By MO BHANA
Liverpool taught Arsenal and Arsene Wenger a lesson as they produced a mind boggling display of attacking football to at Anfielld.
display to destroy Arsenal as Arsene Wenger’s side were humiliated at Anfield.
Wenger surprisingly chose to leave out summer signing Alexandre Lacazette, and the £52.6m striker could only look on as every one of the Gunners’ old, familiar failings were brutally exposed by Liverpool’s pace, movement and sheer desire.
Firmino headed in Joe Gomez’s cross to give Liverpool a 17th-minute lead to start an attacking blitz that ended in a final scoreline that actually flattered Arsenal.
Sadio Mane curled in Liverpool’s second before Mohamed Salah ran half the length of the field on the break to stroke home the third after 57 minutes. The fact that the goal came from an Arsenal corner merely emphasised the shambolic nature of their display, which lacked organisation, commitment and passion.
Arsenal were overrun and showed no stomach for the fight. Liverpool substitute Daniel Sturridge gave the scoreline a more realistic appearance when he headed home the fourth at the far post from Salah’s cross 13 minutes from the end.
Liverpool struggled to find the fire and verve that almost took them to the Premier League title in 2014 after their inspiration and talisman Luis Suarez left for Barcelona.
The fear factor Suarez possessed disappeared and in many respects it signalled the beginning of the end for Brendan Rodgers as Liverpool manager.
Could it be that Mane has provided that crucial missing link in a Liverpool attack that now carries enough pace and movement to trouble any defence in the game?
The 25-year-old Senegal striker had a fine first season at Anfield following his £34m move from Southampton in summer 2016, although his impact was reduced by injury and absence at the Africa Cup Of Nations, which hurt Liverpool’s season.
This season, in combination with Firmino and new boy Salah, he is moving into the highest class and performing in a manner that is drawing comparison with Suarez.
Mane may not yet be in the exalted class of Suarez when he was at Liverpool – but he is certainly looking like the closest they have had since the departure of the brilliant but temperamental Uruguayan.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp feels his team have turned the corner and will frighten teams who visit Anfield.
“After midweek games you have to reach the mountain immediately. You really feel it is intense, we wanted to force ourselves to be strong physically and that is what we were. We were really well organised.
“If you give Arsenal space and time you lose before the game starts so I don’t think they could do a lot of what they wanted, Arsenal, and that is all credit to the boys because they worked really hard.”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said his team’s performance raised many questions: “We put [the players] in ideal conditions, I think overall the performance from back to forward was not at the level requested and it raises many questions.
“I still believe you have to think these players are good enough but it is sure that today we were not at the level.”