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.
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.
“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.”
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.
- Fabinho is Liverpool’s most indispensable midfield option
- Naby Keita lays down his biggest Liverpool marker yet
- Liverpool fans react to the performance of Alisson Becker
- Liverpool fans react to the performance of Joe Gomez v Arsenal
- Liverpool fans react to Thiago Alcantara training footage
- Liverpool stars react as Bobby Duncan secures transfer to Derby County
- Liverpool stars react as James Balagizi signs professional deal
- Report: Liverpool have no plans to sell Xherdan Shaqiri
- Rhian Brewster future in limbo as Sheffield United reportedly stall on a deal
- Report: Yasser Larouci could be set to join Olympiacos
- Jurgen Klopp provides quadruple Liverpool fitness update
- Four Liverpool players have proved a point to Jurgen Klopp