Only four days had passed since Liverpool clinically dispatched of Hoffenheim in their Champions League Playoff. Visiting Anfield on Sunday afternoon was Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal side. A team that always seems a victory away from a title challenge or a defeat away from an existential crisis. To the dismay of the visitors, however, this game would turn out to be the catalyst for the latter. From the first minute to the last, Jurgen Klopp’s men were rampant; playing to a level that made the opposition seem comically inferior. Red shirts all over the pitch put in scintillating performances, the approval of The Kop roaring the team on throughout. The sun shined down on Anfield as did the joy of another three points. Here are the five talking points from Liverpool’s 4-0 thumping of Arsenal.
5 – Another Jurgen Klopp Masterclass
Since his arrival at the club in October of 2015, Jurgen Klopp has managed to maintain a simply incredible record against the league’s other top sides. Only Manchester United (three months into his tenure) have been able to grab a victory against the German’s Liverpool. It’s telling that the levels of anxiety and nervousness in the Liverpool camp heading into Sunday’s clash were next to none. Klopp has instilled a mentality so resolute that fans go into almost every top-of-the-table clash feeling like the favourites. And if the fans are this confident, you best believe that the players feel more than capable of claiming a victory as well. A trip to The Etihad awaits after the international break. If The Merseysiders can leave Manchester with a positive result, talks of a potential title challenge will certainly begin to surface.
4 – This Team Knows How to Defend
Jamie Carragher stated it perfectly in the direct aftermath of Sunday’s clash: when the Liverpool defenders are focused and wary of the threat posed by the opposition, they are more than capable of putting in solid performances. Loris Karius was brought in for the rested Simon Mignolet, and bar a few shaky moments with the ball at his feet you would not have even known he was there. Arsenal finished the game without registering a single shot on goal, a testament as to how diligent the Liverpool defence was in not letting them have a sniff.
3 – Emre Can Needs to Sign That Contract
When you watch a 23-year-old midfielder score two goals in a crucial Champions League tie then absolutely bully the midfield of one of Europe’s biggest clubs just four days later, you know that you have a special player on your hands. Since the turn of the year, Emre Can has been consistently showing the quality that every Liverpool fan knows he has. Now with the freedom to burst forward when the opportunity arises and the discipline to track back when necessary, his best attributes have been made clearly visible. In addition to all his qualities, the fact that he’s such a physical specimen helps immensely. Watching Ramsey or Xhaka attempt desperately to shrug him off the ball was extremely entertaining, to say the least. His quality is undoubted, as is his potential to be a world-beater in the near future. Which is exactly why his contract situation needs to be sorted out as soon as possible. It’s unclear at the moment what exactly the delay in the negotiations are but the club needs to sort it out before it becomes a major issue.
2 – Jordan Henderson Is the Clear Captain of the Team
It’s amazing to think how many people (mostly supporters) question Jordan Henderson’s credentials to be the captain of Liverpool Football Club. There is no one better to be leading this group of players than the former Sunderland man. He’s the club’s longest serving current player and his desire/leadership on the pitch is matched by none. The skipper led his partner’s Can and Wijnaldum in one of the most dominating midfield performances the team will have all season. He covered the defence tremendously, he kept things moving in midfield while also being clever enough to recognise when to play an ambitious ball through the Arsenal defence, and he worked the press flawlessly. The obvious occasion that springs to mind was when he robbed Mesut Özil of the ball on the halfway line and a few seconds later was in on the Arsenal goal. One of the best performances he’s had in a Red shirt, his fitness could be key to his side’s success this season. He’s not Steven Gerrard, he’s not Graeme Souness, he’s Jordan Henderson and he’s exactly the captain that Liverpool needs right now.
1 – Best Attack in The League
If at the end of last season, you conducted a survey to see what position fans and pundits alike expected Liverpool to spend the majority of their transfer kitty on, you would find very few who would vote for the attack. Liverpool blew teams away last season. Scoring six past Watford and five past Hull City just to name a few. You’d likely be wondering how they possibly could improve upon last season’s attack. Then in comes Mohamed Salah, and immediately the frontline has been taken to another level. The signing of Mané added a new dimension to the attack, the addition of Salah multiplies it. The two of them lining up on either flank is a terrifying proposition, especially when you’re playing a three-man defence as Arsenal did on Sunday. Now put the intelligence and creativity of Firmino in between them, and you have yourself a trio capable of making even the best defences shudder. Hoffenheim couldn’t handle them, and Arsenal will have been traumatized by them. It’s beyond exciting to think of what these guys can do to defences all over England and the rest of Europe throughout the campaign. Adding in midfielders like Can, Wijnaldum, Coutinho, and Lallana who love to get forward, create, and score makes for an embarrassment of riches. The latter two might have some trouble even getting back into the side once they’re available, that’s just how hot the team is right now.