Wenger believes Coutinho wonder-goal before halftime crushed Arsenal

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Arsene Wenger was clearly dismayed following his side’s 3-4 defeat against Liverpool, and he placed the blame firmly on the goal that Philippe Coutinho scored on the stroke of halftime, one that struck down Arsenal’s lead and completely nullified their solid first 45 minutes.

“Of course we are disappointed,” Wenger said during his post-game press conference, “because I think that there was the contrast between the two halves and that stemmed from many reason, but one of them is psychologically just to be back to 1-1 at halftime.”

With the Gunners struggling for fitness and a number of injuries giving Wenger a selection headache, the Frenchman also blamed his squad’s overall fitness for the opening defeat.

[ RECAP: Coutinho show downs spirited Arsenal 4-3 ]

“We are not ready, physically, we are not ready,” Wenger declared. When it was brought up that Arsenal seems to often struggle out of the gates – they’ve won just one of their last seven Premier League season openers – he continued. “We paid for a lack of experience at the back & the fact some players are not ready physically to compete at this level”

With the club missing Per Mertesacker, Gabriel, and Laurent Koscielny due to injury or fatigue, Arsenal started Calum Chambers and 20-year-old Rob Holding in central defense. Chambers has 36 appearances for the Gunners, but Holding was making his Premier League debut after spending all of last season at Championship side Bolton, where the club was relegated to League One.