The Sunday Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield was won 4-0 by Liverpool. Jürgen Klopp’s team produced a dominant performance courtesy of a Roberto Firmino hat-trick and a goal by Sadio Mané. The result leaves Arsenal sixth in the Premier League table on 12 points, while Liverpool are in fourth place on 17 points. The defeat means Arsenal has now failed to win away against the “top six” teams since January 2015.
According to an article in Forbes, there were three clear areas in which Arsenal’s shortcomings were exposed by Liverpool. Firstly, Arsenal struggled with the pressing game that Klopp employs in midfield. Secondly, Arsenal’s midfield was consistently over-run and Liverpool’s midfield, typically led by Emre Can, was more active, aggressive and had better ball retention. Finally, Arsenal’s defenders were unable to cope with Liverpool’s attacking threat with both Robert Holding and Nacho Monreal singled out as being poor.
The result comes after Manchester City closed the gap to Arsenal to five points by beating Southampton on 23 September. Football journalist, Guillem Balague, writing on the Sky Sports website, believes the loss means that Arsenal must look to their performance in the Europa League for Champions League qualification. Recent financial results suggest that the club can manage without Champions League football next season, however there is reputational damage when failing to compete with the top teams.
This weekend’s games also saw Tottenham take a 4-0 win against Huddersfield Town, with Harry Kane scoring twice. Chelsea beat Stoke City 4-0 with goals from Álvaro Morata, Pedro, Ántonio Rüdiger and a highly disputed own goal from Stoke’s Darren Fletcher. Manchester United beat last season’s champions, Leicester City, 2-0.