As Klopp clearly stated after the game: “Our identity is intensity”
Arsenal looked to build up from the back but their quality was not enough to handle the intense pressure from Liverpool. The Reds won the ball repeatedly and kept the pressure on Arsenal. The intensity did win at the end with the relentless pressure bringing the ball back to dangerous areas over and over again. With the quality Liverpool has, the ball is bound to find itself at the back of the net.
Midfield wins the battle
Liverpool’s midfield gets a lot of criticism from some fans for lack of creativity but their work-rate can never be questioned. Fabinho-Gini-Hendo bullied the Gunners midfield and kept winning balls back to keep control of the game. Henderson was great at quick switches of play and the trio kept dominating the midfield. Arsenal put a similar trio in midfield in terms of skill set but the skill level was visibly not the same. Liverpool clearly had the better squad on the field in the middle of the field and it showed repeatedly throughout the game.
Diamonds are a wide player’s best friend
Emery’s first-half tactics allowed TAA and Robertson to have plenty of time and space but the lack of quality in the final balls into the box stopped the Reds from taking an early lead. Klopp blamed the lack of movement into the box rather than the balls coming from the backs but there were several poor crosses coming in from both sides in the first half. It was a very risky tactic for Emery knowing how many assists those two players provide. Perhaps none of the goals came directly from these positions but there were several chances created and the first corner kick was won as a result of one of these early crosses. Robertson and TAA were thrilled to have this much of space and time as most teams play to stop these two from pushing up and having open lanes.
Firmino is pure class
I have talked about the importance of Firmino in the front three several times but he is such a joy to watch. He is an explosive combination of Brazilian flare with the German work-rate. Not sure which one I admire more; the work he puts in when we are not in possession or his movement and tremendous skill while we are in possession. He is easily the most underrated player in the front three. His willingness to let Mane and Salah shine while he puts in the hard work every week shows what a great team player he is as well.
His skill on the ball is another thing to marvel at. Bobby makes those touches and flicks look so easy. Of course, we also have to give credit to Klopp for recognizing what he has and utilizing it in the most productive way.
Adrian issue is not really an issue
Adrian almost had a howler though some miscommunication with VVD in the first half while the game was still tied. He did also make a huge stop as well as forcing Pepe to a poor shot through good positioning and prevented an Arsenal lead. As he gets more settled in and spends more time on the training ground with the team, he will only get better with his communication. Many Liverpool fans express concern over his presence mainly due to him not being Alisson. He is replacing arguably the best goalie in the world. Expecting him to perform at the same level is unfair. Fans really have to give him some more time to gel with the defense to eliminate some of the timing and communication errors while we wait for Alisson to return. Key is Adrian performing at a level where we do not feel the need to rush Alisson back.