Neil Humphreys: Awful Arsenal annihilated at Anfield
Wenger's dummies deserve Anfield humiliation
|(Roberto Firmino 19, Sadio Mane 40, Mohamed Salah 57, Daniel Sturridge 77)|
Alexis Sanchez has allegedly said goodbye to the Arsenal faithful.
Any more performances like this one and Arsene Wenger will join his striker out of the door at the end of the season.
The Gunners were tactically inept, defensively abysmal and unbelievably lucky to only lose 4-0 to Liverpool at Anfield this morning (Singapore time).
Juergen Klopp's magnificent men now boast the kind of forward line that wins titles, but any early hyperbole must be tempered with a sense of perspective.
The Reds will be fortunate to come up against such defensive incompetence again.
Relegation contenders and even Europa League lightweights scarcely defend this poorly for a full 90 minutes.
Simon is rested, that is all. He is in the stadium, we had no argument and I told him a rest makes sense.Juergen Klopp explaining why goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was dropped for the Arsenal game
Never mind Champions League qualification next season, Arsenal won't endure in the Europa League this season if they continue to scatter like bowling pins.
Their amateurish performance produced the kind of clumsy defeat that should have supporters waking up in cold sweat.
Wenger almost certainly suffered a sleepless night.
The "Wenger Out" banners are likely to return with a vengeance after such a dire spectacle, particularly when so much of the damage was self-inflicted.
Their initial 3-4-3 forced their defensive trio to drop far too deep, practically inviting Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah to skip behind their markers.
The contest between Rob Holding and Mane had echoes of Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather. Youth and enthusiasm were no match for strength and experience.
Indeed, the 21-year-old Englishman was obviously earmarked as the weakest link.
Mane and the flank-swopping Emre Can took turns to bully Holding and Liverpool should have gone ahead in the 10th minute.
Can's delicate cross found Salah four metres from goal.
But the forward walked like an Egyptian instead of ramming the ball home. The shot was too safe, but Petr Cech's stupendous stop was something else nonetheless.
The Arsenal goalkeeper was the exception rather than the rule among teammates.
Everyone else was awful and Liverpool's opener surprised no one.
In the 19th minute, Can fed Joe Gomez on the right flank, where the young defender turned inside and dinked a lovely cross onto Roberto Firmino's head.
The unmarked Brazilian couldn't miss. Holding and Laurent Koscielny had offered the striker the freedom of Anfield.
But Liverpool's glorious second goal highlighted the astonishing gulf between the sides.
After another plodding Arsenal attack broke down, the Reds raced away like greyhounds chasing a mechanical rabbit.
Firmino released Mane on the inside left and the Senegalese juggernaut run Holding over.
He spun the hapless centre back like a top.
Holding and Cech knew Mane was cutting inside, along with everyone else inside Anfield. It's Mane's party piece. But his shot was hammered with such extraordinary pace and precision that Cech had no chance.
That was Mane's third goal in as many games. He's a mighty monster with a mini-Mohawk.
Against Arsenal, he was an unstoppable force against wretched, immovable objects.
But then, it was all so easy for Mane and Liverpool.
The hosts targeted the space either side of Holding and Nacho Monreal and still the centre backs failed to address the inherent failing.
Jordan Henderson essentially schooled both Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka in the art of the tackle and Mesut Oezil and Sanchez were nigh on anonymous.
If this proves to be Sanchez's last game, it was a nightmarish send-off.
At half-time, Wenger addressed his tactical blunder.
Francis Coquelin replaced the bullied Ramsey and Hector Bellerin dropped into defence to make a back four, but it made no difference.
Ironically, a dreadful Bellerin mistake ended the contest, allowing Liverpool to score the decisive third - from an Arsenal corner.
In the 57th minute, the Reds cleared a routine set-piece and the ball floated towards Bellerin. The Spaniard dithered and Salah pounced.
The Egyptian nipped the ball away from Bellerin's feet of clay and made a 60-metre sprint before applying a neat finish.
Even substitute Daniel Sturridge got into the scoring act, nodding in a fourth in the 77th minute. Anfield erupted. Wenger almost imploded.
If he doesn't fix this mess during the international break, Arsenal's season will be killed off before Christmas.
- Chelsea 2 Everton 0
- West Brom 1 Stoke City 1
- Tottenham 1 Burnley 1