Arsenal: Leno, Maitland-Niles ,Lichtsteiner, Mustafi, Sokratis, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Torreira, Ramsey, Iwobi, Aubameyang
Subs: Cech, Koscielny, Elneny, Guendouzi, Willock, Saka, Lacazette
Arsenal took the lead at Anfield, but the hapless idiots we call defenders ensured that it was but a fleeting moment of happiness before we went down 5-1 to a rampant Liverpool at Anfield this evening.
Unai Emery “welcomed” back Shkodran Mustafi from injury, and handed Aaron Ramsey a rare start with Alexandre Lacazette dropping down to the bench.
The home side began brightly with Robertson whipping in a wicked cross, and Arsenal’s nerves weren’t helped when Leno almost conceded a needless corner in the opening minutes.
Firmino hit a shot into the side netting, and it was a mistake from Fabinho which helped fashion a chance for Alex Iwobi but Alisson was equal to the shot which was on target. However, the Nigerian turned provider as the Gunners took the lead in the 12th minute. Liverpool lost possession, Iwobi played a one-two, curled a lovely cross to the far post and there was the midfielder to tap in at the back post. 0-1.
Sadly, the lead lasted only 2 minutes. Liverpool worked the ball into our box with Salah, Xhaka made a tackle, Lichtsteiner tried to clear but it deflected off Mustafi and into the path of Firmino who tapped home from close range. 1-1.
Then, the Brazilian put the home side in front 60 seconds later. Torreira got caught on the ball, Firmino waltzed through the Arsenal defence leaving Mustafi and Sokratis on the ground, and slotted home. Defensively dreadful from Arsenal. 2-1.
Leno had to come out quickly to intercept a through ball that again exposed the Arsenal backline, and after Arsenal had cleared a corner we should never have conceded because of a terrible back pass from Kolasinac Liverpool scored again. A long ball over the top from Robertson found Salah, he touched it across goal and Mane was there unmarked to score. 3-1.
Xhaka got booked for a foul and was lucky to escape a second yellow for immediately kicking the ball away, and Klopp’s team were well and truly on top of a shell-shocked Arsenal side. Maitland-Niles shot over, as did Ramsey as we tried to get back into it, but it got worse before the break.
After Liverpool once again cut through us too easily, Sokratis gave Salah every chance to go down in the box, nibbling at his ankles from behind, and the Egyptian didn’t need a second invitation. Michael Oliver pointed to the spot, and Salah slammed home the spot kick to make it 4-1.
Emery made a half-time change, bringing off Mustafi for Koscielny, but it didn’t stop Mane working his way through on goal early in the second period. Again Sokratis went sliding in from behind, but this time wasn’t penalised, and seconds later a poor touch from Salah allowed Leno to take the ball when the striker was clean through and looking certain to score again.
At the other end Ramsey broke through, took a left footed shot which deflected to Auba at the back post but he put it over from a yard out. However, the offside flag spared his blushes. Some last ditch defending prevented another chance for the home side who looked like they could open us up every time they came forward.
Salah set up Fabinho for a shot from 12 yards which Leno got down well to save, and from the resulting corner Kolasinac was adjudged to have fouled Lovren and once again the referee pointed to the spot. Firmino stepped up and completed his hat-trick to make it 5-1.
Shaqiri shot from distance but Leno was equal to it, Alexandre Lacazette was sent on for Aubameyang, Guendouzi came on for Kolasinac, and there was nothing much to enjoy from an Arsenal point of view. It was the football equivalent of having a root canal and a rectal probe at the same time while being made to listen to Phil Collins, who was also the dentist the bum doctor.
Lacazette should have had a penalty for all the difference it would have made, but Oliver played on. Henderson shot just wide as the game headed towards the final couple of minutes, Leno saved from Salah at his near post,
All in all a dismal, sobering day for Arsenal and Unai Emery who needs the club’s backing in the January transfer window.