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Lacazette, Ozil, Bellerin praises Arteta as Arsenal ‘more together now’

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Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette are praising new Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, just as comments from former boss Unai Emery mention disgruntled stars.

There’s no evidence that the two players had heard Emery blast “some stars” for a lack of effort during his tenure. If you want to connect some dots, though, it’s not a hard path for your pen.

“We are more together now,” Lacazette said from winter training camp in Dubai. “The way we think as well on the pitch and outside the pitch. Tactically we are better and we’re going to see a big improvement in the next few weeks.”

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Ozil echoed his sentiments, saying, “As a team, we are much happier and everyone wants to give everything for this club.”

Hector Bellerin is one of the leaders left over despite so many changes in North London, as Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal departed in the summer.

Bellerin is not viewed by many (if any) as a malcontent, and says things are just better now.

“Mikel has always been very tactical in his work and in his whole life, he’s very professional with very clear ideas,” he said via Arsenal.com. “It’s very early doors in time. [Mikel] has a new philosophy and the way he has implemented it in the last few games that we’ve played, there’s been a big change.”

Arsenal hosts Newcastle in its first match back from break.

Animated Klopp rejects Keane’s ‘sloppy’ adjective, rips handball rule

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp heard an adjective he did not like from analyst Roy Keane after the Reds’ 3-1 win over Arsenal on Monday.

The word was ‘sloppy’ as Keane mentioned some mistakes from the Reds, which certainly happened.

Klopp was not amused.

[ MORE: Match recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

“Did Mr. Keane say we had a sloppy performance tonight? Maybe he was watching another game? Cannot be this game,” Klopp said. “Sorry. It was absolutely exceptional, from the first second dominant against a team in-form and (we were) careful as hell that we did not get caught on the counter-attack.”

A mishit Andy Robertson clearance allowed Arsenal to take a 1-0 lead but the Premier League champions had it level within a couple of minutes, led at halftime, and shutdown Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang en route to a 3-1 win.

[ MORE: Player ratings from Liverpool-Arsenal ]

“Alisson had to make one save, they had two chances in behind but apart from that the football we played was exceptional tonight,” Klopp said. “This game tonight there is nothing bad to say, it was the opposite of sloppy. … We had so many big moments. We played a super game but were 1-nil down. Completely deserved. Could we have scored more goals? Yes. Could they have scored more? Yes.”

Klopp was also asked about the handball rule which has brought ire from around the football world including teams that have lost and won points off its implementation.

“Eric Dier could do absolutely nothing wrong and it is a penalty. You cannot control your body in that way, you have to move somehow. The only other thing you can do is cut arms off. I’m also really not happy with how long we have to wait (for offsides). … Obviously some rule changes or other things we changed didn’t help but in the moment we have to accept it.”

We’ll all be keeping our arms, as will the players. Never change, Jurgen, although perhaps a few deep breaths might give you a bit longer run on earth!

Player ratings: Liverpool v. Arsenal

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Liverpool – Arsenal player ratings: This was a real story of defense against attack as the Gunners sat back and Liverpool’s attacking stars had plenty of the ball.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned ]

Alexandre Lacazette’s opener saw Liverpool behind briefly, but quickfire goals from Sadio Mane and Andy Robertson put them ahead and Diogo Jota scored a late clincher in the 3-1 win.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]    

Here’s a look at Liverpool – Arsenal player ratings, as we give the players a mark out of 10.


Liverpool player ratings

Alisson: 7 – Made a good save to deny Lacazette in the second half and had little else to do. Kicking a little shaky on occasions.

Trent Alexander-Arnold: 8 – Superb cross for Mane early on and had a vicious shot deflected onto the bar.

Joe Gomez: 6 – Didn’t have much to do but a few gaps appeared between him and Van Dijk in the second half.

Virgil van Dijk: 7 – Shot well-saved by Leno and a cool customer, as always, throughout.

Andrew Robertson: 8 – A menace down the left and gave Bellerin a torrid time.

Fabinho: 7 – Sat in and soaked up the play in midfield, and won the ball back time and time again.

Georginio Wijnaldum: 6 – Solid, steady and reliable. Does he ever have a bad game!?

Naby Keita: 6 – Wasn’t able to make his runs forward from midfield. Tidy enough.

