Ox shines & how much rotation for Porto? – Last word on Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal

It was an impressive victory for Liverpool against Arsenal, one that saw Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain shine and a fresh wave of optimism injected following the international break.

Liverpool could be forgiven for their slow start at Anfield having more than made up for it with four unanswered goals against a resurgent Arsenal.

It ended the Gunners’ 10-game unbeaten streak and was, hopefully, the start of a new one for the Reds across all competitions.

With all four forward on the night getting in on the act, there was plenty of positives to take away from the win that move Liverpool back within four points of Chelsea at the top.

Here, This Is Anfield’s Joanna Durkan (@JoannaDurkan_) is joined by Danny Dwyer (@decayingcactus), who was at Anfield, and Elli Lechtman (@LFCZA) to discuss the impressive points of the win, Oxlade-Chamberlain and rotation vs. Porto.


Plenty of impressive moments in that win…

2H75KE5 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (right) celebrates with his team-mates after scoring their side's third goal of the game during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. Picture date: Saturday November 20, 2021.

DANNY: Am I allowed to say Arteta? In all seriousness, our whole team were brilliant and needed to be.

Another two assists for Trent and Tsimikas grows in popularity every time he’s on the field. We really have got fantastic cover for Robertson and it’s so healthy for the squad.

The clean sheet never seemed in doubt against a team with top drawer attacking players and that’s a credit to the whole team.

JOANNA: After a somewhat sluggish start, it all just clicked for us in the end and I’ll echo the clean sheet here, just so crucial for confidence moving forward.

We’ve been a bit too generous at times this season and to have Alisson back firing and the defence giving little away, it was a delight on top of the four wonderful goals. Now to keep it up.

After the last outing, it’s a compliment that I could watch with few nerves and simply enjoy the show. A real team effort and the midfield was at the heart of it.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 20, 2021: Arsenal's Takehiro Tomiyasu (L) and Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

ELLI: Agree, I think our midfield looked more solid as compared to the West Ham game.

We dominated against their midfielders and I was particularly impressed with the way Thiago, Fabinho and Ox worked together as a unit.

DANNY: We needed to bounce back from the disappointment at West Ham and thumping an in-form Arsenal 4-0 with all four attackers on the scoresheet is the perfect start to the winter run.

And delighted for Minamino who has endured a difficult start to his Liverpool career scoring his first goal at Anfield in front of the Kop!

ELLI: A final note adding to Danny’s mention, defensively, Tsimikas still showed why he’s the form left-back in the team.


Oxlade-Chamberlain was brilliant, hopefully, a sign of things to come?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 20, 2021: Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

JOANNA: It was a standout performance from Ox and he looks to be benefiting from a long-overdue run in the XI, it’s hard to find your groove off the bench with just minutes left.

His energy lent itself to his press, he was quick to help out defensively and was a willing runner forward to create openings, and arguably he should have had a goal of his own.

Ox can offer a lot to this team and this confidence boost will only serve to do just that and with the midfield injury curse having struck one too many times already, this season has to be the time for Ox to make consistent contributions when in the side. We’re all desperate for it.

DANNY: Agree with you there, Joanna. He was brilliant. Ox’s talent has never been in question, it’s his consistency.

He was superb against Atletico at home, then underwhelmed against West Ham (like the whole team), then he was brilliant yesterday.

His chance has come at expense of other midfielders being injured and it would be a huge help if he was able to seize the opportunity to build some momentum at a time when our squad is getting thinner, and the doom of AFCON looms over us.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 20, 2021: Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain shoots during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

ELLI: Ox, for me, looks to be back to his best (pre-2018 Champions League injury). Seems to have more confidence and is playing without any added pressure of having to prove himself.

DANNY: On that, people often say “he was great until his injury” referring to that Roma semi-final. That was over three years ago. It was a horrendous injury that no doubt abruptly stopped his promising start in a red shirt, but he was given all the time he needed to recover.

We can’t continue to afford him that excuse for not being fully at it. The time for Ox to deliver on a regular basis is long overdue and right now would be the perfect time to remind people that he’s not here to make up the numbers. Nothing would please me more.


How much should the Reds rotate against Porto?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 30, 2021: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson (L) celebrates with team-mate Ibrahima Konaté after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

JOANNA: You feel Klopp has his hands tied behind his back for this one due to the injury list but he’s already said his changes will be limited for the rest of the group stage.

You’d expect Henderson to come into the XI with potentially Fabinho dropping out just to keep his legs fresh and there’s a shout for Tyler Morton at a stretch, better at Anfield than the San Siro.

Then I’d be looking to make at least two changes in defence, Konate being the obvious choice with Neco Williams taking over from Trent. A few tweaks here and there but it can still be a strong side against a Porto side still fighting for their last 16 place.

ELLI: For me, I’d change the entire backline, fitness permitting (Neco, Konate, Gomez, Robbo) and bring Hendo and Morton into the midfield.

It’s hard to overly rotate in the midfield given the injury situation, however. Upfront, Origi (should he be fit) and Minamino should be enough to bring in for either two of the current three.

PRESTON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, October 27, 2021: Liverpool's Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino during the English Football League Cup 4th Round match between Preston North End FC and Liverpool FC at Deepdale. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

DANNY: Personally, if it were possible, a lot. The job is done. We don’t need to risk our stars in the remaining two group stage games.

However, you only need to look at our bench against Arsenal to see which players are available.

I’d definitely be resting Virgil and giving Konate a run-out and I’d give Taki a start up front to give Jota a breather after taking that knock to the knee.

It’s still a European night at Anfield which the players will want to play in, and the importance of keeping momentum will be in Klopp’s mind.

The manager has already said he’ll field a strong team for Porto and Milan so I won’t be surprised to see the likes of Salah in the lineup but if we had a full squad fit, I’d be fielding the League Cup team. Southampton on Saturday is more important.