Arsène Wenger included Alexis among the substitutes at Anfield on Saturday, bringing our Chilean forward on at half-time with the side 2-0 down.

The boss’ decision prompted questions in his post-match press conference and he explained his tactical plan to reporters:

on the thinking behind benching Alexis
The thinking was that we had to go more direct and I wanted to play two players who are strong in the air, because we decided to go more direct. After that, to bring on Alexis in the second half. Of course, I believe in the second half it was easier for the strikers and you could see a different performance from Giroud and Welbeck because we dominated much more of the midfield. Everybody will come to the same conclusion, but I’m strong enough and lucid enough to analyse the impact. And I don’t deny that Alexis is a great player. I bought him and I always played him. This decision was not easy to make, but I have to stand up for it.

on Alexis being frustrated on the bench…
I don’t think there’s any need to go into any individual explanation. What was good in the second half was our collective performance. What was not good in the first half was our collective performance. For me, that’s a much more rational explanation than the rest.

on how Alexis took the news of being dropped…
You focus on what you want. For every single player, it’s the same. Everybody tells you that you need to buy strikers and then when you have them, everybody asks why you don’t play all of them. It’s impossible.

on our approach…
We did go direct in the first half. What I call direct is that the goalkeeper kicks straight to his strikers. That’s what we did.

on not creating chances in the first half…
We didn’t create many chances. We had some dangerous situations and we didn’t make enough of our corners. We had good situations on corners where we didn’t do very well on the delivery. With the players we had on the pitch, we should have made more of these opportunities because Liverpool are vulnerable from corners.

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4 Mar 2017