Mohamed Salah: 7 – Lovely run and shot to set up the first goal and bullied Tierney. Greedy in the second half and took a chance of Jota.

Roberto Firmino: 7 – Good movement and occupied Luiz and Holding to allow Mane and Salah to cut inside.

Sadio Mane: 8 – Could have been sent off early on for an elbow on Tierney and hit a shot straight at Leno. Took his goal well. A constant threat.

Substitutions
James Milner (80′ on for Keita): 6 – Helped Liverpool see out the game by clogging up midfield.
Diogo Jota (80′ on for Mane): 7 – A debut PL goal for Liverpool and had some good runs, a cross and two other shots were both off target. Very lively on his Anfield debut.
Takumi Minamino (90′ on for Firmino): N/A


Arsenal player ratings

Bernd Leno: 6 – A decent stop from Mane but his distribution was sloppy.

Rob Holding: 6 – Did okay defensively but never looks that comfortable in possession.

David Luiz: 6 – Sloppy on the ball at times, and struggled to cope with Liverpool’s pressing. Hung in there.

Kieran Tierney: 5 – Caught out on Liverpool’s first goal but caught by Mane’s elbow early on. Didn’t receive much help.

Hector Bellerin: 5 – Caught napping on both of Liverpool’s firs half goals. Didn’t add anything from an attacking perspective.

Mohamed Elneny: 6 – Worked hard, as always, and tried to string a few passes together.

Granit Xhaka: 5 – Overrun in midfield and couldn’t get on the ball. Subbed off.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles: 5 – Should have done better to control a ball over the top and pinned back.

Willian: 4 – Switched off to allow Robertson to finish for Liverpool’s second. Offered little in attack.

Alexandre Lacazette: 6 – Scored his goal as he was in the right place at the right time. Worked hard but missed a great chance for a second.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 5 – Hardly involved and when he was he failed to run at Liverpool or provide quality.

Substitutes
Dani Ceballos (60′ on for Granit Xhaka): 6 – Made a real difference when he came on as he got on the ball.
Nicolas Pepe (68′ on for Willian): 5 – Barely involved.
Eddie Nketiah (74′ on for Lacazette): N/A

3 things we learned: Liverpool v. Arsenal

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Liverpool – Arsenal was an interesting tactical battle, as Liverpool pressed high and Arsenal stuck to their defensive shape but the extra quality of Liverpool’s attack shone through in a 3-1 win.

[ MORE: Player ratings out of 10 ]

Alexandre Lacazette’s opener saw Liverpool behind briefly, but quickfire goals from Sadio Mane and Andy Robertson put them ahead and Diogo Jota scored a late clincher.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]    

Here’s a look at what we learned from Liverpool – Arsenal at Anfield.


Jota the perfect understudy to Mane

Sadio Mane wasn’t happy to be subbed off but Jurgen Klopp was perhaps keeping him away from a red card he probably should have got early on. Mane was lucky to stay on the pitch after an early elbow on Kieran Tierney. Was it intentional? No. Was it reckless? Yes. Mane chased down Tierney but raised his elbow and caught Tierney in the face. VAR didn’t determine he should have been sent off as Mane was only booked and stayed on the pitch to duly score the equalizer and was a constant thorn in Arsenal’s side. Liverpool’s star winger wasn’t happy about being replaced by Jota with 10 minutes to go as Klopp had a quiet word.

In that 10 minutes the Portuguese winger scored his first Liverpool goal, hit the side-netting, set up a chance and should have had another but Salah nicked the ball off his foot. Life after Mane, Firmino and Salah is not something Liverpool fans will have to (or want to) think about for a while but Jota, still just 23 years old, is a fine signing from Wolves and will be the perfect understudy to Mane as his pace, finishing and movement is very similar. It’s almost like Liverpool and Klopp have a plan…


Resilient Arsenal showed a little too much respect

Arsenal had two touches in opposition box in first half. Two. It was their lowest total in a single 45 minutes since Opta started recording the stat and it showed how much respect they gave Liverpool. Like they have done against the top teams since Arteta arrived, Arsenal sat back deep and tried to keep the ball at the back to draw Liverpool up the pitch. It didn’t work but they stayed in the game. Arsenal couldn’t string enough passes together to launch dangerous counters but Lacazette did have a big chance to make it 2-2 but he hit his shot straight at Alisson. Arsenal were more resilient than they have been against Liverpool in the past and Arteta’s project has just started. They have taken strides forward, we shouldn’t forget that. Arteta has made them gritty but they still have a long, long way to go.


