Do you remember those days when Arsenal used to be rolling at Anfield and celebratory flips?
Liverpool players had longed for that era in the first minutes, before Mikel Arteta, when goals were guaranteed – gifted to them through hologram defense – and could easily pick their opponents.
The England champions ultimately did what they did, achieving an all-out win at Anfield extending their unbeaten streak on the ground to 61 matches.
But it was different, it was cumbersome and required them to be completely relentless in and out of possession, suffocating visitors with the press and engulfing them with offensive strikes. Not that the Merseysider family mind it.
Arteta Games’ plan succeeded in treating in the early stages. He let his men own Liverpool – perhaps more than the manager would have liked – and made them toil in the opening match.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Roberson provided players for the opponents from both wings, while Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane created beautiful patterns and opportunities.
But, wrongly and magically, Arsenal were ahead with their only shot of any kind in the match in the 25th minute.
It was also the first serious counterattack after Liverpool broke pressure with Alexander Lacazette to supply Ainsley Maitland-Niles on the left.
He didn’t make the best cross, but Robertson made the lowest level, sending the ball straight to Lacazette.
The striker turned around and missed too, but the ball rebounded over Allison.
Arsenal barely had time to enjoy their fortune, before Liverpool played like the best team in the league and swayed them twice.
Referee Craig Pawson played an advantage after David Luiz Naby Keita was handicapped. Firmino collected the loose ball, fed Salah who ruthlessly fled from Kieran Tierney and forced Bernd Leno to overtake his shot. Mane followed up and put Liverpool on the level of conditions.
Six minutes later, another dangerous Alexander-Arnold cross slipped from Hector Bellerin header to Robertson, who stunned her and overtook Leno. The left-back atoned for his mistake and Liverpool ran all the screws.
“You have to suffer for periods,” he warned Arteta before the match and that was Arsenal’s agony. Liverpool pressured, questioned him, pressed more and found out more. The total number of shots in the first half was 11-1, with Gunners only 31%.
They weren’t too bruised on the scoreboard and that encouraged them in the second half. Alison Lacazette refused in a singles match, but the striker was reported to be offside.
The goalkeeper, who passed the fitness check late for emergence, frustrated the Frenchman again, as he quickly stepped out to narrow the corner and stood tall to block the shot after Dani Ceballos cleverly played for Lacazette.
Of late, substitute Diogo Jota opened his account with Liverpool on his first Premier League appearance after Luiz sent an Alexander-Arnold cross in his direction. The Portuguese international dominated his chest and shot in the corner.
Arteta predicted that Liverpool “is able to restrict the opponent so that he does not do much against him and can control long periods of matches.” Basque’s assertion was correct, but Arsenal had a different suggestion.
Meanwhile, the heroes are the same hard-to-live machine.
“It’s still really early in the season, but the kind of performance is amazing,” Klopp said.
Liverpool got nine out of nine after hosting Leeds and Arsenal, who were trapped on a trip to Chelsea. The question of whether they could keep their wish after ending the title’s 30-year drought has been answered in the affirmative.
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