If you could pick one game that summed up up the entire 2022/23 season for Liverpool Football Club it would have to be this one. For 30 minutes the Anfield crowd were silently eating their prawn sandwiches as they watched their beloved reds huff and puff through another error strewn display. As for much of the campaign there was a distinct lack of quality and intensity in their work and after just eight minutes Arsenal found themselves with a deserved lead. Gunners winger Gabriel Martinelli, just about managed to bundle the ball past an on rushing Alisson Becker after Virgil Van Dijk failed to clear his lines following an Andrew Robertson slip out on the left hand side. Arsenal doubled their lead in the 28th minute when Martinelli was given the time and space to pick out an unmarked Gabriel Jesus who had ghosted between Robertson and Van Dijk with ease to nod the ball home from just seven yards.
At this point Arsenal were in complete control and looked to be cruising to their first win at Anfiled in a decade. But football matches can often be turned on their head with a single tackle, a world class save or a fiery coming together that energises a team and their fans. For Liverpool it was a clash between Granit Xakha and Trent Alexander Arnold that ignited a spark that we have seen so sporadically this season. From here Liverpool took over and pulled a goal back before the break through Mo Salah following some quality work from Curtis Jones to give the home fans some hope heading into the second half.
What happened over the next 45 minutes was easily the best football Liverpool have played in months. With a tweak to the system that saw Trent unleashed in a double pivot with Fabinho at the heart of the midfield the reds were able to swarm all over a retreating Arsenal side and box them in to their own half. This platform led to numerous clear cut chances that should have been enough for Klopp’s men to go on and win the game. First Mo Salah missed his second penalty of the season after Diogo Jota was brought down by Rob Holding while trying to shield the ball.
Dawin Nunez was then sent steaming through on goal with only Aaron Ramsdale to beat, but the Uruguayan failed to get the ball out of his feet and sent a tame effort straight at the Goal Keeper. The equaliser finally did arrive for Liverpool after some great work by the excellent Alexender Arnold on the right wing. Trent looked refreshed and fiery thanks to much of his defensive responsibility being taken away, which left him with the freedom to do what he does best. He was positive and clinical in his passing and was the creative spark in everything good about Liverpool’s performance. In the 87th minute it was this new found confidence that saw the maligned full back nutmeg Zincheko before chipping a delightful ball to the back post for Bobby Firmino to head home another goal against Arsenal.
Liverpool had a couple of late chances to seal what would have been an epic comeback win. But Salah’s deflected effort was tipped around the post by Ramsdale, who would again rescue his side when he denied Ibrahima Konate from just a yard out with an excellent scrambling save deep into injury time.
The game would finish 2-2, which unfortunately is more ground lost on the top four for Liverpool. However, there were plenty of signs to be hopeful moving forward. Not since last season have we played with that intensity. Konate looked immense at the back and we were picking up every second ball while playing with real purpose. The obvious tactical change for Trent was also refreshing and shows that Klopp is looking to mix things up with investment and new additions to the squad looking imminent. There was an excellent cameo from the majestic Thiago Alcantara to get excited about and with Luis Diaz in contention for next week it would be easy to make the call that Liverpool FC are back.
But despite the positive performance fans will still be wary of any claims of a revival and will go into the clash with a struggling Leeds Utd full of apprehension after being turned over by teams in similar poor form all season. However, I am calling it right now. This was the first step on the road to redemption, the first step of Jurgen Klopp 2.0 and there is no doubt in my mind that Liverpool will be contending for trophies once again next season.