It should have been so much easier for Liverpool as they raced to a three-goal lead over Arsenal in the second half of a pulsating clash at the Emirates Stadium last weekend, but the Reds aren’t known for their steel at the back and when the Gunners pulled two goals back to set up a tense finish, it was met with very little surprise.
“It was a good win for us and of course we would have taken that before the game. We’ve got to be pleased with the three points but we know there are things we need to improve on before the weekend. In the first half we didn’t play as well as we would have liked. We just didn’t get going until after they scored,” Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson told the Liverpool ECHO. “The last 10 to 15 minutes of the first half were better from us as we kept the ball better and then Philippe came up with the goods to get us level with that free kick,” said the skipper with a smile. “It was a big goal – an unbelievable strike. From there we grew into the game and looked a lot more confident. The manager spoke at half time about the things we needed to do better and I felt like we did that in the second half.”
Theo Walcott opened the scoring for the North London side before Coutinho’s afformentioned free-kick restored parity just before the break. The Brazilan would sandwich another between efforts from Adam Lallana and Sadio Mane, but pressed to the back-foot, the visitors quickly crumbled with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain bamboolzing a host of defenders en-route to notching his first of the season and Calum Chambers provided the catalyst for a frantic finish when he nodded home Santi Carzola’s beautifully floated dead ball. Although newly promoted Burnley FC won’t be able to match the kind of firepower the Gunners boast, Henderson doesn’t care — he wants things to get better at the back before they travel to Turf Moor.
“We have got a lot of talented players going forward. We looked very dangerous at times. There’s a lot of pace and creativity in the final third. We scored some great goals but we also need to be solid defensively and provide better protection,” explained the Reds captain. “When Arsenal scored their second they gained momentum and we sat back a bit too much, inviting pressure, so that’s something we need to work on,” added the midfielder. “In the end we saw the game out and got the three points which was very pleasing but we all know we can do better. Burnley will be a different test and a tough test. We need to keep working and keep building as a team.”