Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold has revealed how Jurgen Klopp was able to outsmart his Arsenal counterpart, Unai Emery, in the 3-1 win over the Gunners on Saturday. The Reds were able to preserve the 100% start to the campaign with yet another big win over Arsenal at Anfield.
After repeated failures on this ground, Arsenal came in with a lot of determination and they were able to keep the Reds out just five minutes before half-time. The goal from Joel Matip – from a set piece – changed the half-time team talk and Alexander-Arnold revealed how Klopp made modifications to Liverpool’s style of play to bring about another big win over Arsenal. Speaking to Metro, the right-back said:
“The gaffer showed us a bit of [footage] at half-time and we could stretch them, with Mo, Bobby and Sadio [Mane], and get it into feet. They probably set up knowing that we were going to cross it, they were ready.
“[Against] other teams we try to create the yard and cross it from in front. The gaffer said to us at half-time, if we get a runner down we can get the ball down the outside. [For Salah’s first], Hendo takes the ball out the way and I’m able to play it into Bobby and we got the pen.
“That was the idea, to drag a centre-half out and not allow them to stay in and head the ball away.”
Arsenal have always had a problem with stopping teams that are powerful on the transition. This coupled with their away blues provided the perfect opportunity for Liverpool to once again inflict a heavy loss. Arsenal have been horrendous away from home and Klopp will have to do a lot of work behind the scenes to keep his team from getting complacent.
Anfield has become a fortress for the Reds as we have managed to stay unbeaten at home for over two years now. During this period, more than 40 attempts have been made to break the unbeaten streak. Arsenal have suffered more at the hands of Liverpool on this ground, as they have conceded 18 goals in the last five visits. The latest big defeat is a huge setback for the Gunners, who had been hopeful of a better result after making a good start to the campaign.
Liverpool remain top of the table with a 100% record. Klopp has been able to transform Liverpool’s fortunes with his high-intensity style of football. Some may also attribute the success achieved by Liverpool under the German to a list of expensive signings, but the game against Arsenal showed the tactical nous possessed by the former Borussia Dortmund manager.
Even though Klopp has failed on numerous occasions at the final hurdle, his ability to spot Arsenal’s quest to stifle the opposition should deserve a lot of applause. The change in style of play also helped Liverpool take advantage of a liability like David Luiz, who committed several grave mistakes to allow Mohamed Salah to recapture his best form in the second half. Salah failed to score in the last two games for Liverpool but he managed to once again extend his brilliant scoring run at Anfield. The Egyptian has now come up with six goals in his last five games at Anfield.
There is a brilliant opportunity for the Reds to build on this start, as the biggest challenge for the team over the next five games would be Chelsea. Other than this relatively difficult fixture, the games against Burnley, Newcastle, Sheffield United, and Leicester are all winnable. After having come close to the league title last season, Klopp will be aware of the importance of a good start. If Manchester City gain an early advantage, it may be very difficult to pull it back.