Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has been left red-faced after Liverpool ’s emphatic defeat of the Gunners on Saturday.
Jurgen Klopp ’s side were utterly dominant at the Emirates, as the hosts struggled to trouble Allison in the Liverpool goal.
Though it took Diogo Jota coming off the bench for the Reds to open the scoring, Arsenal were abject as they continue to struggle for consistency.
Before the game, Keown had said that Arsenal would find success by targeting Liverpool’s right-hand side, with Trent Alexander-Arnold struggling for form.
But instead of playing poorly, Alexander-Arnold was one of Liverpool’s best players, sending in an inch-perfect cross for Jota to open the scoring and having a hand in his side’s other two goals.
The right-back’s uncharacteristic displays this term had seen him left out of Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad.
And it was that exclusion that led to Keown to encourage Mikel Arteta to construct a game-plan cantered around targeting Alexander-Arnold.
“If you delve into the statistics, it’s interesting that only one of the nine Premier League teams to have beaten Liverpool this season attacked Jurgen Klopp’s left-hand side more than they did his right,” he said in a column for the Daily Mail.
“The other eight had a specific plan, targeting Liverpool’s right side which has lately consisted of three immensely talented players — Trent Alexander-Arnold, Thiago Alcantara and Mohamed Salah.
“I was baffled by Alexander-Arnold’s omission from the latest England squad. His forays into the final third leaves spaces behind but it has been the failure of Liverpool to not provide cover.”
As a result Keown saw Liverpool’s right side as an area of weakeness for Arsenal to exploit.
“Arsenal are strong down their left-hand side — as Tottenham discovered last month,” he wrote.
“Emile Smith Rowe was also under orders to dart into the space behind the full back. He repeatedly made this same run, and it left Spurs right back Matt Doherty unsure who to pick up.
“Arteta has clearly been working hard with his players on these purposeful movements, and he will want his left-hand side to test Liverpool. That will be a key tactical battle.”
But it was a tactical battle that Arsenal lost, with the Gunners overwhelmed for much of the game and Liverpool taking home a deserved three points – in large part thanks to Alexander-Arnold.