It was an afternoon to forget at Anfield on Sunday as we were well beaten by Liverpool.
Much of the damage was done in the first half, as the hosts put us under sustained pressure – although we had an early chance when Danny Welbeck fired over after good work from Aaron Ramsey and Alexis.
But moments later Roberto Firmino played Emre Can into space to the left of the box and he rolled an inviting ball across the six-yard box. Mohamed Salah raced in to convert the chance… but miraculously Petr Cech flung his way in front of the ball and somehow managed to block his goalbound shot.
But the respite did not last long, and with 17 minutes on the clock Liverpool took the lead as Joe Gomez whipped a ball in from the right to find the onrushing Firmino, who headed beyond Cech.
We were on the rack, and it could have got even worse moments later when Jordan Henderson preyed on a defensive error and dinked the ball over Cech, but his effort didn’t have enough power and was cleared.
Arsene Wenger’s side just could not find their attacking fluency, and five minutes before the interval we were punished again after leaving too many men upfield for an attack as the hosts countered in devastating fashion.
Can won the ball and raced forward and the ball found its way to Mane, who faced up Holding before cutting in past him in the box and placing a shot into the far corner.
- Ramsey - We have to say sorry to the fans
- 'I'm deeply disappointed... but we can't panic'
- 'Our performance was not acceptable at that level'
We switched to four at the back in the second half, and it provoked a more positive response as we looked for a way back into the game.
But it was the hosts who were next to seriously threaten as Saleh pounced on a loose Monreal pass and burst forward, but his shot was saved by Cech before Henderson put the rebound over the bar.
We continued to push on in search of a goal, but another defensive error killed off any hope of a comeback as Saleh nicked the ball off Bellerin on the halfway line and raced in on goal, before calmly beating Cech.
It was a real hammerblow, and we were indebted to Cech once again in the 69th minute when Mane preyed on another mistake to get a sight of goal but the Arsenal goalkeeper was able to save his low shot.
Sturridge made it four with 13 minutes left on the clock to complete a miserable afternoon and leave Wenger with much to ponder over the international break.
AS IT HAPPENED
WHAT IT MEANS
This defeat means we slip down to 16th in the table after three games of the Premier League season.
We head into the international break now – before hosting Bournemouth at Emirates Stadium in our next fixture, on Saturday, September 9.
Alexis made his much-anticipated return to the Arsenal team after recovering from an abdominal injury.
Here’s how the Chilean was involved at Anfield:
8 - Ramsey wins the ball and bursts upfield, before Alexis takes possession and slips a good ball into the area for Welbeck, who lifts his shot over the bar
24 - Alexis stands over a free kick on the left touchline and whips in a threatening cross that tests Karius, who manages to punch clear
34 - The ball is played into Alexis in the box, and he finds space and curls it into the bottom corner… but he is flagged for offside
43 - Alexis cuts in from the left and plays a neat ball into Monreal in the area, who goes down under a tackle from Gomez… there are shouts for a penalty but the referee waves play on
62 - Alexis is replaced by Olivier Giroud
Referee: Craig Pawson
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