strike to the topleft
corner from 30 yards out leaving Cech with no chance in hell of keeping
that goal out. <1-1Liverpool>
HALF TIME and both teams had given each other something to think ponder on and hopes
of a Reds’ opening day victory looking not so farfetched
any more.
took Liverpool just 4 minutes after the break to impose their will and debutant Wijnaldum
picking up the assist as a sweet cross from the Dutchman found Lallana who controlled it off
his chest with the class of an Olympic gold medal winning iceskater
and then slid the finish
under Cech all the while running from goal!! It was an absolutely edible strike from the
<1-2 Liverpool>

A visibly disquieted North London could do nothing but watch a resurgent Liverpool pick
them apart with attack after attack that kept Arsenal on the ropes. Holding on to keep the
scoreline respectable till Liverpool cooled off was the wrong strategy as just 7 minutes after
Liverpool’s 2nd, another belligerent attack by the Reds ripped gooner hearts to shreds as a
fantastic buildup
play that strung almost countless passes together got Clyne on the right
with the fullback picking out Coutinho in the center, and the Brazilian sent in a perfect
first time
finish beyond Cech.
Another yellow card and two Gunner substitutions later and the Kop were up to no good
again in Arsenal’s half, this time Sadio Mane showed his outstanding pace to sprint down the
right flank, cut into the center between Monreal and Chambers, switched to his left and sent
an emphatic finish in to the top corner. <1-4Liverpool>

The goal attempts kept coming but Arsenal were the ones to rejoice this time as the super
substitutions, OxladeChamberlain and Santi Carzola combined to harass Mignolet at his
near post, a deflection helping it in and getting Arsenal within two goals. <Arsenal 2-4>

It was to be only a momentary letup
as Liverpool mounted another attack with their lightning
style of play leaving Arsenal all over the place, the Reds looked like scoring with every
attack, stripping gooner hearts of any sliver of confidence left in their manager to pull off
what could be the opening day comeback of all comebacks.

With 15 minutes remaining, Calum Chambers’ header set Liverpool’s nerves on edge
further, but the Reds held on to get us off to a victorious start.

Final Result: Arsenal 3 – 4 Liverpool
Felt good to come through victorious in an opening day 7goal
thriller. Klopp will have a
much clearer picture of what he needs to do this season which has to be along the lines of a
very robust attack and an even more fullbodied


Player Ratings
Simon Mignolet: ———————-6/10

Not a performance to strike fear in the hearts of EPL strikers but substantive enough to get
over the line with a bloodthirsty
Arsenal strikeforce.
Nathaniel Clyne:——————— 7.8/10

Did well to hold off a Gunnner force that felt he was the weak link. Showed his allround
ability with great play upfront, getting the assist for Liverpool’s third.


Dejan Lovren:————————– 6.1/10
Wasn’t in the thick of things but took one for the team when it mattered.


Ragnar Klavan:————————- 5.9/10
First taste of the EPL madhouse,
did well not to get sucked in but needs a lot more work to
keep Klopp’s first XI callups



Alberto Moreno:—————————– 5.2/10
His reckless antics nearly cost us time and again. Needs to get his head in the game down
the line.



Georginio Wijnaldum:————————— 8.2/10
Gave a great account of his abilities and showed real desire to play well. Can’t wait to see
what else this guy has in his warchest.



Jordan Henderson: ———————————7.7/10
Bossed the midfield, full of energy, linked midfield attack to great effect.


Adam Lallana: —————————————7.4/10
Scored a fantastic goal in the second half but I’m still not convinced. Needs to show more
killer instinct.


Phillipe Coutinho:——————— —————8.8/10
Amazing performance; once Liverpool got going he looked a threat throughout.


Roberto Firmino:———————————— 6.3/10
Regular Liverpool dangerman
looked a bit tame today. Hope he fixes this soon.


Sadio Mane:——————————————– 8.5/10
Played excellently, integrated seamlessly into the team, and scored a fantastic goal against
a quality Arsenal side

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