The Independent Variable
⚽️ Liverpool vs Arsenal - Live Weblog
29 December 2018
It’s been quite some time since I’ve live blogged a Liverpool match and there doesn’t seem to be a better match to get back into the flow than this one. The top five excluding Luverpool have all had a rough couple weeks, Man City dropping two in a row, Chelsea and Arsenal dropping points last week, and Tottenham losing to Wolves this morning. Liverpool has a chance to really extend their lead in the tables today, but it will be tough. Liverpool and Arsenal tied 1-1 back in November and since then, Arsenal has been on a tear.
- 11:25 - Liverpool Lineup- G: Allison; D: van Djik, Lovren, Robertson, Alexander-Arnold; M: Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Firmino, Mané, Shaqiri; F: Salah.
- 11:27 - That’s the defense I’d expect since Gomez is still out with injury. They’ve had success with Mané and Firmino coming out of the back as attacking midfield. Shaqiri over Milner as the fifth midfielder is interesting though. I expect them to come out attacking strong. In my opinion, Milner is the glue that makes Liverpool a more cohesive group.
- 11:30 - Arsenal Lineup- G: Leno; D: Sokratis, Lichtsteiner, Mustafi; M: Torreira, Maitland-Niles, Kolasinac, Xhaka; F: Ramsey, Aubameyang, Iwobi.
- 11:32 - No Lacazette or Guendozi for Arsenal, at least in the starting eleven. I believe Lacazette is still coming off an injury so we will probably see him early in the second half. Also, three defenders is interesting. They definitely want to attack as well, but I like these formations for Liverpool’s advantage.
- 11:33 - Liverpool looking very strong to start. Moving the ball well, and getting close to an attack moving the ball towards Arsenal’s box.
- 11:35 - Lichtsteiner sent a ball into Ramsey in Liverpool’s box but Ramsey wasn’t able to control it leading to a goal kick.
- 11:38 - Mané got lucky there. Just grabs Lichtsteiner by the neck, getting frustrated for a battle for the ball at the edge of the box.
- 11:40 - Liverpool has been good all year but their dominance really started as Fabinho became a consistent starter and got comfortable with the team. He’s great as a holding midfielder, suring of the defense, and boosts the attack with beautiful passes to his attackers.
- 11:41 - Just as I wrote that, a terrible ball from Fabinho leads to an Arsenal attack and shot forcing a save from Allison and a corner kick for Arsenal.
- 11:43 - In the 11th minute Arsenal gets in the scoreboard with a goal from Maitland-Niles, assisted by Iwobi. Started off from an awful pass by Lovren and then poor defending by Robertson on the cross (which has been a constant theme for both Lovren and Rovertson this year).
Liverpool 0-1 Arsenal
- 11:44 - GOOOOOAAAAALLLL for Firmino to bring Liverpool even.
Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal
- 11:46 - Firmino lead the charge with that attack, going straight up the middle attacking hard, getting a nice pass to Salah. Salah lost the ball on a clean tackle but the ball bounced around and Firmino was easily able to cap it.
- 11:46 - GOOOOOAAAAALLLL number two for Firmino. Oh my goodness.
- 11:47 - Hard to keep up with all the scoring early in this game. Firmino took the ball all by himself, dribbling by three defenders into the box and putting a clean strike on goal with Leno out of position expecting a pass.
- 11:49 - Liverpool has been strong in the attack, but very sloppy from the midfield and defense thus far.
- 11:50 - Wijnaldum with a risky tackle in the Liverpool box. Got the ball cleanly, but there may have been a little extra action going on with the arms.
- 11:57 - Wijnaldum is probably the most underrated player in Liverpool’s starting XI. He’s always in the right place and doesn’t make dumb mistakes. He might not be the skilled passer Fabinho is as the holding midfielder, but he’s a rock for Liverpool.
- 11:58 - Yellow card for Robertson. Arsenal’s free kick leads to a header in the box. Allison was just able to get his hands on it and put it over the goal, but it was just offsides anyways.
- 12:01 - Terrible pass from the Arsenal defender to Leno leads to a Liverpool corner.
- 12:02 - GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLL Mané!!!!
Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal
- 12:04 - After the clearance on the Liverpool corner, Robertson was able to chase down the ball and send it right back into the box to Salah. After quickly controlling the ball in the box, a quick cross to Mané doubled the lead for Liverpool.
- 12:14 - Ball has been going back and fourth from box to box for the past six minutes. No one has had a good look yet, but both teams are knocking and one small mistake could lead to another goal.
- 12:16 - From Allison’s hands, up to Salah in the box, Liverpool wins a penalty kick.
- 12:17 - Goal for Salah! As he converts the penalty.
Liverpool 4-1 Arsenal
- 12:44 - Holy moly Arsenal just missed a huge chance. Ramsey with the ball on the box, taking a shot. Fabinho’s slight deflection keeps it from going in directly, but Aubameyang (who ends up being offsides anyways) puts the ball over the net Fromm a foot away.
- 12:45 - Firmino looking for his third on a deep strike missing his target just slightly, still forcing Leno to get his hands on it and knock it down to secure it.
- 12:47 - Mané has looked impressive as an attacking midfielder these past few games. He’s done a good job coming back, and has been fantastic coming in from behind Salah on the attack. He still isn’t the guy I want setting others up, but maybe the pressure of being that top forward was a bit much and he’s able to relax more while still taking on the additional responsibilities of helping a bit more on defense.
- 12:48 - I used to loathe Mané, but now I think my most hated Liverpool player is shared between Robertson and Henderson.
- 12:51 - Liverpool Sub 1: Henderson in for Mané.
- 12:52 - Fabinho to Salah, who beautifully flips it back to Fabinho, who gets a good strike on it, but Leno dives to save it.
- 12:53 - Henderson free kick into the box, leads to a penalty as Lovren gets shoved down. Firmino to take the penalty shot.
- 12:53 - HAT TRICK FOR FIRMINO!!!!
Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal
- 13:16 - Lack of updates at this point, but it feels like a good place to sit back, relax, and enjoy the 5-1 lead.
Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal
Liverpool now has a nine point lead in the table over Tottenham. A Manchester City win tomorrow would move them into second, but would still trail Liverpool by seven points.