Jurgen Klopp hails Arsenal quality ahead of "difficult" game for Liverpool

31 December, 2018, 00:27 | Author: Greg Lawrence
  • Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino

It helped Jurgen Klopp's side move nine points clear at the top of the Premier League though Manchester City can trim that gap if they defeat Southampton on Sunday.

The Gunners came into the game hoping to enjoy their first win in seven Premier League trips to Anfield, and the visitors got off to the ideal start on 11 minutes, with wing-back Ainsley Maitland-Niles netting his first goal for Arsenal after great work from Alex Iwobi.

We only can think now of the match on Tuesday [against Fulham] and know that the difference between Liverpool and us was not like today's result.

The second was simply handsome with Firmino leaving three Arsenal defenders on their backsides and sliding the ball past Bernd Leno with equal finesse.

Roberto Firmino's hat-trick - the first by a Liverpool player against the Gunners since Peter Crouch in 2007 - as well as a goal apiece by Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane ensured Liverpool's front three all scored in the same league game for the first time this season.

However, the lead lasted just three minutes as Firmino profited from some calamitous Arsenal defending to level and then left Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos on the floor to score his second goal in three minutes. That's really important. We came into the season and if we... Liverpool fell behind in the league at Anfield for the first time since December 30 previous year when Alex Iwobi crossed for Ainsley Maitland-Niles to slot home at the far post.

"I said to Aboubakar Kamara to leave the ball to Aleksandar Mitrovic, he is the man who shoots the penalties".

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Salah had already scored from the spot at Anfield on Saturday and, therefore, passed up on the chance to score a second in the 65th minute, handing the ball to his forward partner.

Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright perhaps comedically summed it up best in the studio coverage of the game, yelling "why did we have to upset them?!" It was the visitors' heaviest loss since Unai Emery took charge in the off-season and the tame display revived memories of some of the poorer performances in the latter years of predecessor Arsene Wenger's long reign.

The host has a shocked look on his face as Wright comes back to his seat.

It was fantastic to see both buried - the Reds' record from the spot last season was far from impressive - but the main talking point has to be the build up to the first. During those game weeks, Liverpool have defeated Newcastle 4-0, Wolves 2-0, Bournemouth 4-0 and Brighton 1-0.

Liverpool now travel to Manchester City in a blockbuster clash on Thursday night.

"Those are the kind of things that stand you in good stead with your team-mates".

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