Football Article

Liverpool Fail To Exorcise Their Post-Restart Ghosts

Liverpool Fail To Exorcise Their Post-Restart Ghosts Photo: TT
Liverpool, Arsenal. Photo credit: Paul Childs/NMC Pool

Liverpool fell to a shock 2-1 defeat at the hands of Arsenal.

Jurgen Klopp’s men were chasing the magical 100 point mark but showed how difficult it is for any side to reach the landmark with another post-restart loss.

It was happy beginnings, though. Liverpool started like the champions they are and Arsenal retreated back into their own half like the mid-table side they’ve become.

Changes

Naby Keita was left out in favour of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and while the internet delighted in this move by Klopp to give the old Gunner a guard of honour, it didn’t pay immediate dividends.

The press was intense and lead, as always, by Roberto Firmino. He was nearly rewarded for working his minerals off when he charged down Arsenal goalkeeper Emi Martinezs clearance, which rebounded off the Brazilian, onto the post and out for a goal kick.

Liverpool were rewarded with a goal that never looked in doubt. Firmino, so important as the link-man, played in Andy Robertson down the left, who slid a ball back to Sadio Mane and the rest was history.

Went South

But then it all went wrong. Virgil van Dijk and Alisson gifted Arsenal a way back into the game with horrendous errors.

It was uncharacteristic of the pair but in a way it was strangely characteristic of how Liverpool have played since the restart. There have been moments of pure class, as there was when Mane tucked home Robertson’s cross, and moments of ineptitude.

For every Crystal Palace there has been an Everton or a Burnley. And now there’s an Arsenal.

Once the Gunners took the lead, Mikel Arteta instructed his men to play anti-football and adapt the 0-0-10 formation as they loaded the box with so many bodies you couldn’t see the green turf.

Rearguard

Thats not to say Arsenal didn’t deserve their win, they did. They were clinical and defended much better than Klopp’s men a sentence you never thought you’d read this year.

Liverpool were toothless but front and Mohamed Salah appeared robbed of his ability. Takumi Minamino and Naby Keita played well when they were introduced, while Xherdan Shaqiri had the ball in the back of the net but was pulled back for a foul Divock Origi committed.

Klopps away day blues continue to haunt this side, who are allowed a day off after wrapping up the league title with seven games to spare. Well see the real Reds once 2020/2021 gets underway again, but for now this is a disappointment that needs to be fixed.

Russell hughes
Sports Pundit staff writer @rusty_hughes
I’m a cricket, rugby union and football writer based in Wellington but with one foot in South Africa and England

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