Arsenal – Liverpool: Yielding Gunners Ignite Liverpool’s Top Four Priorities (0-3)
After early phases of even pressing, Liverpool flexed their authority, gained control and put their trademark pressing triggers in place. What was needed was a switch, and the entrance of Diogo Jota gave Liverpool the offensive potency they had missed.
Tactical analysis and match report by Joel Parker.
Throughout the illustrious history of the Premier League, Arsenal and Liverpool have remained the top dogs throughout; but they went into this matchup seventh and ninth in the table, though we are already in April.
These teams have merged into the mid-table landscape for different reasons. Mikel Arteta’s drive towards passing perfection is obsolete – an ideology that better suits Arsenal, without mopping up the tactical issues which have held them back all season. Having actual tens in Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Ødegaard, on the field has given their buildup balance and movement, but the lopsided structure still sees them heavily rely on what is built down the left flank, to create chances.
Liverpool have been tortured with injuries all season long, but other than their relentless press being toned down, in a defensive sense, Jürgen Klopp’s team didn’t hit bad form until the new year. What has remained consistent throughout is Liverpool’s attacking efficiency being drastically cut. The reliance on the front three remains, only eight goals have come from those in the midfield or defense, whilst their forwards have enjoyed stale season’s themselves.
Arteta made four rotations, to the team that drew away to West Ham. Both center-backs were replaced, with Gabriel and Rob Holding coming in to replace the injured David Luiz and Pablo Mari. Granit Xhaka was missing from illness, whilst Bukayo Saka . . .