Liverpool produced an attacking masterclass against Arsenal, beating the Gunners 4-0 in the Premier League.
“He likes having the ball, playing football, passes. It’s like an orchestra. But it’s a silent song.
“But I like heavy metal more. I always want it loud.”
These were the words of a certain Jürgen Klopp on the difference between his and Arsené Wenger’s style of football, and although he said that back in his time as Borussia Dortmund manager, nothing has changed about it.
Enter his Liverpool side’s performance against Arsenal, which was as loud as Klopp and Anfield would’ve wanted it.
Roberto Firmino opened the scoring following a strong start to proceedings in the 17th minute. The Brazilian turned provider for fellow striker Sadio Mané, who cemented Liverpool’s dominance with a second goal before half-time.
With Arsenal already desperate for some hope in the game, the second half saw the Gunners commit men forward in search of a goal, however, they would be punished for it as following a corner, a Reds counter-attack led by a free Mohamed Salah ended with the Egyptian slotting the ball in the back of the net.
Liverpool were soaring and Daniel Sturridge would come off the bench to add a fourth, hammering the final nail in the Arsenal coffin.
Here are five things we learned from an afternoon that certainly produced more.
A good day to be a Liverpool striker
Football is very obviously a team game, though, there are days when the men who play up-front outshine those that play behind them.
Sunday was such a day for Liverpool, who enjoyed four great goals against their Premier League rivals, all of which were scored by their strikers.
Firmino was the first to register his name with an old-fashioned centre-forward’s header to convert a Joe Gomez cross.
Mané, meanwhile, was again in inspirational form and he scored an old-fashioned winger’s goal, cutting in from the left flank and shooting into Petr Čech’s far corner – that was his third goal in as many games against Arsenal.
The man on his opposite flank, Salah, displayed his blistering pace to punish a sluggish Arsenal defence with the third goal of the match and it was the Egyptian’s accurate cross that found the head of Sturridge, who made it 4-0.
Nothing boosts a striker’s hunger and confidence quite like a goal, so expect the Reds quartet to be respectfully fighting each other for starting eleven places and looking to justify their presence with more goals.
Midfield trio adds to midweek momentum
In fairness, Liverpool’s midfield trio of Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum were quite average in their first three games of the season, that you would be forgiven for thinking they were struggling to lose a bit of pre-season rustiness.
However, the trio produced an impressively strong display last Wednesday in the UEFA Champions League, and were in no mood to let their form decline against Arsenal.
Henderson was at his bullish and energetic best, as he spent the majority of his game breaking up Arsenal play and threading cool passes through to his more advanced teammates.
The captain’s show of energy and willingness must be credited, he was at times Liverpool’s chief gegenpresser and one such move could’ve resulted in a goal in the first half.
Can and Wijnaldum were easily the team’s bridge from defence to attack when the home side was in possession.
The duo shared their defensive responsibilities well, winning a good number of physical challenges but even more impressive was their contribution to Liverpool’s attacks – their runs and chance-creating passes proved ever so vital for their side.
Continuing this form, especially against weaker opposition, is – for the umpteenth time – vital and will no doubt give injured duo Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana a run for their money when (or ‘if’ for the little guy) they return to the squad.
Gomez outstanding as back-four restricts Arsenal
Perhaps the only worry Arsenal would’ve given the Anfield faithful at the beginning of the day would’ve been their inclusion of Alexis Sanchez in their starting line-up.
The Chilean, making his first start of the season, was expected to be a serious threat, however, the man directly assigned to deal with him in Joe Gomez was excellent in doing so.
The Englishman is starting to look like a key part of the Liverpool team again, making numerous tackles, blocks and forward runs (one of which yielded an assist) on what was his second straight league start of the season.
So good was Gomez and his defensive partners’ performance that their opponents had no shots on target in the match, as Liverpool backed a hot performance in attack with a cool one in defence.
Loris Karius: A bag of nerves
You can’t fault a goalkeeper who wasn’t given any action by the opposition in any match review, however, you can fault one who was poor with his every touch of the ball barring a couple.
Enter Loris Karius, who along with his manager was the centre of morning headlines, as it was revealed that Klopp had dropped Liverpool first choice Simon Mignolet, in favour of the much maligned German.
Karius was, on his first league start ever since last December, a bag of nerves (and that may not be seen as an exaggeration).
The Liverpool number one had the Anfield faithful panicking with his ball play, which saw him mostly dwell on the ball for one moment too long, nearly giving it away to pressing Arsenal attackers.
Those moments alone would’ve put further question marks over whether the former Mainz shot-stopper will ever fully establish himself at Liverpool.
And here’s the irony: most Reds fans would prefer another maligned figure in his time at Liverpool in Mignolet.
Attacking masterclass returns Anfield fear-factor
It’s a definite fact: you can search high and low and still won’t find many sides keen on visiting Anfield after a week which was rounded off by Sunday’s performance.
Klopp’s men put four past Hoffenheim on Wednesday and another four past Arsenal, sending out a statement that anyone coming to visit them has to be prepared for a tough time or greatly risk being destroyed.
With their attacking capabilities on full show and several players hitting good levels of form currently, Liverpool have ensured that the Anfield fear factor is re-established and with many matches in all competitions ahead, the challenge to maintain it is on.