What everyone predicted would be the game of the weekend turned out to be a thrilling, albeit one-sided, encounter that showcased the best of Liverpool’s potential under Jurgen Klopp’s high-pressing system. We’re going to look at some of the implications of the match:
Alexis Sanchez’s Future
The departure of Alexis Sanchez has been a point of speculation since the transfer window opened. He looked a frustrated figure at the Emirates last season and during this match his demeanor dampened even more. He was substituted around the one hour mark and was visibly frustrated and disappointed after each goal the Gunners conceded, which is likely to prompt even more conjecture that he could leave. Allegedly, Manchester City, Paris St Germain, and Juventus are interested in his services and one wouldn’t blame him for reconsidering his future at the club.
Liverpool’s attack could be the most dangerous in the League
The addition of Mo Salah has added another speedy outlet to Klopp’s attacking options and their victory showed just how difficult it is to deal with the amount of pace Liverpool has up front. The combination of Klopp’s tactical set up, along with fast players like Salah, Firmino and Mane, means that Liverpool are ideally setup to counter-attack faster than opponents can defend. It will be a difficult tactical task for opposing managers to neutralise Liverpool’s capacity to counter-attack without heavily affecting their own game plan.
Arsenal’s mentality is a serious concern
Playing poorly isn’t the only concern that Arsenal will have this season. The mentality and body-language they’ve had since the middle of last season has been getting progressively worse, with the team permanently reacting negatively to poor performances – and appearing unable to pull themselves out of their slump. One of the biggest criticisms of Wenger’s approach is that he doesn’t lead his squad, and with a lack of leaders to do the job for him, the team seems rudderless and devoid of confidence on the pitch. As many managers find out when the going gets tough, once they lose the dressing room it’s almost impossible to win the confidence and loyalty of the players back – and it seems as though Arsene Wenger is dangerously close to that point of no return, and may perhaps have already moved past it.
Daniel Sturridge may be surplus to requirements
Rewind a few seasons and Daniel Sturridge is one of the league’s most dangerous centre forwards during Brendan Rodgers’ tenure at Anfield. Unfortunately, Sturridge doesn’t seem to be such an integral part of Klopp’s plans and his ability to get game-time will continue to be limited for as long as Roberto Firmino continues to put in impressive performances like he did against the Gunners. With the transfer window still open, Sturridge may feel like his own personal progress as a player may be more promising at a different club.
Coutinho didn’t even play
While Coutinho has been the subject of a not-so-subtle approach from Barcelona for the last fortnight, he has been out of the squad until such a time as he is either transferred, or the window closes and he can return to the game-day team. For most of Liverpool’s time under Klopp’s management, their attack has been heavily reliant on Coutinho, but this match shows they now have more at their disposal than just the talents of the young Brazilian. Their attack should be even more effective and difficult to negate once he returns to the fray, which looks more likely than a departure at this point.
Arsenal had a day to forget at Anfield and will probably welcome the short international break coming up. The major question now is whether some of Arsenal’s big names, like Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, will attempt to negotiate moves away from the Emirates in the next few days. Hopefully for Arsenal, they manage to add to their squad, and don’t end up losing their talismans in such a difficult period.