Joel Matip has hailed Liverpool’s ability to stay patient and “try and try,” after a brilliant performance broke down Arsenal‘s “11 players” in defence.
The Reds roared to a three-goal lead at Anfield on Saturday evening, but it took 41 minutes to break the deadlock as Arsenal set up a low block.
It was Matip who opened the scoring, rising highest to power home a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner, and after that the floodgates opened, with Mohamed Salah netting twice: one penalty and another stunning strike from open play.
Liverpool had 25 shots to Arsenal‘s nine—though one of those resulted in a consolation goal for Lucas Torreira—and this reflects their dominance.
However, it took patience to ensure the victory, and speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Matip praised his team-mates for “staying clear” and picking locks in the Gunners’ back line.
“If a team with these kinds of players and quality are standing 11 players on the [edge of] the box, it’s quite hard to come through,” he said.
“You need time to get some spaces…you have to stay clear and try the best not to increase [the pressure on yourselves] that much.
“If you give a team like this so much space it will be really difficult. We tried to keep the ball, and try and try.”
Sky Sports commentators Martin Tyler and Gary Neville attempted to build up Nicolas Pepe’s battle with Virgil van Dijk as one which highlighted the Liverpool No. 4’s struggles.
But the Dutchman came out of the game following a comfortable display, and Matip referenced how the centre-backs navigated a tough challenge.
“They played some good counter-attacks, but we [dealt with] it a lot of times quite good,” he continued.
“They are so quick, and I think you can’t defend every situation, but overall in a lot of moments we did quite OK.”
After his header in the Community Shield, Matip has now scored twice already this season, and he is aiming to add this to his arsenal on a more consistent basis.
“I hope that’s the beginning of [more] goals,” he told Geoff Shreeves.
“I’m happy that I could score, and I hope that in the next weeks maybe another one would be there [on the scoresheet].”
Liverpool are now the only side in the Premier League to have won their first three games, and sit top of the table with a perfect record.
However, Matip took a welcome approach when asked whether it laid down a marker for the rest of the league, saying “it doesn’t say too much” to be first after three games.
“But we’re happy that we won the first three matches and now we’re looking forward to Burnley,” the Cameroonian concluded.