Liverpool suffered defeat at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, placing them in a vulnerable position with Arsenal and Manchester City now within striking distance at the summit of the Premier League.
In what could be Jurgen Klopp’s final visit to Arsenal, he conceded second place to Mikel Arteta. The match concluded with Liverpool succumbing to a 3-1 loss in north London. Goals from Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, and Leandro Trossard handed Liverpool their first domestic defeat since September.
A crucial go-ahead goal from Martinelli followed a defensive blunder by Virgil van Dijk and Alisson. Gabriel’s own-goal briefly leveled the playing field for the Reds in north London.
This setback allows Arsenal to temporarily close the gap to just two points behind the current league leaders. Newsnow Liverpool delves into some of the decisions that likely played a pivotal role in Klopp and his team’s crumbling in the capital.
Trent Got Sent
In the absence of Conor Bradley’s father’s tragic demise, the 20-year-old might have retained his position in Klopp’s lineup for the journey to north London. However, Trent Alexander-Arnold, having been deemed fit, reclaimed his spot at right-back to Arsenal’s advantage.
With Bradley sidelined after noteworthy performances against Chelsea and Bournemouth, ‘TAA’ emerged as the optimal option on the right side of the defence. Nevertheless, Alexander-Arnold’s vulnerabilities out of possession were once again exposed, a recurring theme in recent times.
Recognising that the England international could be targeted by players like Gabriel Martinelli or Kai Havertz, Klopp might have benefited from adjusting his midfield to provide additional support for Alexander-Arnold. However, the starting trio in the midfield did little to counteract Arsenal’s dominance on that side of the field.
Ryan ‘Stopandstare’ Gravenberch
Liverpool’s midfield vulnerabilities were apparent at the Emirates, particularly in Ryan Gravenberch’s subpar performance. Teaming up with Curtis Jones and Alexis Mac Allister, Klopp could have benefited from a more industrious midfielder.
Gravenberch, previously praised for his box-to-box contributions, could have exerted more effort to disrupt Arsenal’s rapid attacks from the wings. This lapse added to the challenges faced by Liverpool’s full-backs, creating a notable absence felt in the absence of Wataru Endo and Stefan Bajcetic.
Robertson in Reserve
Klopp’s decision to exercise caution against a formidable opponent like Arsenal, by holding back not-fully-fit stars to avoid potential injuries, deserves acknowledgment.
Nevertheless, there is a valid temptation to propose that if players like Andy Robertson or Darwin Nunez are fit enough to be included in the squad for a match of such significance, they should be considered for the starting XI.
In this context, Robertson’s presence on the left side of defence could have been particularly advantageous, possibly preventing Saka’s breakthrough.
The Scottish player was introduced for Alexander-Arnold early in the second half, with Joe Gomez shifting to right-back—a tactical adjustment that might have been beneficial if implemented from the start, raising questions about Klopp’s initial setup.
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