Few top managers can ever say that they have a better record against Jurgen Klopp than he has against them.
The likes of Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino, Thomas Tuchel and Arsene Wenger all have fewer wins over Klopp than he has over them. Yet Mikel Arteta’s opening skirmishes against the Liverpool boss have gone his way even if he would admit a healthy dose of luck has been required for Arsenal to overcome the English champions.
Certainly Arteta’s first meeting against Klopp was not an exemplary Arsenal performance, the heavily-rotated Gunners riding their luck and pouncing on uncharacteristic errors from Virgil van Dijk to win 2-1 in a match where they had just 30% possession and Liverpool registered 31 shots at Emiliano Martinez’s goal.
Whether their second meeting counts as a win for Arteta or a draw between the two sides that was subsequently decided on penalties rather depends on your viewpoint but what was beyond debate after the Community Shield was that Arsenal had gone toe-to-toe with one of Europe’s finest sides and proven themselves to be up for the challenge.
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Arteta might acknowledge that there is no one thing Arsenal can do that will guarantee them a win over Liverpool, indeed he noted that there are only so many times the Gunners can probe the weak points in Klopp’s side before they are mitigated.
“First of all you need a great individual performance by all of them,” Arteta said. “You need certain luck, that’s for sure, in moments in the game, and then you have to be so consistent in everything you do throughout 96 minutes because in any moment they can open you up and you can get exposed.
“You never give up. That’s another thing that is crucial against them.
“You have to expect them to be at their best. If you’re always expecting that then the level of attention is higher, focus is higher and you are more…