3 reasons why Liverpool beat Arsenal 3-1 | Premier League 2019/20
Liverpool maintained their 100% winning record to start the Premier League campaign with a 3-1 win over Arsenal, as Joel Matip's header and Mohamed Salah's second-half brace gifted the Reds all three points at Anfield.
Despite the hosts' early dominance, it could have been a completely different story for Jurgen Klopp's men had the visitors taken their chances before half-time. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang spurned a chance with the goal gaping after an Adrian error, Nicolas Pepe squandered two promising opportunities and yet they found themselves a goal behind at the break.
Salah netted a ten-minute brace, helped by some characteristically poor David Luiz defending - but substitute Lucas Torreira scored his third Arsenal goal as consolation with five minutes left, leaving the Reds slightly edgy as their wait for a first clean sheet continues.
With all of that in mind, here's a look at three reasons why Liverpool were 3-1 winners over Arsenal on this occasion.
#3 Unai Emery's tactics, personnel changes massively backfire
Emery's decision to start with a 4-4-2 diamond was a pre-match surprise but equally a naive one too, especially away from home up against a team of Liverpool's strengths. Their expansive style of football was essentially invited upon an Arsenal side who sat deep, were overloaded on both flanks and afforded their hosts too much space to create opportunities from the get-go.
After his encouraging showing against Burnley, £72m forward Nicolas Pepe was always likely to make his first league start here. However, that's no justification for leaving Alexandre Lacazette on the substitutes' bench until the 80th minute during a big clash, where you could see they needed the Frenchman's attributes to link-up attacks better and involve more teammates to stretch Liverpool further.
Speaking of displays against Burnley, Dani Ceballos started in an advanced midfield role within Emery's diamond but it was quickly evident the Spaniard was struggling to cope against Liverpool's high-press, energetic style - one which saw him relinquish possession far too easily, far too often.
While Joe Willock acquitted himself well alongside Matteo Guendouzi and the returning Granit Xhaka, there was an overwhelming feeling that Lucas Torreira should have started somewhere in that holding midfield trident. His goal aside, the Uruguay international possesses the guile and bite big teams are uncomfortable playing against.
It felt as though Emery set his side out in a damage limitation exercise: counter-attack at speed with Aubameyang and Pepe, defend in numbers and hope for Liverpool errors. If they were to win on this occasion, a lot of things had to go their way. Simply not good enough.