My Favourite Liverpool v Arsenal Moments

My Favourite Liverpool v Arsenal Moments

I’ll be honest, I’m a little more worried about tomorrow evening than I probably should be. After all, this is arguably the best Liverpool team ever and easily the best one of my adult lifetime. It’s a manager and a group of players that know exactly what they’re about and we’re coming up against an Arsenal team that is still finding its feet. Yet the attack on offer is probably the third best in the country behind only us and Manchester City. The most important question for the Gunners is what, if anything David Luiz will solve. Of all of the defenders that they could have spent money on this summer, I’m surprised they’ve gone for one whose positional discipline isn’t exactly his most famous attribute.

I still think we’re going to cause them problems going forward, but we’ve looked less than rock-solid defensively ourselves and so my chief concern is that they get in behind repeatedly and the fact we’re missing our first-choice goalkeeper leads to goals for both sides. It’s not that we can’t outscore, of course. We absolutely can and it’s been heartening to see Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané in such fine fettle at this early stage of the season. Yet just as Arsenal supporters will be concerned that Mo Salah hasn’t really hit top form yet, I’m inescapably concerned about the following:

  • Jürgen Klopp has never lost to the Gunners as manager
  • Liverpool haven’t been beaten at home in the Premier League since we lost to Crystal Palace in April 2017
  • Our last three home results against Arsenal have been 5-1, 4-0 & 3-1
  • We haven’t lost at Anfield to them since 2012

All good things must come to an end, so I won’t be shocked to my core if they all happened at the same time. That, of course, is because I’m weirdly pessimistic over certain things. It’s not all the time, nor is it over everything that happens. It does, though, creep into me when people start taking about things and lately the narrative has been about all of those factors. In order to cheer myself up, therefore, I figured I’d have a little think about some of my favourite moments against Arsenal of recent times.

The Suarez Goal That Never Was

The match between Liverpool and Arsenal in February of 2013-2014 was thrilling for so many reasons. It’s easy to forget now that Arsenal were top of the league when they arrived at Anfield, eight points clear of us and full of confidence. We weren’t really supposed to beat them, let alone make a complete mockery of them. Four goals in the opening twenty minutes later and Arsenal were absolutely destroyed. They pulled one back in the second-half but by that time we were already 5-0 up and the Gunners were shell-shocked.

They were humiliated to the extent that they’re still feeling the pain now, yet they did manage to stop Luis Suarez from scoring one of the best goals an individual would have produced at Anfield, which is saying something. It was 2-0 when the ball came out towards him on the edge of the box. He had to backtrack to get it under control, with his touch sending the ball popping up into the air. Rather than take a touch, he struck it right-footed and it rattled the post, making clear to both them and us exactly which team was going to be taking the three points.

Firmino Dances Through The Arsenal Defence

There were many people who thought that Roberto Firmino wasn’t having his best season last year. Seemingly asked to play a bit deeper by Jürgen Klopp in order to accommodate Mo Salah moving into the middle, the Brazilian was still an integral cog in the Liverpool machine but his goalscoring ability seemed to have taken something of a hit as a result. That didn’t stop the Reds from going toe-to-toe with the richest club side ever to play the game, however, and when Arsenal rocked up at Anfield between Christmas and New Year in 2018 we were already thirteen points clear of them.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles gave the Gunners the lead, which caused Ian Wright to famously decry, “Why did we have to anger them?!” when the Reds responded with four goals before half-time. We ended up notching up another 5-1 win, copying the achievement of 2014 thanks to a Roberto Firmino hat-trick. It was the goal that gave us the lead that I enjoyed the most, with Firmino slaloming in an out of the various Arsenal defenders and leaving them on their backsides before slotting the ball past Bernd Leno. It was proof, were it needed, that the Brazilian still knew how to punish teams and once again demonstrated that Liverpool were head and shoulders above Arsenal on and off the pitch.

The No-Look Finish

The goal where Firmino dances through the Arsenal defence was glorious for so many reasons, but I do wonder whether it happens with the equaliser that came before it. Having taken the lead and also threatened to score again, the Gunners must have been wondering if this was finally the moment that they turn up at Anfield and banish the mental block that they seem to have had since 2014. The Brazilian had other ideas, but he needed his teammates to help him punish the sort of defending that we’ve sort of got used to from Arsenal in recent times.

Firmino started the move, shifting the ball out to Salah who went to lift it back in to him, only to be tackled at the moment he went to hit it. The result was that it fell to Stefan Lichtsteiner, but the German failed to deal with it and it landed at the feet of Roberto Firmino. Because of the way the ball had bounced around it was nowhere near Leto, meaning that the Brazilian was able to do one of his now-trademark no-look finishes and put the ball into an empty net. It reminded Arsenal about how cataclysmic so many of their performances are at Anfield, paving the way for everything that followed.

Who knows what will happen tomorrow night, but if I could add some memories to this list that would be great…

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