Liverpool 5 Arsenal 1
(Skrtel 1, 10, Sterling 17, 52, Sturridge 20, Arteta 69,(pen))

Sometimes you have to just accept that the better side won on the day. Saturday’s 5-1 mauling at the hands of Liverpool shouldn’t be bracketed in that scenario because in all honesty, the Reds totally battered Arsenal – and that takes some saying given that this a loyal Gunners’ site. Arsene Wenger saw his side out fought, out muscled and out thought as the outright winners inflicted another horror in England’s north. Martin Skrtel putting Liverpool ahead after barely a minute was an ominous sign of home side things to come. Skrtel doubled his and Liverpool’s lead after 10 minutes. Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge made it 4-0 for the rampant Reds and all within 20 minutes. Sterling added his second after 52 minutes, before Mikel Arteta scored from the penalty spot after Steven Gerrard had brought down Alex-Oxlade-Chamberlain. It was very poor opening from the Gunners and Wenger acknowledged as such.

” We conceded two early goals on set pieces and then we are always in a position where you have to come out but we knew that you need to be better focused in that kind of level. Overall our performance was just not good enough. Maybe it’s better if I don’t talk too much, go home and respond well on Wednesday night (against Manchester United) because I include myself in that performance. It raises the questions that we have to answer on Wednesday night,” said Wenger.

The apparent lack of cohesiveness and basic fundamentals of every aspect of Arsenal’s game was absent on the opening half. One of the tightest defences in the Premiership were continually caught by pace, caught trying to play a high line and caught by balls into the box. Per Mertersacker, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal and Bacary Sagna had no answer to Sturridge, Sterling and Luis Suarez who were all driven on by the steely Gerrard.

With a crucial ten day sequence coming up and starting with United in midweek, followed by Liverpool again but this time at home in the FA Cup and then the visit of Bayern Munich in the Champions League last 16 first leg, the heavy loss to Liverpool was not what was needed.

” What is important is that we respond to the result, especially that we respond with a different performance because our performance overall was poor today – on the concentration level and on the pace. Our defensive stability was very poor, we looked always vulnerable defensively. Congratulations to Liverpool, they were the better team today and we were very poor today. Only our fans were good for 90 minutes, that’s all. We only have one way to respond, which is on Wednesday night.” continued Wenger.

Perhaps this will be the defining moment when Arsenal’s many critics will point to a knowing ‘ we told you so, ‘ as voices discarded the Gunners title aspirations. Are they now armed with substance to their argument? Maybe. But Wenger calls on the strength and resolve of his side who gained 20 out of 24 points following the heavy loss at Manchester City, to put Arsenal’s season back on track.

” If we do that in the next games it’s ok, but let’s respond well on Wednesday night. We are of course very disappointed today but ( we mustn’t ) lose our confidence and our belief that we can still do it.

A win against United on Wednesday will help soothe the misery.