Jürgen Klopp could barely keep his composure or believe his own eyes with the way Liverpool came out in the second half. They looked like the Liverpool that beat Barcelona 4-0 in the second half, contrary to their first half performance, which was more reminiscent of their 4-0 defeat in the hands of Mainz.
Wenger and his entire team was booed off at the end of the game despite staging their best effort at making a comeback, having gone down by 4 goals to 1 in the early stages of the second half. The Gunners pulled 2 back to make it only a one goal deficit, but couldn’t forge another to tie up the match.
It would’ve been sorely disappointing for Klopp had his team not been credited with the three points for the second half they played.
In the first half, as mentioned earlier, Liverpool played like a team just beginning their preseason regime, rather than one fully done and dusted with it. Their high press was still there, but Wenger’s team was uncharacteristically efficient with their press as well, and since Arsenal are characteristically much better with the ball, it was a case of when rather than how as far as the first goal went.
Alberto Moreno was very much his usual self, after deceiving us for the first few minutes by making somewhat rash, yet perfectly timed tackles. It took him right around the 30th minute to commit his first act of stupidity, needlessly fouling Theo Walcott by aggressively sliding in and extending to try and clear the ball. However, Mignolet came up with the save from the spot kick, taken somewhat selfishly by Theo himself, when many least expected it.
But, then, another act of tomfoolery for Moreno’s part, as he pushed high up towards the left wing of the field when the ball wasn’t even properly out of Liverpool’s box, leaving Walcott wide open after Coquelin’s interception. Iwobi then picked it up and threaded it straight to the pacey winger, who made no mistake from the acres of space he was so courteously given.
From there on in, it looked set to be a dominant Arsenal performance that silenced all its critics. However, all the signs were misleading, as the man who so often makes the difference between winning and losing for Liverpool, Philippe Coutinho, absolutely dumbstruck the entire stadium with his gem of a free-kick from close to 30 yards out right before half time.
The second half almost vanquished the memory of there ever being a first half, such was the intensity of the action going on in the field. I’m probably not the only person who’d spend a fortune (if I indeed had one) on what Klopp said at halftime to turn this game around, but from the manager’s sideline theatrics, even he looked somewhat surprised at the sudden synchronization in Liverpool’s play that was irrefutably missing in the first 45 minutes.
Both Klopp and Wenger will have something to think about for their next game, though the latter will have much more thinking to do. For Liverpool, it seems nothing comes in a straightforward manner, but near devastation has climaxed into another day to enjoy for the travelling supporters.