Liverpool show Arsenal their level

Liverpool have lethal forwards who can strike at any time and do well against Arsenal.

And so it proved here.

Arsenal needed another gear after the second goal went in – but it wasn’t there.

And they had to be near perfect in defence for 90+ minutes.

Around seven to eight years ago Klopp was linked with Arsenal. Liverpool were behind Arsenal generally and in overall league position. It shows where good management and transfer policy gets you.

There is still something special about Arsenal v Liverpool games. I never forget the keeper of the Liverpool Museum saying the Liverpool directors liked going to Arsenal more than any other club, a reference to a proper football club, rather than them winning there all the time.

Gabriel Martinelli – Arsenal’s best player on the night

It is the highest scoring fixture in the Premier League. But could Arsenal score against them, after failing in the last three.

The turning point was ten minutes after half time, when Thiago sent a blind pass back to Allison instead finding Lacazette with only the goalkeeper to beat. If he had turned left he probably would have scored, but he turned right and passed to Odegaard. With Allisson off his line the Norwegian chose to lift it over the Brazilian but didn’t hit it high enough.

A few minutes later Thiago found Jota on the inside of Cedric and the Portuguese shot low and hard at Ramsdale’s near post. The Arsenal keeper had come out too far and he got down too late and couldn’t find enough power in his hand to push the effort round the post. It was Jota’s seventh against Arsenal.

The balloon, extended through Arsenal’s excellent first half performance, was burst. Winning the half counted for nothing.

The lack of loan or signing an experienced goal-scorer in the January window will unfortunately hang over the team for the rest of the season.

Getting three points was a tall order with the visitors only having two defeats this season.

Jota was in for Salah with Mane in the middle. Tiago came in for Kieta in midfield.

Arsenal were unchanged for the fourth game in a row.

Van Dijk got to a header in the second minute and forced a fine save out of Ramsdale with the ball bouncing right in front of him.

But Arsenal pressed with intensity and were dominant.

Partey sent Saka away on the wing and he crossed for Martinelli for a shot saved by Allison and then again on 20 – but the ball was picked up by Allison.

Lacazette spun and found Xhaka who sent a curling shot wide of the Allison’s left-hand post.

But near the stroke of half time, Liverpool reminded of their threat with Alexander Arnold finding Mane running in on goal but he shot well over, challenged by White.

At the start of the second Henderson and Tiago played further forward in a more central position and the latter immediately threatened the Arsenal goal with a through pass to Mane, who was just offside.

Martinelli dribbled through four Liverpool attempted tackles, but his cross was cleared.

Diaz and Jota were substituted with Salah and Firmino after the first goal.

And immediately Firmino pressed Gabriel and crossed for Thiago. Salah shot and the ball rebounded to Saka on the right. His clearance rebounded off Robertson, who continued his run, saw Firmino pointing, and he delivered, the Brazilian only have to touch it deftly under the diving Ramsdale.

Liverpool slowed the game down after that. Smith Rowe brought some energy but his shot was blocked by Matip.

Xhaka set up Martinelli driving in from the left but he bent it just wide of the far post.

Robertson said: “In the second half we played a bit better. We started well then they had the better of first half, winning second balls. We knew we could play better and find the half spaces and we were dominant.”

He added that Martinelli and Saka are hard work always wanting to get in behind.

Thiago said that in the first half the pressure wasn’t accurate and “we adjusted it”.

Jurgen Klopp said: “We had to step out. Martinelli is a talented boy – very hard to defend against. We scored two fantastic goals. In the first half there was not enough between the lines and too many behind the ball.

“We were prepared for a tough game. Arsenal are a really talented team. We improved in a few areas at half time. The players didn’t enjoy the first half. It was hard. But they enjoyed the second.”

Mikel Arteta said:”We were at their level but not in the boxes. We had chances but didn’t score against the best team in the league.

Arteta said he liked the hard press, how they regained the ball, kept possession and the intensity, mentality and courage of the Arsenal players.

“The performance didn’t reflect result.”

“If Odegaard had found the net it would be a different story. It was in the boxes.

“It leaves a bad taste – but I’m proud of the boys and performances and the fans stayed behind the team. I have never seen atmosphere like this.”

Arsenal:32Ramsdale, 17Cédric Soares, 4White, 6Gabriel, 3Tierney, 5Partey, 34Xhaka, 7Saka (Substituted for Pépé at (74’minutes), 8Ødegaard (Substituted for Smith Rowe at 67’minutes), 35Martinelli 9LacazetteSubstituted for Nketiah at 80’minutes)

Liverpool: 1Alisson, 66Alexander-Arnold, 32Matip, 4van Dijk, 26Robertson, 14Henderson, 3Fabinho, 6Thiago Alcántara (Substituted for Jones at 90’minutes), 10Mané, 20Jota (Substituted for Firmino at 56’minutes, Booked at 63mins), 23Díaz (Substituted for Salah at 56’minutes)