Having promised in his pre-game interviews that Arsenal were focused on securing a big-name scalp at Anfield, it was sobering that Mikel Arteta left Merseyside admitting his side were second best from start to finish of the 4-0 defeat to Liverpool.
While his players stayed in the game for 39 minutes, the damage inflicted by Jurgen Klopp’s rampant attack in the second half was a timely reminder to the Spaniard that we have much to improve if we’re to seriously challenge for a spot in Europe.
It was painful. But, according to the boss, it also presents an opportunity.
“I don’t like learning like that, but there’s a lot of learning that we can take from the game for sure,” Arteta told Arsenal.com.
“One of the biggest learnings after a disappointing result is focus tomorrow on the next one. Don’t get carried away with what happened in the past because we have to look to the future.
“We’ll look at what we should have done better and why we got punished the way we did and after that put our energy and focus on the next game.”
While Arteta was at pains to point out that Liverpool are a tough test no matter what age you are, he did accept his young team could have varied their decision-making on the ball.
“I’ve seen some of the biggest teams in the world come here to this ground and collapse,” he told his post-game press conference.
“It can be – in certain moments I think we were a bit [insistent] when things were not working or when we lost some balls, we had to mix our play much better. But we didn’t and that’s it.
“They were better than us for 90 minutes and that’s the level. They’ve been together for six years and today you could see the difference in the moment that we lost control of the game.”
Arsenal’s next match will see bottom side Newcastle travel to the Emirates. We couldn’t have asked for a kinder fixture given the circumstances.