Liverpool walked away from Anfield on Sunday afternoon with all three points after an emphatic victory over an extremely dire Arsenal side. The Gunners offered absolutely nothing in front of goal leaving Loris Karius with very little to do.
|Image via The Guardian (Phil Noble/Reuters)|
The lack of goalkeeping requirement was perhaps a blessing in disguise for the Reds as Karius looked nervous on occasion stepping in to the role after months without a game. The bizarre decision to entirely drop Simon Mignolet from the side (not even allowing the Belgian to appear on the bench) left many Liverpool fans scratching their heads before kick off.
Jurgen Klopp explained that Migs was simply being "rested" but I wasn't born yesterday. A goalkeeper doesn't need to be "rested" and certainly not this early in the season. Something has happened, I'm not sure what, but you don't just drop a keeper with no real reason behind it. I have no qualms with Karius making an appearance in goal to give Mignolet some competition either but I don't feel Simon has done anything recently to deserve being replaced, certainly not so suddenly in the run up to a massive game.
As I mentioned though, thankfully, Karius had very little to do. The main focus was very much on Petr Cech's goal as he had to deal with Liverpool's free flowing attack.
The first goal came courtesy of Roberto Firmino, a lovely cross from Joe Gomez into the box allowed the Brazilian to head home after just 17 minutes. It was Sadio Mane though who scored the pick of all four goals when at 40 minutes he whipped home a stunning solo effort.
By this stage the Reds were visibly in control of the match, reeling off 10 minute possession stats as high as 75% to Arsenal's 25% at one stage. Wenger's side really looked in terrible form, they genuinely just didn't seem bothered, there was no fire there, no desire to get back into the game. At 2-0 up in the first half Arsenal still could have easily got themselves on track but the players just didn't seem concerned, add into the mix that for some strange reason Wenger decided not to play his £50+ million signing in Lacazette and as an Arsenal fan you have to be asking several questions.
Liverpool may have got the better of the Gunners twice last season but not for years have I seen the Londoners so lacklustre in this fixture. It was a crying shame as these games are usually some of the most exciting. Arsenal's loss though is of course Liverpool's gain and the Reds started the second half in exactly the same fashion as the first.
Mo Salah's goal just before the hour mark saw him run half the length of the pitch after possession was stolen. With a cool finish, Liverpool's new signing celebrated wildly in front of a beaming Kop End.
To top it all off, Daniel Sturridge entered play at 74 minutes and had scored by minute 77. The vision of Salah allowed for a well timed cross which the England forward converted with ease. I always enjoy watching Sturridge find the back of the net as despite his more bit part role at the club of late I still feel he's a top quality player on his day. Injuries aside and with regular football he could still be up there with the best in the Premier League.
It was a superb display from Klopp's team and whilst I still have some huge concerns over the Mignolet/Karius situation, hopefully they will be answered over the coming days. Next up for the Reds is Manchester City and I honestly think we'll beat them n'all. It's the Burnleys and Watfords of this world that Liverpool need to learn to contend with at the moment, not the big boys!