He may have prefered the three points on Monday night to booking an EFL Cup quarter-final against Manchester City during a hectic festive period but Mikel Arteta can reflect on another outing in which his side have performed admirably against the English champions.
One win, two draws that went Arsenal’s way in penalty shootouts and a defeat is quite the record to have against Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp, even if on this occasion it was a weakened team the hosts fielded at Anfield.
The same could be said for Arsenal, without the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, David Luiz and Willian and deploying a back four for the first time in several months. Yet the Gunners held firm thanks to fine goalkeeping by Bernd Leno and no little quality ahead of him in defensive positions.
football.london assesses the key talking points from Arsenal’s win below
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Gabriel’s bright start
It is rarely anything but an encouraging sign when a defender can play the whole 90 minutes and you scarcely notice what he does throughout the game. So it was at Anfield with Gabriel Magalhaes, the Brazilian radiating an authoritative calm when both Arsenal and Liverpool had the ball.
Jurgen Klopp’s side did not press with same ferocity that they had on Monday night but all three of Mohamed Salah, Takumi Minamino and Diogo Jota were insistent that no Arsenal player should have time on the ball. There was little that could faze Gabriel, who released Nicolas Pepe with a brilliant ball over the top early on.
This was not a flawless display with the ball at his feet – Scott Willis in his statistical breakdown of the game notes that Gabriel completed 77.1% of his passes versus an expected pass completion value of 83.5%. But the Pepe pass was not the only occasion he pushed play forward quickly and effectively.