The REAL Liverpool stand up in London as the Reds warm-up for crunch Real Madrid clash with domination of Arsenal… as right back Trent Alexander-Arnold emphatically responds to England omission
- Arsenal were no match for the champions on Saturday, as Liverpool won 3-0
- The Reds looked back to their usual standard with a dominant performance
- With a huge match against Real Madrid on Tuesday evening, it is perfect timing
- Trent Alexander-Arnold showed why he deserves a place in the England squad
There was Trent Alexander-Arnold showing hell hath no fury like an England full back scorned. Fabinho playing in his rightful position. Diogo Jota with another impactful introduction from the bench.
Just maybe that top-four finish is a possibility, after all.
Naturally the focus was on Alexander-Arnold. After two weeks of everyone else having their say on his omission from Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad, it was his turn to respond.
Liverpool hit their stride once more on Saturday, beating Arsenal 3-0 in a strong showing
Jurgen Klopp’s side look to have re-found their form at just about the right time of the season
Trent Alexander-Arnold put in a superb performance, looking to save his place for the Euros
And he did, with gusto. Bruce Banner came to mind in the midst of this response. ‘Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.’ Arsenal definitely didn’t.
There was an extra zest to Alexander-Arnold’s game. Arsenal became a personal punching bag in a performance which was more hulk than sulk and, most importantly for Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool won.
You only hope Alexander-Arnold and his team-mates can carry this same indignation into Tuesday night. Real Madrid await in the Champions League. Take it out on them, too.
Klopp was careful not to dig out Southgate afterwards, knowing the performance said enough to the England manager, though he may as well have said: ‘Thanks for the motivation, Gareth.’
What Klopp actually said was: ‘Trent showed his class.’ Concise and correct.
Alexander-Arnold has had a tough season and was left-out of Gareth Southgate’s latest squad
On the day they lost their title — Manchester City’s win meant Klopp’s side are no longer able to catch them — this was like watching Liverpool of old.
And there was something familiarly disappointing about Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, too.
The three most expensive players in Arsenal’s history started together for the first time since last season’s FA Cup final. Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe cost a combined £174.5million, each of them a club record signing.
And yet, the lesson we learned was how reliant they have become on their academy graduates in Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was a massive disappointment in the game as Arsenal fell flat
Fabinho controlled the game and was crucial in keeping Arsenal pegged back in their own half
Without Smith Rowe picking up pockets of space on the left and Saka’s ingenuity on the right, it was all Liverpool. Granit Xhaka was missed in midfield, too, and Kieran Tierney limped off.
David Luiz has had surgery on his right knee and may not be back this season. If supporters were allowed at the Emirates Stadium, it would not have been pretty.
Fabinho was a big reason why Arsenal could not escape their half and Jota breaking the deadlock was the least Liverpool deserved after a dominant first hour.
For that first goal, Alexander-Arnold picked up possession on the right wing. Aubameyang’s flimsy attempt at closing down gave the Liverpool right back time to cross. He placed the ball perfectly in between two Arsenal defenders and on to Jota’s head.
Diogo Jota was in fine form, scoring twice and proving why he deserves to start for the Reds
Alexander-Arnold was involved in the build-up to the second, scored by Mohamed Salah, and was then vital in the third by winning possession prior to Jota’s second of the game.
‘I don’t want to have a funny discussion about Trent,’ Klopp said. ‘It’s Gareth’s decision and he’s blessed with the choice he has in that position. Trent is in a really good shape and if anyone says he’s not, I have to say it’s wrong.’
On the top four, Jota added: ‘We have a chance to be there. It doesn’t matter if you start or not you need to be ready to make an impact. Everyone is working hard and now we have that hard game against Real.’
Mikel Arteta was furious with the performance and admitted the Gunners were dominated
Arteta did not mince his words, saying: ‘A big shock to the system. ‘It was one of the worst. It really shocked me. Liverpool completely deserved to win the game, probably by a bigger margin.
We were extremely poor. We apologise to our fans, this was nowhere near the standard. I am responsible.’
He wasn’t really. The effort levels of his players were pathetic. A year ago, Aubameyang might be in the conversation to replace Sergio Aguero at City. Not now.
Liverpool had that extra something — a determination to win every second ball, every duel, every challenge. And Alexander-Arnold was at the forefront of that to give Southgate a timely reminder.
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