The First Loss
Liverpool were brought crashing back down to earth today in their first defeat of the 2021/22 season, a 3-2 loss against Arsenal.
The Gunners, the only club in the history of the Premier League to finish a season undefeated, ended their opponents' Invincible dreams through goals from Son Heung-Min and Lorenzo Insigne.
Liverpool dominated possession from start to finish and just 9 minutes following kickoff, Pavel Savitskiy netted his side's opener, only for South Korean forward Son to cancel it out soon after.
Savitskiy's second goal saw Liverpool take the lead again, but it was only for a minute as Arsenal once more found a response through Son who made it 2-2 before half-time.
A second yellow card for holding midfielder Lucas Romero in the 44th minute left Liverpool's defense wide open, but the opposing side were soon reduced to 10 men themselves when Bruno Zuculini earned himself an early shower for a nasty challenge on Philippe Coutinho.
However, in the end it was Arsenal skipper Insigne who found the winner, beating Jeronimo Rulli with a well-placed finish after being played into the box by Aaron Ramsey.
Wojciech Szczesny was tested time and time again, in particular by the excellent Coutinho and goal-hungry Richairo Zivkovic, but held firm to deny Liverpool apart from Savitskiy's impressive brace.
Not much can be said about Calum Chambers, who had an utterly miserable afternoon attempting to contain Savitskiy, but the rest of Arsenal's back four performed impeccably to restrict the opposing attackers as much as they could, in particular Aleksander Dragovic, who has transformed into his side's Mr Reliable over the years.
On the other end of the pitch, Samuel Umtiti had an uncharacteristically terrible game, as he struggled against a front two of Insigne and Son. Tonny Trindade de Vilhena, meanwhile, continued his burgeoning reputation, nicking one assist and doing a superb job of being an offensive menace.
Raheem Sterling, usually one of Liverpool's most creative threats, was so ineffective down the right that Brendan Rodgers made the decision to replace the England international with Mario Balotelli for the second half. Brazilian boy wonder Israel was also threw on shortly after Insigne's breakthrough, but a point could not be salvaged.
Skipper Lorenzo Insigne leads the celebrations as Arsenal inflicts Liverpool's first loss of the season
"I thought the lads played brilliantly," said match winner Insigne, after the game. "Liverpool are a very good team and they were hard to play against as usual but we fully deserved the win.
"We have a talented group of players here and we've proved that today. It's going to help us a lot in pushing for that Champions League spot. We're still not quite there yet, but if games like these keep happening, 4th place is a very achievable target."
Rodgers was naturally disappointed, although the Northern Irish boss still attempted to portray the result in a positive light in his post-match meeting with the media.
"It's obviously not a great result for us but I think there were many positives from today's game. We weren't very good defensively but there were some outstanding performances.
"We have many important fixtures coming up so it's vital to move on from this and perhaps ensure that this is the only loss we suffer for the entire season."
Liverpool contest the Merseyside derby against Everton next week. Other matches include a first leg Champions League First Round away at Internazionale, a Capital One Cup Final against Stoke City, as well as another two away games against Chelsea in the Premier League and the Fifth Round of the FA Cup.