It’s hard to really find the words to describe what went on yesterday at Anfield. Adjectives like appalling, farcical, embarrassing, all spring to mind first and foremost, but even they don’t feel like they really explain the performance of the excuses for footballers that took to the pitch in a mint green Arsenal kit last night.
Liverpool are the best team at the moment. They have a fully fit squad, are brimming with confidence and that showed yesterday. Arsenal have none of those things but even so, I’m sure what we expected was a level of fight that would at least give us some positives this morning.
What I saw yesterday had very few positives at all. You could point to Ainsley Maitland-Niles scoring and also to the fact Alex Iwobi wasn’t the epitome of a headless chicken for the whole game, but that’s pretty much where it stops I’m afraid, because the rest of them were a shambles, devoid of any ability to retain possession and looking like a bunch of random Christmas shoppers assembled in Liverpool to play for The Arsenal.
Notable shoutouts need to go to Lichtsteiner, Mustafi and Sokratis, because they were so bad it was comical. Lichtsteiner is not a Premier League footballer. End of discussion. He’s ponderous, was at fault for Mane’s goal, but looked off pace all night. Mustafi is a clown which was demonstrated by his falling over backwards when Firmino was running at him for the second goal we conceded. Sokratis has been good this season but he stunk the place out yesterday too, falling over for the second goal and being silly for getting behind Salah and giving him the opportunity to go down in the box to male it 4-1.
It was atrocious defending the likes of which I’d love to say we haven’t seen but this team has been able to produce for a few years now. We are rubbish when we go away to the big teams and this was rubbish on top of rubbish.
It’s embarrassing and I hope all of those players are having a think about why they went out so unprepared, so devoid of any creativity and so unable to do the most basic things in football.
Yesterday felt like I was watching an FA Cup third round game between Liverpool and a team from League One or League Two. They looked so much better than us it was painful. The fact that Arsenal are supposed to be one of the best six teams in the country only serves to show just how atrocious the performance was.
Embarrassing. That’s the word that I keep coming back to.
And I’m afraid Unai has to take some blame too. He went with four at the back and it failed miserably. For all of the changes and talks of USBs, it looked like he hadn’t even bothered to assess what Liverpool’s strengths are and the fact that Lacazette was left on the bench when Mesut Özil is also sitting at home is confusing to me. It was like he wanted to purposefully make his life harder by not playing one of his goal scorers. Let’s not forget that Laca and Auba get the vast bulk of our goals and when Lacazette isn’t on the pitch Aubameyang also cuts a solitary figure up front. Yesterday was no different and he was barely in the game at all.
But at least he wasn’t as horrendous as our defence and midfield. Torreira and Xhaka looked out of their depth and with a hapless defence behind them it just added fuel to the fire yesterday. Against Brighton we were bad but we played a terrible team. Yesterday we were a terrible team and we saw what happens when we come up against a ruthless one.
We have a game in three days against Fulham and that will be the chance to get a response but to be honest right now it doesn’t feel like top four will be reached. Not with this excuse for a defence. When Chelski win today it’ll be five points that is the difference and whilst that in itself isn’t insurmountable, with this back line conceding goals as it does – Wolves, West Ham, Leicester, Brighton, Newcastle and Crystal Palace all have better defences and have conceded less goals than us – it doesn’t matter how good our forward line is, we’re always going to shoot ourselves in the foot.
Unai Emery has had six months with this crop of players and I’ll be stunned if the club don’t do something in January and in the summer. By then he’ll be in to his third transfer window and hopefully we can start to shift some of the players who are underperforming out of the club.
For now though we need to just lick our wounds and be thankful that there’s another game in a matter of days.
That’s all I feel like talking about right now. So I’ll bid you farewell. Try to have a good one friends.