iverpool defeated Arsenal in the third week of the English Premier League 2019/20. In the match that was held Saturday (08/24) at Anfield Stadium.
Liverpool dominated the game for most of the game.
At the end of the match, a total of 25 shots were created by Juergen Klopp’s squad. Arsenal, meanwhile, were only able to release 9 shots.
But Liverpool actually had difficulty creating open opportunities in the first half. Of a total of 15 shots, 8 of them were successfully blocked by Arsenal. Only two shots on goal.
Liverpool’s first goal, created by Joel Matip, also took place just four minutes before the first 45 minutes ended, utilizing a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner pass. In an open game Liverpool attacks did not create golden opportunities.
In the first round Liverpool were tempted by the amount of space in both wings. In the end, two Liverpool wing-backs, Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson, were very diligent in sending in crosses. Within 45 minutes, Alexander-Arnold released 13 crosses, while Robertson had 8 crosses.
The situation appears to be a “trap” applied by Arsenal. Unai Emery’s squad uses a 4-4-2 diamond basic pattern which when not in possession of the ball plays as deep and as tight as possible in the penalty box of defense to protect Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno. The four central midfielders focus on guarding the front area of the penalty box.
Emery was confident enough that the Arsenal center-back duo, Sokratis and David Luiz, could stem the Liverpool crosses. Sure enough, except for Joel Matip’s goal (from a corner kick), Arsenal were very tough in the air and Leno wasn’t too busy or had dangerous chances.
“To be honest,” Klopp said, “I didn’t expect the system they [Arsenal] played. I’m not sure they played that in pre-season. We had a lot of space in the wings, changing the direction of the attack, but the problem was there was only a slight movement in the penalty box. so it gets more complicated. “
“They won a lot of aerial duels, but we won a lot of second balls so we could continue to put pressure on them as we wanted,” continued the German coach.
Arsenal rely more on counterattacks.
The rise of Alexander-Arnold and Robertson did create a lot of space in the Liverpool defense. Especially when Arsenal started the game through Leno who was passed to the defender around the penalty box, the Liverpool players immediately pressed and tried to seize the ball thus raising the Reds’ defense line . In the end the speed of Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang several times endanger Liverpool’s goal guarded by Adrian San Miguel.
But Liverpool changed the style of play in the second half. Liverpool are no longer tempted by the amount of space on the wing and then use it with a cross. Proven in the second half there were only three crosses carried out by Liverpool, twice by Robertson, once by Jordan Henderson. Alexander-Arnold, who was most diligent in sending crosses in the first half, began sending more short passes to Salah before approaching the penalty box.
Liverpool also began to lure out Arsenal’s defense by playing more short passes in defense. The scheme was more effective because Salah began to receive the ball before approaching the penalty box (in the first half more in the penalty box).
Near the Arsenal penalty box was Liverpool trying to play short passes. Salah’s penalty goal came thanks to a foul committed by David Luiz after Salah received a bouncing ball from Firmino who had previously been leveled off by Alexander-Arnold.
As for Salah’s second goal, the Egyptian National Team striker received the ball at the third of Arsenal’s defense door which he then managed (again) to trick David Luiz through his individual action. This situation certainly can not be separated from the success of Liverpool forcing Arsenal to raise their defense lines through operands in the Reds defense .