Liverpool: It Felt Great To Hammer Arsenal, But We Won't Win The League
Oh the temptation to turn this into one unending scream of utter unbridled joy.
For those watching at home there was a moment that summed up the day; with 19 minutes of a game against an Arsenal team then sitting at the top of the table and supposedly playing the best football in the league BT Sports cameras swept across their fans. Their shell shocked, shattered, confused fans, puzzled and dismayed by what had unfolded before them.
Four goals in eighteen minutes and twenty two seconds for an absolutely rampant Liverpool with no sniff of a reply from the dumbfounded, disorganised Gunners.
This was a statement of intent by Liverpool. As previously this season, a self inflicted setback was followed by a display of force, grace and intensity.
The genius here was Rodgers' decision to play with the same side and same formation as the glorious victory over Everton but to change almost everything within it. Gerrard still sat in front of the top four, still intercepted everything, still dictated the play but the four before him had changed. Coutinho and Henderson swapped centre midfield berths with Henderson harrying and chasing for ninety minutes as is usual. Coutinho threaded immaculate passes as is his wont and as has been as evident as last season since his move into central midfield with an added muscularity that ensured the two ran the middle of the pitch and from there the game as a whole. Sterling, man of the match by some distance and unfortunate not to walk away from the afternoon with the match ball, took left wing while Suarez and Sturridge switched between right and lone frontman in a mirror of their dismantling of our near neighbours.
As a competition the afternoon was settled by the twentieth minute. A thorough blitzing, an imposing of mayhem on the visitors back four, an absolute mauling, gave way to a controlling dominance. Arsenal had no answer to our counter attacks and no solution to penetrating our back four who, quite admirably, defended throughout as though the score were permanently 0-0.
Five goals. Two for Skrtel as the result of perfect Gerrard set pieces, two for Sterling and the customary Daniel Sturridge celebration; the only shock of the day being that Luis Suarez didn't torture the side that spent the summer making derisory bids for him although his forty yard volley that hit their post would have been a goal of the season contender.
Five against Spurs. Four against Everton and now five against Arsenal. Comfortable enough that Brendan Rodgers was happy to withdraw Sturridge and Gerrard with fifteen minutes to go - the latter in order to give eighteen year old Jordon Ibe a run out - and Suarez with almost ten minutes left.
Arsenal were quite simply embarrassed, humiliated, crushed. It will be interesting to see where their season gives from here; the next two weeks could see an implosion of unheralded magnitude.
We can't win the league. Brendan has said so. It is not, he has repeatedly stated, in our thoughts. We are, though, only six points behind new leaders Chelsea and four behind the suddenly stagnant Manchester City. Both are yet to visit Anfield, both will come to play football. Our current set up is perfect against sides that want to play football, we will be quite happy to repeat our first half blitz/second half containment against both.
Now we just need to show that we can beat Fulham away.