The beaming smile at full time said it all - Jurgen Klopp was a happy man. And so he should be, after watching his Liverpool team defeat Arsenal in the FA Cup.
The build up to the game was dominated by the departures of Mo Salah and Wataru Endo, whilst the absense of Virgil Van Dijk (due to sickness) made Liverpool's task even more challenging. Yet despite these difficulties, Liverpool produced an excellent display, with two goals late in the second half ensuring it was they, and not Arsenal, who's name goes into the hat for the 4th round draw tomorrow.
Liverpool certainly rode their luck at times, and had it not been for Arsenal's wasteful finishing, the game might have been very different, but you can't control what the opposition does, you can only control what you do. And that is where Klopp won the battle today, making tactical changes at half time, to nullify Arsenal's attacking threat, and help Liverpool take control of the midfield battle.
When the goals finally arrived, it was no surprise that it was Liverpool who scored them, such was the wastefulness of Arsenal earlier in the game. Alexander-Arnolds delivery from a free kick on the left caused chaos in the box, with Kiwior heading into his own net, under pressure from Luis Diaz. As the clock ticked down, Liverpool hit Arsenal on the break, with Jota feeding Diaz, who fired a fierce shot past Ramsdale to secure the victory.
Liverpool punish wasteful Arsenal...
Just as in the last two matches, Arsenal's lack of a prolific striker cost them dearly, and whilst Liverpool missed chances of their own - particularly Darwin Nunez, you always felt that with Jota and Diaz on the pitch, Liverpool would take one of their chances sooner or later.
After the match, Arsenal Manager Mikel Arteta was honest about his teams performance :
"We just have to win the game but we lost it and we are not capitalising. To win games we need to capitalise. When you are better than the best team in Europe and you generate the amount of chances that I have not seen against them, like we have done, then you have to win."
"Probably it has [become a psychological issue]. Especially after today, more than it was against Fulham or West Ham before that. That's why I think we need to reset."
By contrast, Liverpool Manager Jurgen Klopp was delighted with his team :
"I'm super proud. It's a super difficult draw, maybe the most difficult we could've got. With all the things we had to consider coming here, Arsenal lined up slightly different, that was smart. We changed a bit at half-time and we were really in the game in the second half. We scored the goals and brought the kids on. We fought for 95 minutes. We have a winter break now."
On Trent Alexander-Arnold :
"It's an own goal right? Like the free-kick against Fulham. What a game he played by the way. In all of the positions he played, you see his class on the ball."
BBC Player of the Match : Ibrahime Konate
Arsenal vs Liverpool Line-Ups
Liverpool Starting XI : Alisson, Gomez, Konate, Quansah, Alexander-Arnold, Elliott, Mac Allister, Jones, Diaz, Nunez, Gakpo
Arsenal Starting XI : Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior, Odegaard, Rice, Joginho, Saka, Havertz, Nelson
Arsenal vs Liverpool Match Stats
Arsenal 54% - 46% Liverpool
Arsenal 18 - 12 Liverpool
Shots on Target
Arsenal 5 - 3 Liverpool
Arsenal 5 - 2 Liverpool
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... About The Author ...
Peter Farrell - Editor and Chief Article Writer, LFC - Back On Our Perch
Articles written by Author :: 352
Lifelong fan with a passion for all things Liverpool. First memory of football is watching John Barnes score a dramatic last minute equaliser in the FA Cup when he was 4. Feels lucky to be a part of the 'Klopp' era.
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