The Gunners recovered from an awful first-half display but were undone in injury time when Martin Skrtel netted an equaliser
Martin Skrtel came up with a late equaliser for Liverpool to frustrate Arsenal at Anfield.
Brendan Rodgers’ side dominated the first half and took the lead through Philippe Coutinho, only for the Gunners to hit back through Mathieu Debuchy just before the interval.
Olivier Giroud then netted to put the away side in command, only for Sktrel to level deep into injury time.
Here’s what we learnt from the match:
Arsene Wenger is a true contrarian
So Calum Chambers, who has impressed when called upon to play centre-back (a role some believe to be his natural position), starts at right-back. Fine. But who’s that in the centre? Oh yes, it’s Debuchy, a right-back who by Wenger’s own admission had to learn to play in the middle 24 hours before last week’s game against Newcastle.
And then there was Giroud, who spent a decent portion of the first half out on the left, for no apparent reason. Arsene, you fiend.
Liverpool will be fine when Daniel Sturridge is fit
The Reds have not been especially impressive of late, but there are signs that things will fall into place once Daniel Sturridge gets fit – or when another striker arrives.
Against Arsenal, their array of attacking midfielders were in fine fettle. Coutinho probed tidily, Adam Lallana channelled his Southampton best and Lazar Markovic – stationed at left-wing-back – was lively and penetrative. They just need a regular finisher.
Mathieu Flamini & Calum Chambers need a spell on the bench
The former looked utterly lost in the first half, unable to stem the tidal wave of Liverpool’s incessant midfield movement. He surely would not be starting so many games if Wenger had actually just signed a top-of-the-range enforcer in the middle of the park.
Chambers just needs a rest. His form has tailed off badly in recent weeks and it was no surprise to see Liverpool target him throughout the first half.
Martin Skrtel is harder than you
Giroud literally stood on his head and yet he was fit to carry on – and score the winning goal. Take that, medical science.
Giroud remains underrated
Look, we can agree that the Arsenal striker is not among the very elite European strikers. He lacks the vicious killer instincts of Sergio Aguero, the swagger of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the all-round threat of Karim Benzema.
He is, however, the best striker Arsenal have got, and a far better player than many give him credit for. The Gunners are a different side when he plays, their attacking talents benefitting from the physical presence he provides. His finishing, too, is sharp and consistent. It’s time we learnt to love him.