Joe Gomez was back to his blistering best against Arsenal following his return from a minor injury.

Gomez, 23, was reinstated to the starting XI alongside Virgil van Dijk and Liverpool’s regular central defensive pairing were imperious from start-to-finish.

Both defenders adopted Klopp’s counter-pressing system to perfection regularly frustrating Arsenal’s array of attacking threat with the offside trap.

Liverpool v Arsenal - Premier League - Joe Gomez

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 28: Joe Gomez and Virgil Van Dijk of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on September 28, 2020 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

In possession, both defenders utilised the ball more efficiently than any other player on the pitch. Gomez had a total of 124 passes on the night which was only bettered by his defensive counterpart Van Dijk (129) according to WhoScored.

“We kept them within 25 metres in front of their goal,” Klopp explained in his post-match comments. “Each ball you lose is a potential counterattack; everyone knows the speed they have. It takes a proper mix between being brave, flexible, direct and being perfectly protected.

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“To outplay Arsenal you need a quite expansive formation,” Klopp pointed out. “There is a risk with the high line, but how can you defend Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with not having a high line?”

Liverpool were supremely relentless in and out of possession on Monday night, making light work of Arsenal’s expansive attacking armoury to nullify the visitors to just four shots all game.

“We tried to put them under as much pressure as we could and we were really aggressive trying the high press in many moments, but Virgil van Dijk plays a 60-yard pass to Mo Salah’s chest and they are out,” Arteta said.

“Then you have to travel about 50 metres and this is real quality.

“They have a lot of good work, a lot of belief in the way they play, great recruitment and they’ve improved the players that they have. This is what we have to try to do.”


Arsenal’s French striker Alexandre Lacazette (2R) chases Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Fabinho during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on September 28, 2020. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by LAURENCE GRIFFITHS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Brilliant Fabinho

Gomez’s performance was a timely reminder of how resolute and authoritative the England international can be when at his best.

His commanding performance was typified in stoppage time with Gomez throwing himself into a blocking challenge to stop Eddie Nketiah despite the game won embodying that total commitment that sets champions like Liverpool apart.

It was a timely display from Gomez – who earns £28,000-a-week according to Spotrac – given he had to deliver and react to the performance of Fabinho who only a week prior was an absolute rock for Liverpool in the absence of Gomez against Chelsea.

Fabinho was utterly imperious and thwarted everything that was thrown towards his path. He made four tackles and four interceptions against Frank Lampard’s Blues to leave Timo Werner with barely a sniff.

Once again, it set the standard of what is expected from Klopp’s defenders and following Gomez’s most recent performance against Arsenal, he took Fabinho’s audition at Stamford Bridge personally and wanted to prove a point.

This is exactly what sets Liverpool apart from the rest of the pack. Everywhere you look, there is competition for places, even in areas you wouldn’t expect. It’s strange to think that a defensive midfielder could threaten to usurp a top central defender such as Gomez, yet such is the quality of Liverpool.

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