Arsenal 5-4 Liverpool | What went wrong?

No beating around the bush, we simply weren't good enough and in the first half not even close. As a result there was too much left to do and with the match going directly to a penalty shoot-out, too little time to do it.

Embed from Getty Images

Subsequently, for the second season running we lost the Charity Shield in the same sickening manor. Sickening partly because penalty shoot-outs suck but mainly because the game was there for the winning if only we'd better applied ourselves.

A tale of two halves

For the first 45 minutes, let's start at the rear: our defence were fine. Williams has received some criticism for not steering Aubameyang to the outside rather than allowing him to cut inside and shoot but having watched the goal back a few times I think that's very harsh indeed.

Embed from Getty Images

Aubameyang was simply on a mission and whichever way Williams had gone I firmly believe he would have gained a yard and scored just as he did. That's the quality he has.

A short while afterwards, Alisson made a great save to stop Nketiah making it two. All in all no complaints about keeper and defence. Our midfield however were not fantastic. Milner missed a chance to head home a nice cross from Robertson, who by the way was by far our best player in the first half and without Henderson, our central players lacked coherence as they struggled to create chances for our attackers.

Did I mention attackers? believe it or not we actually had three on the pitch. Really nothing further to add, Mane Mo and Bobby Firmino were on the pitch. That was their sole contribution.

Second half improvement

At the hour mark, Klopp made the following changes: Williams and Milner off, Keita and Minamino on. We had a shuffle about, changing from a 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1. Something which fellow Nester Romper had previously suggested we try and boy was he right (we'll gloss over his four nil predictions).

With Minamino left, Mane switched out to the right, Bobby as a 10 and Salah as striker, we instantly became more potent. In fact we became far better as a whole with subsequent minutes yielding a possession split of 80/20 in our favour.

Embed from Getty Images

As we continued to dominate we soon got ourselves on the score sheet via Minamino's first Liverpool goal. With things level at one a piece we remained the better side and were arguably unlucky not to score again, although Arsenal had a late chance to score again too.

For the second half, overall, we have little to complain about and in fact there were some positive signs. More on those later.

We paid the penalty

Personally I hate penalties as a way to decide a game and perhaps it's sour grapes but I'm not happy there was no extra time. Even with a golden goal implementation I'd always favour that.

As far as specifics on this one, Brewster missed and the rest is history. Our pens were pretty good and even Brewster's was just inches from rippling the top of the net. Should Klopp have subbed him on with no time to get a touch on the ball, instead to go directly to a lonely penalty walk? No, he shouldn't. He has since said he takes responsibility.


I'm sure our lads will rally around Brewtser and hopefully he'll not be too badly effected. I also won't berate Jurgen too strongly as I don't feel it was the crime of the century. In fact overall I thought the Gaffa got most things right on the day. Good early second half subs and change of tactics which clearly had an improving effect. He will rightly have expected more in the first half and I don't blame him for players under performing.

Looking ahead

It's fair to say most of our fanbase are concerned we're not strengthening as much as our rivals. Particularly in terms of squad depth. Tsimikas gives us (hopefully) good cover for Robertson but we still seem short in several areas. Up front our terrific trio have increasingly struggled, in midfield we see a large drop in quality whenever Henderson is unavailable and even with him we often lack creativity and a midfield goal threat.

In defence, with Lovren now departed we're down to just three senior centre backs, Van Dijk, Gomez and Matip. At least one of those is injury prone and the next lads in line are about half their age, lacking virtually any topflight experience.

Embed from Getty Images

On the injury prone front we have what seems an ever growing list, Ox, Matip, Gomez(?), Keita and Shaqiri. We also have an ageing midfield: Wijnaldum 29, Henderson 30, Milner 34.

We do not have a recognised striker we can rely on.

With just two weeks to go until we begin our title defence these are all genuine concerns and as much as I'd like to, I cannot put a positive spin on all of them. I do however feel there are some positives worth considering.

We have made new signings

Just not in this window but both Minamino and Keita are as good as new signings, although with a large question mark over Naby's robustness. In theory Minamino gives us a fantastic four in attack who can all interchange at will - we saw this yesterday and it worked well. And Keita addresses our midfield issues, he brings youth, drive and creativity.

Embed from Getty Images

Keita can be the missing link between our midfield and attack and Minamino can improve that attack. With his inclusion we can mix things up and leave the opposition guessing again. With a fourth attacker chipping in, as he did yesterday, pressure is relieved from Mane and Mo and I think this will see them start scoring again themselves. I've called many times previously to see Firmino as a 10, which is where he played at Hoffenheim and in my view his most natural position.

We know Bobby can play sublime football so let's allow ourselves to salivate at the thought of him pulling the strings for a newly energised three ahead of him. As described by Liver Bird Spotting during yesterday's match: Minamino brings industry and endeavour in spades, this could be just what we need to reignite our attacking afterburners. If we sign Thiago that's our midfield sorted as well.

Add to that Jones and Williams - two more effectual new signings and there are some positives here peoples. Okay we can't ignore some of the above issues but honestly I still believe come season start we are going to be right there in the mix again.
Powered by Blogger.