But Klopp will still be troubled by this defeat. The season may be almost over, something zerified queer is going through the mid-summer moves and Liverpool may have flattened the rest of the field.
But the sport never stops, and right now, Klopp’s team has lost six and won five of its last 13 games in all competitions, keeping only three blank sheets in the process. The final whistle cannot come quickly enough.
Arteta made five changes here, including three to the defensive core of the team, although, as always with this incarnation of Arsenal, the word “defensive” came with a series of acute warnings at the start of the teams. Klopp played his best available XI, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain given the most difficult returns in this empty megabowl of north London.
It was a heavy, slow and slightly frantic start for both teams. There is something particularly draining on the big lots right now. The Emirates are a huge cantilever thing that accommodates in these locking days a glut of empty air. At first, Arsenal struggled to find a rhythm in the middle of the field, pressed by this hungry double line in black shirt.
After 12 minutes of play, the first chance came via a mini-foul by Emiliano Martínez, who went to kick the ball up and saw his clearance blocked outside a post by a flying Roberto Firmino. It is still surprising to note that, week after week, the people most surprised by the defense of Arsenal are always the defense of Arsenal.
The first goal came from a similar configuration. Sadio Mané almost charged another release from Martínez. His kick was easily recovered in the midfield. Firmino toured and starred in Andy Robertson. The culprit found an unmarked Mané to score a goal that encountered little resistance from the center line behind the net.
For a moment, it looked like Arsenal would be engulfed by its own weakness in the face of this type of pressure, with Firmino as always a highly skilled master of the block and pivoting tackle.
But it was also a nice pressure spell at the other end that brought both Arsenal goals.
After 32 minutes of play, Van Dijk was so busy complaining about a minor tug from Reiss Nelson that he ended up playing a terrible backpass directly to Alexandre Lacazette, who took the ball in front of Alisson and rolled it in the net. Van Dijk frowned, pointed and waved his arms. But even the most majestic defenders can be in a hurry.
Just before the interval, it was Alisson, half too cute, who failed to execute a delicate chip to Robertson with his own goal mouth. Lacazette intercepted and played the ball inside so that Nelson finished cleanly. Arsenal had two goals on two shots on target and an unexpected but well deserved lead.
Liverpool started the second half as a champion team with a flea. After 50 minutes, there was omnipotence in the Arsenal area, with four close-range short-range shots engulfed by a series of blocks.
Moments later, Mohamed Salah produced a surprising change of foot to escape from David Luiz’s lunge, then produced an imaginative designed plan which was placed on the bar. And for long periods of time, the match was played not only in Arsenal’s half, but in their penalty area.
There was a beautiful in extremis in defense, David Luiz and Rob Holding launching their bodies into the line. Kieran Tierney and Bukayo Saka did a fine and diligent job of keeping the left side together. Only Salah really seemed to have the close quarters to forge a clear shot on goal after a series of urgent but repetitive attacks from Liverpool.
There were new chances for Mané and for Salah, and a series of corners from Liverpool in added time. But somehow this red and white line never really seemed to be crossed.