David Luiz spun on his heels and immediately began to jab his finger towards the assistant referee in front of the Sir Kenny Dalglish stand.
It was 61 minutes into a key day for Arsenal and Luiz wanted to know why Adam Nunn had not flagged to halt a Liverpool attack. All very good, you may think. Arsenal had signed Luiz from Chelsea to provide direction and leadership and this little cameo seemed to embody what they wanted.
Right? Wrong. If Luiz was hoping to cover his tracks with overt gestures, he failed hopelessly. This pantomime kidded nobody in the stadium. There was a reason the scoreboard in the far corner of the stadium read ‘Liverpool 3 Arsenal 0’ at that point and Luiz could not hide his culpability.
We will examine, in due course, Liverpool’s vibrant attacking and a performance that preserved their perfect start to the campaign but it cannot be overlooked how Arsenal – and Luiz – played a major role in their own downfall.
Luiz was supposed to bring steel to Arsenal’s backline when he swapped Stamford Bridge for the Emirates Stadium but he took leave of his sense on Merseyside, conceding a penalty that changed the course of the game before a fatal moment’s hesitation allowed Mohamed Salah to ransack him.
Liverpool have made a habit of demolishing Arsenal at this stadium but this latest instalment was actually closer for a spell than the score would lead you to believe; indeed, had Nicolas Pepe possessed the killer instinct of a man with a £72million price tag things could have been different.
As it was, Unai Emery found himself in the familiar position of losing a big Premier League game. Any hopes that Arsenal supporters may have started to harbour after opening up with two wins must be tempered. Liverpool, ruthless and relentless, exposed their shortcomings.
‘I loved the desire, the passion, the power and the energy we put into this game,’ Jurgen Klopp said, enthusiasm bursting from him. ‘It made us really uncomfortable to play against, I would say. Nice passes, a lot of good football moments. That is what we wanted.’
There were only 80 seconds on the clock when Liverpool’s first opening arrived but Roberto Firmino, scorer of a hat-trick in this fixture last December, failed by a fraction to get his toe to Andrew Robertson’s fizzing cross.
Klopp was not the only who liked what he saw. In the fifth minute, The Kop was roaring as Liverpool’s attack hemmed Arsenal’s defenders onto the byline and Sadio Mane hurtled into dispossess Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who looked taken aback by the Senegalese’s intensity.
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