“I’m trying to think back to the last time I saw Liverpool play like this,” mentioned Sky Sports’ Gary Neville as Jurgen Klopp’s aspect, already three objectives up on Arsenal, flooded ahead searching for one other.
There have been some good performances within the midst of their stoop this season. Games the place they merited greater than they obtained. But hardly ever have they performed fairly like this. Rampant, ruthless, unrelenting. It was Liverpool as we all know them greatest.
The objectives arrived in a frantic 18-minute spell within the second half, substitute Diogo Jota scoring both aspect of a Mohamed Salah strike. But Arsenal had been fortunate to be degree for so long as they had been and they had been lucky, too, that Liverpool didn’t punish them additional.
They actually tried to.
Klopp’s aspect have a Champions League quarter-final away to Real Madrid in three days’ time however you would not have guessed it from the best way Salah and Sadio Mane went haring ahead within the ultimate seconds of stoppage time, hungry for extra.
There was little thought for conserving vitality and it’s when Liverpool are in this sort of temper, following their instincts moderately than bending to inhibition, that they are at their most deadly.
The win is a large one within the context of the top-four battle. Chelsea’s shock defeat to West Brom means Liverpool have closed the hole to the Champions League spots to simply two factors. But it’s even larger by way of what it’d do for them psychologically.
Liverpool have reminded us all what they appear to be at their brutal greatest however most significantly they have reminded themselves that they are nonetheless able to reaching these ranges.
“Even in some of the games when we lost, we were not bad, but tonight the package was extremely good and that’s what you need,” a beaming Klopp instructed Sky Sports afterwards. “Very good,” was his evaluation of the efficiency. “A top game,” he added.
Klopp seemed like a man who had simply been reacquainted with an outdated buddy. “Our counter-pressing was at the highest level,” he mentioned, nonetheless grinning. “In general, the defending of the whole team looked exactly like it should look,” he added.
Indeed, it was not simply the best way through which Liverpool sliced Arsenal open that was so spectacular. It was the depth of their off-the-ball work and resilience of their patched-up line of defense. Liverpool had been dominant everywhere in the pitch. They seemed like champions once more.
Arsenal could barely lay a glove on them, as Neville put it. In truth, Liverpool restricted them to solely three pictures on objective over the course of the 90 minutes. It’s Arsenal’s second-lowest whole in a Premier League recreation because the 2010/11 season, in accordance to Opta.
Following their victories over RB Leipzig and Wolves earlier than the worldwide break, Liverpool have now gained three consecutive video games for the primary time since October.
It is a statistic which underlines the extent of their inconsistency this season and calls for a diploma of warning when predicting the place their season will go subsequent.
But there may be a sense that issues are lastly falling into place – even when they are nonetheless with out long-term absentees Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Jordan Henderson.
“It’s the primary time within the season, just about, when, other than the long-term accidents, the entire boys are match – and actually match, lengthy sufficient again from damage and in actually good condition,” mentioned Klopp. “We will use that and hopefully it will help us.”
Saturday’s recreation confirmed it already is.
Jota was not talked about as a lot as Liverpool’s defensive absentees throughout his time on the sidelines however he had scored 9 objectives in 15 Premier League and Champions League video games prior to his damage and his goalscoring return highlights how a lot he was missed.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – this Trent Alexander-Arnold – was missed too however his eye-catching show against Arsenal suggests his omission from the England squad could work to Liverpool’s benefit.
There was no self-pity, solely enhanced dedication, as proven by his second of fist-pumping celebration after his sensible cross was headed house by Jota for the opening objective.
The midfield has been considerably enhanced by the return of Fabinho, who has been pushed again into his favoured place thanks to Nat Phillips’ emergence alongside Ozan Kabak.
If that centre-back partnership actually is an space of weak point, then Liverpool actually did a good job of hiding it against Arsenal. Fabinho affords loads of safety in spite of everything.
The Brazilian, excellent in midfield against RB Leipzig and Wolves, was equally spectacular against Arsenal. “The best player on the pitch,” mentioned Neville. He made twice as many tackles as any Liverpool participant and his sensible distribution helped them too.
Klopp name-dropped others as properly.
Naby Keita didn’t make it off the bench on the Emirates Stadium however he’s prepared to make an influence after an injury-hit season, in accordance to Klopp. The Liverpool supervisor mentioned the identical of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Liverpool could have to overcome more durable opposition than this “shabby” Arsenal aspect within the weeks forward, after all, beginning against Real Madrid on Tuesday night time. But out of the blue it appears a season of strife could but finish on a high be aware. Are Liverpool again? It actually seemed that manner on Saturday night time.