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Arsène Wenger hits out at ‘disastrous’ showing in defeat against Liverpool

Arsène Wenger labelled Arsenal’s performance against Liverpool “absolutely disastrous” and “unacceptable” after his side endured another abject defeat at Anfield.

Liverpool humiliated Wenger’s team 4-0 with goals from Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané, Mohamed Salah and the substitute Daniel Sturridge – and could have scored more in a one‑sided contest. Arsenal have now conceded 17 goals in their past five visits to Anfield and have lost two of their opening three league games for only the third time in 26 seasons.

The uncertainty over Wenger’s future is no longer an excuse for Arsenal’s repeated failures against the Premier League’s leading teams, with the manager having signed a new two-year contract, and he did not spare his players in a damning assessment of their efforts.

Asked what went wrong at Anfield, the Arsenal manager replied: “Everything. From the first minute to the last minute we were not at the level requested for such a game. Not physically, not technically, not mentally and we were punished. That’s basically it. Of course, you can analyse the chances we gave away, but I just think overall the performance was not at the requested level.

Wenger’s post-match press conference lasted only two minutes and 10 seconds before he left the media room at Anfield but he also said: “The result is a consequence of our performance. We were not good enough. We were beaten everywhere physically, in the end I believe we made it easier for them, and the mistakes gave them a cushion.

“It was shocking [conceding a second before half-time] but our performance was absolutely disastrous. Not to become too emotional, we have to take some distance, and there are some reasons behind it, and the players now go on their international break, but we do have to take the consequences of our performance today. If you find a manager who is happy with that performance today, I wish you good luck. The emotions are negative, but it’s not the right moment to talk about that.”

Wenger was booed by sections of the away support when he stepped into his technical area for the first time in the second half. On the hostile reception he said: “I don’t want to answer that. That’s part of the crowd’s feelings. If I am the problem, I am sorry, but I believe all together we lose. The only thing we can do is come back and give them a better level of performance.”

For Jürgen Klopp, however, victory provided another demonstration of Liverpool’s improvement on a game-by-game basis this season, and of their formidable attacking threat.

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“So far this season we learn from each performance, each game we played different things,” the manager said. “Watford was not as bad as people say. We were close to winning there, but we defended the last few minutes too deep. We did this well against Hoffenheim away and then built on it against Crystal Palace. We played an outstanding game against Hoffenheim and today we did the next step because we did it again.

“We need to learn we can do things like this every three or four days. We wanted to show it today and prove to ourselves and be spot on from the first second. We wanted to show our ambitions against a very strong side. The performance was perfect and the result was the result of the performance.”

Klopp confirmed he expects Liverpool to be busy in the final days of the transfer window, with the Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk still a target despite Southampton’s refusal to sell him. As for outgoings, Divock Origi could be a late departure while Palace and West Bromwich Albion want to sign Mamadou Sakho. The manager said: “We will see what happens. If players come in, it makes sense we think about what happens on the other side. If Divock is involved, we will see.”


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