Liverpool: How Long Can Gerrard Be Allowed To Coast Through Games?

This was billed as a top of the table clash, but Liverpool looked second best in every department as a mightily impressive Arsenal got a deserved home win.
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Sometimes all that you can do is hold up your hands.

Comprehensively outplayed yesterday by a sparkling Arsenal side who were more impressive in every area of the pitch, Liverpool had actually started brightly with bite and ambition before a fine Cazorla volley from a crossbar rebound settled the league leaders into a position of dominance.

Arsenal were comfortable, Liverpool were chasing the game; they were never able to threaten long enough to catch up. We could argue that if Martin Atkinson possessed the game intelligence to have allowed Suarez' quickly taken free kick, won from the number 7 being hauled down by a desperate Bacary Sagna and resulting in a Henderson tap in, to stand and provide a 1-0 lead then the story may have been different. It wouldn't. We shouldn't concern ourselves with the argument.

Arsenal were the ideal tonight, imperious, precise, smooth fast passing triangles, constant options, always a player to pick up a stray Liverpool ball, a rebound, a convenient drop of a ball. First to everything.

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Liverpool are a work in progress, we will keep saying this; to reassure ourselves as much as anything. The football that we aspire to was the football that was played in front of us at The Emirates; we have some way to go as yet.

Our midfield three was swamped by Arsenal's more potent, more mobile set up. Lucas was ineffectual, Gerrard anonymous, Henderson energetic but out of his depth for the first time in quite some time.

On the left flank Cissokho proved that we still need a left back and was sacrificed at the break for a change to 4-4-2 and the forced (and far too early) introduction of the returning Coutinho. In a fortnight he will be ready for a game of this kind. But not tonight.

Flanagan making his first start on the opposite flank for a Glenn Johnson sidelined by sickness did very little wrong.

Suarez and Sturridge saw little of the ball and when they did were unable to achieve much with it.

It wasn't our day today, we were given a footballing lesson, a lesson in how much is still to do but did it actually tell us anything that we didn't already know?

Our midfield lacks bite, we need a quality left back, there are days when we will need another attacking option to change a game. We knew all this.

Today did tell us this though; Arsenal have got one hell of a team. Five points ahead at the top of the table; we may have seen this year's Premier League champions today, they certainly played like champions.

Oh. And Aaron Ramsey? Hell of a goal. Again.

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