Sloppy Liverpool caused own problems

They gave Arsenal the opening goal after Andy Robertson couldn’t control the ball in the box, then were cut open in the second half on the break but Lacazette couldn’t make the most of it. It wasn’t a case of Arsenal creating lots of chances, but instead Liverpool giving them the few they did have.

If Liverpool are going to win the Premier League, and other trophies, this season then they must tighten up at the back. They conceded three against Leeds on the opening weekend and have now given Chelsea and Arsenal plenty of chances to score. Klopp worked so hard to eradicate the silly defensive mistakes which riddled his first few years as Liverpool boss but now they’re creeping back in.

Liverpool too much for Arsenal after early scare

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Liverpool – Arsenal: Sadio Mane, Andy Robertson, and Diogo Jota all scored as Liverpool quickly overcame an early error to beat Arsenal 3-1 at Anfield on Monday.

[ MORE: JPW’s 3 things | Player ratings ]

Alexandre Lacazette scored early off a Robertson error but Mane answered within two minutes and the reigning champions were up 2-1 by halftime.

Liverpool joins Everton and Leicester City as the lone 3-0 teams in the Premier League, with Aston Villa sitting at 2-0 after a Monday win and holding status as the Reds’ next PL opponent.

[ MORE: Klopp’s animated post-match reaction ]

Arsenal loses after winning its first two matches. The two sides meet again at the same venue in League Cup fourth round action on Thursday.

Arsenal’s next PL match is home to Sheffield United on Sunday.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  


Analysis, notes, and stats from Liverpool – Arsenal

1. Mixed results for Arsenal litmus test: A 34 percent possession number and 21-4 deficit in shot attempts show the Gunners have a long way to go to catch Liverpool despite the dreams inspired by the club’s Project Restart win at the Emirates Stadium. Jurgen Klopp’s Reds could’ve scored a bunch more than three and while Alisson did well to twice deny Lacazette after his opener, the chances mostly belonged to the champs.

2. Aubameyang’s off day: He wanted a card for a Fabinho drag down in the 69th minute, which was one of the few times he was in focus. With 20 minutes to play, Aubameyang had 23 total touches and had completed just 7-of-16 passes. Would he find a moment to make the difference? He managed one more touch before a stoppage time rush with the match out of hand.

3. Alexander-Arnold’s arrows: Liverpool’s assist man completed three key passes on an 88-touch day on the right side.

Man of the Match

Fabinho and Alisson get knowing nods for fine days and Alexander-Arnold was influential as usual, but Mohamed Salah’s incisive passing should’ve easily provided a goal for at least one of his teammates. Really good-looking stuff that will not find any highlight reels.


Liverpool – Arsenal recap

Sadio Mane saw an early yellow card for a forearm to the face of Kieran Tierney in a move that has sometimes seen the referee brandish a red.

Naby Keita slipped Andy Robertson into the box for an 11th-minute chance that was blocked for a corner by Rob Holding.

David Luiz cleared a Virgil van Dijk header off the line after Trent Alexander-Arnold spotted the center back at the back post.

Leno stopped a bullet Mane shot in the 16th as Liverpool asked all the questions. Alexander-Arnold had a shot deflect off the cross bar five minutes later.

Arsenal scored with its first chance of the game, French striker Lacazette crossing himself at his good fortune at both Andy Robertson whiffing a clearance onto his path but also a mishit ball finding its way past Alisson Becker. 1-0, 26′.

Liverpool made it 1-1 in the 28th, a deserved goal that came when Leno saved Mohamed Salah but Mane deposited the rebound.

Robertson made amends for his mistake when he found himself behind the Gunners’ back line to deposit a Hector Bellerin-altered Alexander-Arnold cross.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Alisson stopped Lacazette’s chip in the 59th, though the flag was up, as Arsenal had a rare chance. He was onside when Alisson stopped his similar effort in the 63rd.

Diogo Jota’s Liverpool debut could’ve easily included a goal or two off the bench but he sliced one shot wide of the far post and saw a near-post effort go off the outside of the side netting.

He got his goal in the 88th minute, a nice finish inside the near post of Leno.