Arsenal 3-1 Liverpool
Premier League (23), Emirates Stadium
February 4, 2024
Goals: Saka 14′, Martinelli 67′, Trossard 90+1′; Gabriel OG 45+1′
Defeat disappointing but not decisive
If either side had more riding on this meeting, it was without doubt an Arsenal team that could have found themselves eight points adrift of top spot with defeat.
And Liverpool must remember that as they lick their wounds following just a second Premier League loss of the season so far.
They may have missed a chance to effectively put the Gunners out of the race, but the Reds remain at the summit going into the business end of the campaign and two points ahead of the Gunners.
The key to making the most of that position will be how they react to this setback, with another unbeaten run required to propel them to glory in May.
Rare errors undermine Reds
He may hate losing, but you imagine Jurgen Klopp won’t be calling for an inquest regarding the manner of Liverpool’s defeat here.
A lightning Arsenal start aside, this did not feel like a game where the Reds were being consistently taken apart en route to zero points, even if they weren’t at their best.
And it is only fair to acknowledge that, sometimes, these sorts of performances are the best you can hope for from a difficult trip to a fellow title challenger, particularly when the stakes are so high for them.
As such, Klopp’s players would be best advised to simply write this off as a bad day at the office and ensure they quickly get back to winning ways.
Konate needlessly foolish in final stages
If there was one moment that will have truly vexed the manager during this game, it will surely have been Ibrahima Konate‘s decision making around his late red card.
Liverpool had cover in that situation and, even if they had not, were not desperately protecting a lead that could have given them a decisive advantage in the title race.
For that reason, the foul that brought the Frenchman a second yellow card and a one-match suspension as a result looked a foolish one.
Konate will now have time to think on that moment of madness as he spends the upcoming clash with Burnley in the stands.
Gakpo gamble fails to pay off
And, after the Dutchman failed to make an impact during his 58 minutes on the pitch, the manager will no doubt feel this is a call that did not pay off.
Gakpo managed just one shot, completed six out of 11 attempted passes, and made just two defensive actions in nearly an hour.
Klopp will likely look back on the decision to pick him ahead of the in-form Nunez as a mistake.
Imminent squad boosts could not be more timely
But, with this chastening afternoon out of the way, there is hope that things will look a lot brighter for the Reds by the time next weekend’s game against Burnley comes around.
Wataru Endo is guaranteed to be back, while Szoboszlai has a chance should a slight recurrence of a hamstring injury prove not to be serious.
That extra energy and quality will be key to getting back on track and ensuring Liverpool can continue to challenge on four fronts going forward.