Liverpool maintained their status as the only Premier League side with a 100% record by beating Arsenal 3-1. Here are three things we learned.
Joel Matip’s rapid rise
It’s easy to forget that Matip was fourth choice a year ago. Joe Gomez partnered Virgil van Dijk, while Dejan Lovren had finished the previous season in that role. Now though, there’s little doubt that Matip is a great centre-half.
His brilliant header said that rather emphatically but it wasn’t all he offered. His tackle to stop Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang right in front of goal may have been the pinnacle of his game, in fact.
Matip offers everything you want from a defender right now. It’s been a wonderful rise.
Things can get a little easy sometimes
Liverpool were utterly dominant after half-time on Saturday. They constantly pushed Arsenal back, found different ways to attack, and generally looked at ease. They raced into a 3-0 lead to really hammer it all home.
But Arsenal made some changes to add some fight, while Liverpool took the chance to rest players. What transpired was a 15-20 minute window where the Gunners put on some real pressure.
Arsenal only managed to pull it back to 3-1 but it was a little reminder that Liverpool can’t afford to let up at this level. Winning has been easy for a while now, although it shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Liverpool’s set-piece brilliance continues
Liverpool struggled to break through in the first half. Arsenal had a game-plan and played it to near-perfection, forcing Liverpool to play the game the Gunners wanted.
But just when it looked like they’d succeeded, up steps Matip to score from a corner. It’s Liverpool’s second set-piece goal of the season (joint 1st in the league), adding to the 20 they managed last season (best in the league, per Whoscored). In fact, that total of 20 was four higher than anyone else – twice as many as Chelsea.
For all the wonderful pressing, the brilliant fullbacks, and the sensational front-three, goals from set-pieces are an invaluable weapon for Liverpool.