Petr Cech says Philippe Coutinho’s equaliser on the stroke of half-time had a huge impact on Arsenal’s opening-day defeat to Liverpool.
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The Gunners were leading through Theo Walcott’s strike heading into the break, before a fine free-kick from the Brazilian in first-half injury time levelled matters.
“I thought for the first 45 minutes we were excellent,” Cech said. “We played well, we got a goal, we had opportunities and we missed a penalty, but the reaction was great because we scored two minutes later. It was a perfect start for us.
“The moment shifted when they got an equaliser in the last minute of the first half. I thought if we concentrated and continued to play well we were going to win the game but, within a 15-minute spell, they scored three and decided the game.
“We started much slower in the second half. Once they got to 2-1 up, the game changed because they could wait to counter-attack and this is where they damaged us.
“We had a great reaction to come back into the game at 4-3, but we didn’t have enough time to equalise.”
Despite the defeat, Cech was impressed with the maturity that Calum Chambers and debutant Rob Holding showed at the back.
“I thought they did really well,” he said. “When you concede four goals then obviously you cannot be happy as a team because you should not concede four goals at home, but I thought it was a really good experience for them.”