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Very good might not be enough for Klopp's Liverpool against Man City

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Very good might not be enough for Jurgen Klopp… his Liverpool side are just not at Manchester City’s level

  • Liverpool traveled to the Emirates with the intention of marking their mark 
  • The game in London finished as a draw and not what Liverpool had wanted 
  • Jurgen Klopp understands he is up against the Manchester City juggernaut 
  • Liverpool looked to be their nearest challengers but they are quite a way off  

Ian Herbert For The Daily Mail

Jurgen Klopp was having a problem with his chair. ‘Is this the height?’ he said, fumbling around with the lever to give himself some elevation at his press conference table, late on Saturday night. ‘Did Unai sit like this or did he put it down?’

Reaching the required level is a godforsaken challenge in what, by all available evidence, is beginning to look like an era of Manchester City dominance when even 100 points might not be enough to win the Premier League

Liverpool delivered on Saturday in ways which would have been unimaginable just 12 months ago, weathering tide after tide of attacks from an Arsenal who bore not the remotest resemblance to the late-Wenger era, then transitioning with counter-attacking football which scaled the heights at times. Yet in the new landscape, the point was not enough.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool side are meant to be the ones who are challenging Manchester City

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side are meant to be the ones who are challenging Manchester City

Some perspective is needed because even in the last year, they’ve traveled a distance. The anniversary has only just passed of the game which epitomised the shortcomings of Klopp’s philosophy about Liverpool playing the Liverpool way and not worrying about the rest. 

It was the 4-1 defeat to Tottenham at Wembley, when the side played a suicidally high line on the huge Wembley pitch and did not seem to have done any preparatory to work on how to deal with Harry Kane.

You wondered if they really would be capable of the pragmatism required resolve the defensive problems which at times last season gave them the look of a Kevin Keegan team. 

James Milner took the lead for Liverpool in the Saturday evening kick-off against Arsenal

James Milner took the lead for Liverpool in the Saturday evening kick-off against Arsenal

James Milner took the lead for Liverpool in the Saturday evening kick-off against Arsenal

They have been. Virgin van Dijk made the £75m fee paid out to Southampton for him look very ordinary on Saturday night. He marries that easiness on the ball which Alan Hansen and Phil Thompson always possessed in the days when Liverpool were great. His physicality is even greater than theirs.

Some numbers tell the story. The five points Liverpool have collected at Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal this season is four better than last season. Their tally of 27 points out of a possible 33 – the same haul they had after 11 games back in 2002/03 – equals their best ever start to a Premier League season.

Yet the required level is still higher. Five from three against any opposition is inadequate when the City phenomenon exists.

Alexandre Lacazette leveled the Premier League clash to earn the home side a point

Alexandre Lacazette leveled the Premier League clash to earn the home side a point

Alexandre Lacazette leveled the Premier League clash to earn the home side a point

Liverpool can be better. Though there were moments when Mohammed Salah briefly touched the heights on the Emirates turf, the front line was not at its best. Less obvious, though equally significant, the tuning of Liverpool’s gegenpressing was fractionally off.

‘We were too high on the wings,’ Klopp related afterwards. ‘And that’s it. The timing was… the time was not really good. You cannot press with really no formation. You have a compact formation. You force them to pass the ball somewhere.

‘That’s pressing. It’s not that complicated. But actually they had two or three options to pass and that makes life pretty complicated and it makes life pretty uncomfortable for the three in midfield. That’s it.’

This shortcoming, almost imperceptible to the human eye, was very evident to James Milner, the 32-year-old who has turned what seemed set to be a career swansong at Liverpool into the most commanding period of his 16 years in the game. ‘Milly, was the one who saw it first and was quite, how can we say, was not happy,’ Klopp said.

Klopp and Unai Emery both realise just how tough it is to compete at the top of the league

Klopp and Unai Emery both realise just how tough it is to compete at the top of the league

Klopp and Unai Emery both realise just how tough it is to compete at the top of the league

Seeing and trying to plug the problem was still not enough. Arsenal, a side who 12 months would have been extinguished by a goal like Milner’s, were tooled up with extra firepower by Unai Emery in the game’s last quarter. They overloaded Liverpool again and equalised.

Klopp made the best of things, fiddling with that chair, raising a laugh and giving a very good impression of a man who would take a point. Week to week, Liverpool’s fans are doing the same.

An excellent segment on the Anfield Wrap podcast last week focused on how, with City doing what they are, there has to be a more profound measure of Liverpool success than the title. Embrace the days out, enjoy the wonderful football, live in the moment and if we’re second, then live with it, the argument ran.

Yet ambition doesn’t work like that in a city which has waited 28 years for a title and has a very good team. Having contributed to an evening of quite sublime football, Liverpool must raise their level. Very good is no longer enough.



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Three Hugely Important Takeaways From The Brighton Vs Arsenal Game

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Arsenal were held by Brighton & Hove Albion to a 1-1 draw as they put up a sub-par performance. After the first twenty minutes of the Brighton Vs Arsenal game, the Gunners simply lacked the cutting edge and decisiveness to win the game.

A shambolic performance in the Brighton Vs Arsenal match at the Falmer Stadium allowed Chelsea to gain a two point advantage to be placed fourth in the league table. Currently struggling, Manchester United comfortably won their match against Huddersfield town and have now reduced the deficit to 6 points.

Aubameyang once again initiated the goal scoring for the Gunners as his lovely curling effort gave them a 1-0 lead over the Seagulls. It was a culmination of poor defending and unnecessary panicking from the Brighton defense which allowed Aubameyang to unleash a beautiful curler for the starter.

