Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says his side “do not need to excite everyone in every second” after a comfortable victory over Arsenal maintained their place at the top of the Premier League.
The Brazilian, at 32, is not going to change and so it proved as he delivered a moment of crass stupidity that killed stone dead Arsenal’s hopes of taking anything away from Anfield.
It is a stretch to say Arsenal had Liverpool on the ropes but, despite the overall domination of the European champions, the Gunners certainly had moments of threat through the pace and menace of Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. They would have started the second half with hope.
Luiz made it all count for nothing when he felt his best method of dealing with Salah’s 49th-minute raid into the penalty area was to blatantly drag him back by the shirt in a red-mist moment that did not even seriously require the intervention of the video assistant referee.
Salah, despite some ludicrous protests from Luiz, drilled home the penalty before taking him to cleaners when scoring Liverpool’s brilliant third.
Too much of the Arsenal’s playing out from the back was asking for trouble against this Liverpool side. Throw in the act of stupidity from Luiz and ultimately they got what they deserved, despite some areas for Emery to admire.
“We were doing some transitions very good and we had some chances but, in the second half, the penalty was very soft,” Emery told BBC Match of the Day.
“After 2-0 our reaction was good. We needed to attack and take a different moment in the match. We are disappointed we lost 3-1 but watching some players we can be optimistic.
“We need to improve in possession and countering the pressure but Liverpool is the best team with this. We have to be realistic but we can fight closer to them.”
Man of the match – Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Arsenal’s Liverpool woe – the stats
- Since Jurgen Klopp took over in October 2015, Liverpool have scored 26 goals in eight Premier League games against Arsenal – the most one side has netted against another in the competition in that period.
- Only Everton at Arsenal (64) have conceded more away goals against a single opponent in the Premier League than Arsenal at Liverpool (62).
- Arsenal have now failed to win any of their past 23 away league games against fellow ‘Big six’ sides (D8 L15) – during this run they have conceded 53 goals while keeping just one clean sheet.
- Since the start of last season, Arsenal have given away eight Premier League penalties – only Brighton (10) have faced more.
- Liverpool have scored 22 headed goals in the Premier League since the start of last season; seven more than any other side. The Reds have scored three in this campaign already, while no other side has scored more than one.
- Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has faced Arsenal eight times without defeat in the Premier League (W5 D3).
- Mohamed Salah has been directly involved in more Premier League goals against Arsenal than against any other side (eight; six goals and two assists). He has scored in all four of his home games against them.
- Trent Alexander-Arnold has assisted nine goals in his past 10 appearances at Anfield for Liverpool in all competitions, including assisting once in each of his past five competitive home games.
- Nicolas Pepe has become the first player to successfully dribble past Virgil van Dijk in the Dutch defender’s past 50 appearances in the Premier League, since Mikel Merino in March 2018 for Newcastle.