Why Arsenal’s recent record away at Liverpool is worrying
If there was one fixture that Arsenal fans dread, it’s Liverpool away. Despite both teams going into this weekend with 100% records, many are fearing a convincing defeat for Arsenal. History suggests that they’ll almost certainly leave with nothing, as the previous five visits to Anfield suggest.
21st December 2014 – Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal
2014 was an odd year for both clubs. Arsenal won the FA Cup the previous season, ending their 10-year drought while Liverpool continued to struggle. Heading into the halfway point of the season, Liverpool were in the bottom half of the table while Arsenal were in sixth below Southampton and West Ham United.
On paper Arsenal were expected to at least match Liverpool, and they did. It did look like the visitors would snatch a rare victory at Anfield, but Martin Skrtel broke Arsenal hearts with a 97th-minute equaliser. Given the performance of both teams, a point was the least Liverpool deserved.
Liverpool took the lead on the stroke of half time thanks to Phillipe Coutinho. The lead was short-lived as temporary centre back Mathieu Debuchy equalised deep into first-half injury time. Olivier Giroud completed the comeback on 64 minutes, but Skrtel managed to rescue a point despite Fabio Borini’s sending off.
Lightning would, unfortunately, strike twice in Arsenal’s next Anfield visit.
13th January 2016 – Liverpool 3-3 Arsenal
The 2015/16 season was the best chance Arsenal had at winning the Premier League since ‘the invincibles’ in 2004. Arsenal were two points clear from Leicester City, while Liverpool were struggling in eighth. Realistically, this was Arsenal’s best chance of winning at Anfield for the first time since 2012. Just as it looked like fortunes would favour Arsenal, it was 90th-minute drama once again that rescued a point for Liverpool.
The first half was played at a frantic pace, with Roberto Firmino twice giving Liverpool the lead inside 20 minutes. Aaron Ramsey’s initial equaliser split the Brazilian’s brace, and Giroud brought Arsenal level again after just 25 minutes.
The second half was more reserved, but that didn’t stop Giroud from firing Arsenal into the lead for the first time. The France international also missed an open goal in the first half, and he was made to rue that miss when Allen’s injury-time equaliser meant that Leicester moved level on points. We all know how that title race ended up!
Unfortunately, this would end up being the last encounter between the two sides to have a somewhat positive outcome for Arsenal.
4th March 2017 – Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal
This is where the pendulum in recent history swings in Liverpool’s favour. Both teams were battling for a top-four place, with Liverpool improving under Jurgen Klopp whereas Arsenal were sliding in the opposite direction.
Roberto Firmino seems to love scoring against Arsenal as he once again scored the opening goal inside 10 minutes. Sadio Mane added a second just before half time with an emphatic strike, effectively ending the game.
Arsene Wenger made the surprising decision to leave Alexis Sanchez on the bench, and the lack of attacking intent was clear in a poor first half. Danny Welbeck managed to reduce the deficit in the second half thanks to substitute Sanchez’s assist, but that was as good as it got for Arsenal.
Georginio Wijnaldum ended any minimal home worries with a third in injury time. The gulf in class between the two teams was starting to become clear to see.
27th August 2017 – Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal
Arsene Wenger’s final trip to Anfield ended in humiliating fashion as Arsenal were swept aside by a ruthless Liverpool. For the second visit in a row, the main talking point was Wenger’s questionable starting line-up. Alexandre Lacazette had just joined for £52.6m but was left on the bench in favour of Danny Welbeck, and there was a sense of déjà vu in another poor attacking performance.
Firmino and Mane were just forming their now lethal partnership with Mohamed Salah and Arsenal were among their first victims. Firmino opened the scoring with a glancing header on 17 minutes before Mane doubled their lead just before half time.
Few would’ve predicted the impact Salah would have in the 2017/18 season, but Arsenal were among the first to get a glimpse. The Egypt international was a one-man counter-attack as he ran nearly 50 yards to slot the ball past Petr Cech on 57 minutes. A Daniel Sturridge header on 77 minutes further emphasised Liverpool’s dominance.
Without a single shot on target, this was an afternoon to forget for Arsenal. Things would somehow get even worse in their most recent visit to Anfield.
29th December 2018 – Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal
Unai Emery’s first visit to Anfield as Arsenal manager ended horribly as Liverpool once again won convincingly. Ainsley Maitland-Niles opened the scoring on 11 minutes, but within five minutes Arsenal were behind courtesy of another Roberto Firmino brace.
Firmino’s first goal came as a result of typical Arsenal mistakes, with the Brazilian capitalising to slot past Bernd Leno. A poor clearance from Lucas Torreira less than two minutes later allowed Firmino to blitz past the Arsenal defence before converting from close range.
The first half went from bad to worse, as Mane and Salah fired Liverpool into a 4-1 lead. Along with Firmino they’re two more players who just love scoring against Arsenal. Sead Kolasinac’s unnecessary push on Dejan Lovren allowed Firmino to complete his hat-trick and the scoring midway through the second half.
Here’s a piece of trivia: who were the last team to concede four goals in the first half of a Premier League before 2018? If you guessed Arsenal, you’d unfortunately be correct. What makes this statistic ridiculous was that it also came against Liverpool at Anfield in 2014. The final score: 5-1. Talk about lightning striking twice.
Arsenal have not won at Anfield since goals from Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla sealed a 2-0 win in 2012. Games against Liverpool tend to end before they’ve even begun, so the blistering pace of their front three will need to be dealt with quickly. Fingers crossed for a rare positive result at Anfield this Saturday!