Maybe Mikel Arteta will remorse the timing of his touchline fracas with Jurgen Klopp. Inside a couple of minutes of the incident, and with the Anfield crowd whipped right into a frenzy, Liverpool had been in entrance.
It was all of the extra galling for Arteta, in fact, given the scorer of the objective was Sadio Mane, the person whose mastery of the darkish arts had so enraged him. That is Liverpool. Streetwise and ruthless.
Arsenal, for all their youthful promise, stay a protracted, good distance off.
By the top, Liverpool’s one-goal lead had develop into 4, with Diogo Jota, Mohamed Salah and substitute Takumi Minamino ramming house their superiority in a painfully one-sided second half which left Arsenal and their supervisor bloodied and bruised.
The hole between the 2 sides might stand at solely 5 factors however in fact it’s far better than the Premier League desk exhibits.
As of their conferences with Chelsea and Manchester Metropolis earlier this season, Arsenal by no means seemed seemingly winners. Throughout the three video games, they’ve conceded 11 objectives and scored none.
The distinction this time, in fact, is that they got here into it having put their early-season harm disaster behind them and launched into a run of 10 video games unbeaten in all competitions. The temper had been reworked. Angst had made means for optimism.
This defeat doesn’t undo that progress and nor does it inform us something notably new about this Arsenal facet. There may be an thrilling core of younger gamers there. There is hope of a vivid future. However the highway is lengthy and there will likely be bumps in it.
At Anfield, as on the Etihad Stadium and in opposition to Chelsea on the Emirates Stadium, the gulf was obvious all around the pitch.
Whereas Liverpool welcomed two-time Champions League-winner Thiago Alcantara again into their midfield, Arsenal began with a 22-year-old signing from Anderlecht in theirs.
Whereas Liverpool may name on arguably one of the best offensive full-back in world soccer in Trent Alexander-Arnold, Arsenal fielded a 21-year-old beginning solely the nineteenth top-flight recreation of his profession.
The errors made by Albert Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Tavares will stick within the reminiscence – it was the latter’s errant go which allowed Jota to attain Liverpool’s second – however the hope for Arsenal is that experiences corresponding to these will serve them nicely within the long-run.
“Once they’ve come up in opposition to high opposition, they have been battered,” stated Sky Sports activities pundit Jamie Carragher. “Is that ok for Arsenal? They should compete with the highest groups. I get that.
“However this staff you are taking a look at now are younger and so they’re not able to compete with the actual high groups on this league. They should use this as a studying expertise and go on one other run.”
These are two sides at very completely different phases of their growth.
Arsenal’s beginning line-up featured seven gamers aged 23 or underneath and that was six greater than Liverpool’s. Along with Lokonga and Tavares, there was Aaron Ramsdale, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Gabriel Magalhaes, Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka.
All seven of these gamers have proven sufficient potential to counsel they can assist take Arsenal in a extra Positive course and the identical couldn’t be stated of a lot of those that began in the identical recreation final season, when a facet containing David Luiz, Willian and Bernd Leno was overwhelmed 3-1.
This was in fact a heavier defeat however the greater image is much brighter.
Arteta’s staff now incorporates gamers on the up as a substitute of on the way in which down. This recreation was an excessive amount of for them however there may be starvation and potential within the squad. They’ll study and enhance.
Arsenal supporters can take encouragement from how they approached the sport too. Within the first half, they had been aggressive out of possession and courageous after they had it.
As early as the primary minute, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette could possibly be seen snapping on the heels of Liverpool gamers. Quickly sufficient, the defenders behind them had been trying to construct from the again.
Later, in fact, Arsenal can be punished for that.
“We at all times have this debate,” added Carragher. “Once you play out from the again in opposition to this Liverpool facet, are you courageous or are you silly?”
However Arteta is aware of that if he’s severe about bringing Arsenal in keeping with opponents corresponding to these, he should implement his concepts about how he desires them to play.
The opposite possibility, in fact, would have been to set his facet as much as sit behind the ball, go lengthy and soak up stress. However in all chance, Arsenal nonetheless would have misplaced. No less than this fashion they proceed constructing in the direction of one thing. No less than this fashion they caught to their ideas.
The hope is that, over time, these ideas will assist them shut the hole on the edges at the moment occupying the highest three positions within the Premier League. For now, although, this was a reminder of simply how a lot floor there may be to make up.