Tactics | Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal | Square pegs in round holes | Midfield exposed | Arsenal impotent

Arsenal suffered a 4-0 defeat away to Liverpool on Sunday, August 27, leaving them 16th in the Premier League and with many problems to rectify, reports BBC Sport.

Goals from Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Daniel Sturridge did the damage, but manager Arsene Wenger will take a lot of the blame after his decisions completely backfired at Anfield.

Questionable squad selection

Wenger named a makeshift backline, with only two of his back five playing in their natural starting position against Liverpool.

Hector Bellerin started at left wing-back with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – who had been angling for a move to Liverpool at the time – on the right.

Nacho Monreal was one of three centre-backs with Laurent Koscielny and Rob Holding – previously dropped due to a lack of confidence – and the defence would go on to have a torrid afternoon.

In attack, Danny Welbeck got the nod over Alexandre Lacazette, a decision that surprised many given the former’s lack of goals. Arsenal failed to register a shot on target at Anfield too.

Midfield couldn’t cope

Arsenal’s midfield pairing of Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka had no match against Liverpool’s trio of Emre Can, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum.

Liverpool adopted their typical pressing game and were supported by the front three of Salah, Firmino and Mane, resulting in Arsenal having little time on the ball.

Arsenal looked completely unprepared for Liverpool’s harrying tactics and continued to give the ball back to the hosts after turning over possession.

Defence in pieces

At the back, Holding and Monreal struggled to contain the Reds due to Bellerin and Oxlade-Chamberlain being pulled out of position time and again.

Arsenal kept being caught on the counter attack, leading to Liverpool getting in behind the wing-backs, forcing Monreal and Holding to evade their position to put pressure on the onrushing forwards.

That left gaps at the back and an overload in Liverpool’s favour that they capitalised upon time and again.

How did the goals occur?

Liverpool’s first goal saw Bellerin caught high up the pitch. Joe Gomez ran off the wing-back, collected the ball, and put a cross in the box which was headed home by Firmino.

The Reds’ second goal saw Holding one-on-one with Mane on the edge of the box out wide, beating the Arsenal defender and firing home with his weaker foot into the far corner. Oxlade-Chamberlain, caught high up the pitch, was seen jogging back without little care to help.

The third goal came from an Arsenal corner, headed clear to Bellerin who was tackled by Salah. The Liverpool man ran the length of the pitch and finished past Petr Cech to put the game beyond doubt.

And the last goal again came from the wing-back not getting tight enough to his marker. Salah had all the time in the world to pick out a cross for Sturridge to head home, punishing Arsenal’s loose marking.

It was a game Wenger will want to forget and a result that will put a lot of pressure on his shoulders after signing a two-year deal in the summer.

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