Liverpool analysis – Thiago Alcantara truth emerges after Arsenal mistake as Diogo Jota proves Roberto Firmino point – .

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Liverpool analysis – Thiago Alcantara truth emerges after Arsenal mistake as Diogo Jota proves Roberto Firmino point – .


Arsenal give Thiago the perfect stage
A Spaniard wearing the number six jersey while strutting through midfield in Merseyside is nothing new.

Just ask Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, who has played with distinction for Everton while wearing the shirt during his career at Goodison.

Thiago Alcantara hasn’t quite managed to reach similar heights at Liverpool, not helped by well-documented injury, illness and form issues.

So this was the opportunity for the 30-year-old to set a milestone, a first start since he suffered a calf injury against Crystal Palace in September – albeit by default given he was one of the only three senior midfielders in great shape. .

Thiago made the most of it. The Gunners’ tactical setup – pressing high while sitting deep – invited the Spaniard to the opportunity and space to show his unmistakable passing reach.

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Impressive in constantly pulling Liverpool out of potential danger, through Arsenal press and visiting rearguard, Thiago was exceptional.

He even allowed himself time to drift further on occasion, especially when he beat a volley in the first half that Aaron Ramsdale needed to parry.

And the appetite the midfielder displayed in chasing and chasing Arsenal out of possession in the second half was indicative of a man enjoying his night, earning huge applause from the Anfield crowd.

Thus continues the impressive track record of Thiago and Fabinho, the duo who have not yet tasted defeat when they start side by side in midfield.

Of course, a fit Thiago playing with confidence like this is an asset to any team.

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Alexander-Arnold on another level

While there has been more and more debate about Liverpool’s left-back position in recent weeks, on the other side there can be no dispute.

Trent Alexander-Arnold is in the creative form of his career.

After collecting seven assists in his previous five starts for club and country – as well as a free kick to West Ham United – the right-back recorded two more here as he scored the Reds’ glut of goals.

The first and most important unlocked the Gunners’ rearguard six minutes before the break, a display of his dead ball prowess in a right wing shot deep into the danger zone where Sadio Mane passed between Gabriel and Takehiro Tomiyasu to head home.

And Alexander-Arnold ensured Liverpool capped an impressive performance with a fourth goal 17 minutes to go when, straddling Mohamed Salah for the umpteenth time, his cross was happily slapped by substitute Takumi Minamino.

It was more representative of the English man’s overall performance, solid when required defensively and such a relentless and urgent threat going forward. He was rarely beaten to possession.

Kostas Tsimikas, replacing injured Andy Robertson at left-back, was reassuringly calm and hardly wrong.

Alexander-Arnold, however, is on a different level right now.

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Jota does things his way

It was Diogo Jota in a nutshell.

For much of the first half, the Portuguese tested the patience of the Anfield crowd – and the endurance of Mohamed Salah – with a succession of passes and temperamental passes.

It risked highlighting how sorely lacking was Roberto Firmino’s intelligence and ghost consciousness between the lines.

Then, seven minutes into the second half, Jota did what Jota does – especially against Arsenal.

After Nuno Tavares brainlessly played a square pass in his own area, the Liverpool forward pounced on the ball and showed cool composure to sit down first Ben White then Ramsdale before type in the empty net.

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Jota, who scored his first goal for Liverpool on his Premier League debut for the club in that game last September, now has four goals against the Gunners for Klopp’s side.

And it was a reminder why his nickname “Jota the Slotter” was earned for a reason.

The Portuguese is not Firmino. No one is.

But if Jota continues to do things his own way, he can help ease the pain of his teammate’s continued absence – and prove he can be the long-term successor.

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