Liverpool 3-3 Arsenal: 5 Talking Points

He could even have had a hat-trick before half-time.
Devansh Singhania

Hosts Liverpool equalised late in the game through substitute Joe Allen to end the game at 3-3 against a determined Arsenal side at Anfield. Two goals each from Roberto Firmino and Olivier Giroud, along with Aaron Ramsey's first half goal had put the game 3-2 in Arsenal's favor. But Allen came on late and pulled one back for his side which meant the two sides shared the points on a rain affected evening in Merseyside. Here are the major talking points from the game:

#1 Roberto Firmino announces himself

He could even have had a hat-trick before half-time.

Roberto Firmino scored two goals for Liverpool on the night. His second goal was a superb long-range effort which will be shown on the telly again and again but it was his first that really impressed.

It turned out to be a poacher's effort as the Brazilian’s positioning was spot on, so were his reflexes and his finish. His long-term future isn't playing up front, or even playing in Klopp's favourite 'false nine', but Liverpool's summer signing is showing he can deputise until Daniel Sturridge returns.

He could even have had a hat-trick before half-time, but his turn and shot bounced off the crossbar. Premier League followers had not been treated to Roberto Firmino consistently performing at his best so far. But just like he did against Manchester City, the £29 million Liverpool player raised his game against the very best.

He scored twice, add that to the one he scored at the Etihad as well as assists against Man City, Chelsea and Leicester. He has announced himself in England.

#2 Joel Campbell is confident and eager

joel campbell
Campbell’s performance last night was outstanding.

The Costa Rican has been the find of the season for Arsene Wenger. That could not have been possible if they did not have the injury situation where up to 10 players from the first team were out with injury. With Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – all of these out with injuries, Joel Campbell was given a chance in the starting XI by Wenger.

Last season, the Frenchman had said that the player was not ready to play for Arsenal, but with the kind of performances the midfielder has produced, it has made Wenger change his opinion on the 23-year-old. His rise may not be quite as pronounced as Bellerin's was last season but Joel Campbell has surprised everyone at Arsenal.

His performance at Anfield was outstanding, and the idea that Campbell would be keeping Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain out of the side would have seemed ridiculous 12 months ago, but his pass to set up Aaron Ramsey's goal showed exactly the sort of instinct and form missing from the England man's game. The selflessness he showed in setting up the third proves he's added maturity to raw talent.

#3 Injuries did not take the shine off the game

oliver giroud
Both teams played with an attacking intent.

When the two sides lined up at Anfield, it was the clash of the two injury-ravaged sides. Arsenal went into the game without their star player Alexis Sanchez. Whereas, Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck, Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla are also all out injured with long term problems.

To Wenger’s relief, Tomas Rosicky is back in training. On the other hand, Liverpool had up to 11 players out injured before the game. With long term and short term injuries, both sides suffered from a bad omen. But the spirit of the players and the spirit of this fixture could not be diminished.

Previous 9 meetings between the two sides had produced an astounding 35 goals. With six more goals at Anfield, the tally goes up to 41 goals in the last 10 meetings. The game started at breakneck speed: it was 1-1 after a quarter of an hour and 2-2 with 25 minutes gone as both sides set out to win.

They played with an attacking intent and freedom that belied the caution that 16 players’ absences through injury might have initiated.

#4 The match showed why Cazorla is important to the Gunners

santi cazorla
Arsenal’s first half pass completion is their worst of the season.

Ever since Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla have been on the treatment table, there have been talks of Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini replacing them well and that they have not been missed by Arsenal. But Ramsey’s and Flamini’s struggle to assert themselves in midfield at Anfield said otherwise.

Before Cazorla’s injury, the pass combination of Cazorla-Ozil was the most common pass combination in the Arsenal team. The Spaniard provided a vital link between the base and top of the midfield. But against a fighting Liverpool side, Ozil struggled to get on the ball. Liverpool cut off the supply to the playmaker, but you have to question whether that would have been possible with Cazorla in the team.

Strengthening this claim are Arsenal’s first half pass completion figures which indicate a pass completion rate of 73 per cent which is their worst of the season. So for the Gunners will be hoping for the faster recovery of Cazorla. However, credit must also go to Aaron Ramsey who showed exactly how difficult his runs are to track as he ghosted in behind the Liverpool defence for his 14th-minute equaliser, then provided further insight into his value with the assist for Olivier Giroud from a corner.

#5 Kolo Toure isn\'t getting any younger

kolo toure
He has been one of the Premier League's great defenders.

Kolo Toure had to be played by Jurgen Klopp in this all important encounter against Arsenal due to the injuries they have had. Kolo Toure, however, has had a great career and must be remembered as one of the Premier League's great defenders.

But with the kind of performance he produced against the visitors, one must be sure that his time at the top is surely over. During the game, the Ivorian fluffed a headed clearance just before Arsenal's first goal and was left on his backside after being turned by Giroud for their third. He did make a crunching tackle on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain late into the game, but his flaws could not stay hidden.

The Ivory Coast player had jokingly said in an interview that he will be going to Real Madrid, but on serious note, a club with ambitions of being in the Champions League should not be playing him in big games. Liverpool were short of central defenders on the day, but this was Klopp at his most desperate and he would not want to have to resort to such tactics any in the future.

Edited by Staff Editor


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