Arsenal were the dominant force for the first twenty minutes and produced a substantial amount of chances. The ex-Dortmund striker could have had a hat-trick inside the first half, only if he had latched onto the chances and finished clinically. Credit must be given to Matt Ryan for making some great saves to keep his team in the hunt.

After the half hour mark, things started to ease out for the home team as they slowly started to take control of the proceedings of the Brighton Vs Arsenal tie. At the 35th minute, a long ball from Davy Propper found Stephen Lichsteiner, who fumbled a simple heading to gift the ball to Locadia, who found the equalizer for Brighton. Leno had already committed himself forward and it was a regulatory striker finish past the keeper into the net.

The second half saw Arsenal plummet in terms of creativity on the field. They simply could not string together a set of passes for the forwards to shoot at the goal. To sum up, the Brighton Vs Arsenal game was so bad that the Gunners only managed one shot on the target in the second half.

Why Lucas Torreira Is Arsenal’s Unrivalled Best Signing Of The Season

Brighton were stubborn in defense and did not allow the Gunners an inch of space to shoot. The substitutions made by Emery didn’t help the cause further. It was a dampening day at work for the visitors as they were tactically dominated by the mid table team.

With the Anfield trip next on their schedule, Arsenal needed the three vital points from the Brighton Vs Arsenal fixture to ensure they remain in hunt for the top four. After having dropped points here means Arsenal will now need to get a win against Liverpool at Anfield – a much more daunting task.

Here are the three talking points from the Brighton Vs Arsenal match:

1. Arsenal Need To Sort Out Their Defense ASAP

Injuries to defenders has plagued the Arsenal defense. Yet again it was a sub-standard performance by the Arsenal defense.The defenders simply lack application and are committing silly errors in front of the goal in crunch situations.

The transfer window does not open until new year. Once open, Arsenal definitely need to target solid center backs if they want to challenge for the fourth position in the league and the cup competitions.

With the most important fixture coming up before New Year against Liverpool at Anfield, if the defense isn’t sorted out, Leno will be left helpless against a much fierce Liverpool attack. Emery somehow needs to find a solution to the defensive woes.

2.Arsenal Are Over-reliant On Aubameyang For Goals

It was once again Aubameyang who kick-started the goal scoring for the Gunners. He had two more solid chances but was denied by some exquisite goal-keeping of Ryan. Aubameyang is the leading goal-scorer in the Premier League with 13 goals. Arsenal have always relied on him to dish out the goals.

It is high time that the other players stepped up and contributed more to the attack. Lacazette’s substitution during the Brighton Vs Arsenal game for Aaron Ramsey at the hour mark did not help the cause further. Although, he missed two big chances, but by far he was the most significant player on the pitch for Arsenal.

The Gabonese striker regularly made inroads into the shaky Brighton defense. Arsenal need Aubameyang to continue his rich form when they go up against table toppers Liverpool on 29th December at Anfield.

3. The Mesut Ozil Saga Continues Even For The Brighton Vs Arsenal Fixture

Emery substituted Mesut Ozil, the most creative player on the pitch at half time. The result was evident with Arsenal unable to push forward once Ozil was gone. The Gunners lacked the inventiveness once the German was gone.

There were no more risky passes or through balls in the second half of the Brighton Vs Arsenal tie. Aubameyang had no support and Torreira’s off day saw things go from bad to worse. It is evident that there are certain problems between Ozil and Unai Emery but Arsenal need to resolve them expeditiously.

Brighton’s goal in the Brighton Vs Arsenal match was somewhat Ozil’s fault too as he failed to track back in time. This led to him being substituted at the start of the second half.

Given his experience in big matches and the amount of creativity he brings to the team in the absence of a natural right winger, it is imperative that Emery continues to trust Ozil. The team is already bereft of Henrikh Mkhitariyan and hence Ozil should be included in the starting lineup against Liverpool.

Follow Arsedevils for more news and updates on Arsenal.

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Arsenal star Aaron Ramsey backed to make Juventus switch by Andrea Pirlo

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Juventus are currently top of Serie A, which is no surprise considering they’ve won the Italian league title for the past seven campaigns.

Despite their nine-point lead at the summit, manager Massimiliano Allegri is still keen to bolster his squad.

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World Cup winner Pirlo wasn’t surprised to hear of the interest in Ramsey, revealing that he is a fan of the Welsh international.

“Ramsey is a great purchase,” Pirlo said on Sky Sport Italia.

“Juventus are preparing another excellent deal. He is a strong player and could do very well.”

The Bianconeri have made a habit of picking up top players from other European clubs on free transfers, Ramsey could be another, his Arsenal deal expiring in the summer.

Pirlo himself joined the Italian giants after his contract expired at Milan in 2011, showing that his former club have a keen eye for a bargain.

This season Emre Can joined on a free from Liverpool with Dani Alves joining from Barcelona for nothing in 2016.

Sami Khedira is another player who made the switch after seeing his contract expire, and has gone on to play 118 times for Juventus, scoring 20 goals.

Ramsey has been quiet on his Arsenal future this season, but it has been widely reported that Unai Emery and the former Cardiff man have quit talks after failing to agree terms.

Before the season began Emery had been vocal about Ramsey’s place in the Arsenal squad, stating before that that a new contract was on it’s way.

“I’m very happy with him,” said Emery in August.

“For me, every day, every training session, he has the ambition I want.

“He’s working with a quality, the type of ability that I want. I want to work with him.”

The Gunners are currently fifth in the Premier League table with 11 wins from their 19 games.

Emery’s side face a tough trip to Anfield on Saturday as they hope to leapfrog Chelsea into the top four.

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Mo Salah has his say on Kalidou Koulibaly racist abuse

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Liverpool star Mo Salah has waded in on the racist abuse directed at Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly. The Senegalese defender was targeted by Inter…

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