Liverpool FC: Even After Beating Arsenal, Disappointment Lingers for the Reds

Joe ChauhanContributor IAugust 20, 2011

As if Arsenal being at half strength wasn't already a sizable advantage, Liverpool needed more misfortune to strike the Gunners before profiting.

With an early injury to Laurent Koscielny, it looked as though Liverpool would certainly terrorize Arsenal's already-weakened back line.

However, it took an own goal in the 80th minute with Arsenal down to 10 men before Liverpool finally got on the score sheet.

With Carl Jenkinson starting at RB, fellow 19-year-old Ignasi Miquel replacing Koscielny at CB and Bacary Sagna out-positioned at LB, the only constant was Thomas Vermaelen. With all the Gunners' misfortune, it still took an own goal in the 80th minute for the Reds to capitalize.

A win's a win, but Liverpool's performance was far from impressive.

A big disappointment was in midfield, as the movement and passing were nothing to be proud of.

Where were the diagonal runs? Where were the quick one's and two's? Where were the dissecting through balls?

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For a majority of the match, Liverpool's midfield looked indecisive in attack. The link-up play was like something out of a training session; someone would run to the ball, shield the defender and pass it back.

It wasn't until Emmanuel Frimpong was sent off, and Luis Suarez and Raul Meireles came on that they displayed any sort of real menace going forward. 

Fortunately, there were a few bright spots in Liverpool's lackluster display at the Emirates.

Lucas Leiva played brilliantly, especially in the first half, making superb tackles at the most critical moments. But his counterpart, Charlie Adam, struggled throughout the match. He lost possession several times, and really failed to make his mark with any incisive passes and on set-pieces.

Another silver lining in the dark cloud was the play of Jose Enrique and Martin Kelly. They were phenomenal down the flanks today. Both were sound defensively, completely taking Theo Walcott and Andrei Arshavin out of the equation, and were good going forward. They also added a bit of volatility to the attack, something I can't say about the midfield.

One final, major improvement the Reds displayed was on set-piece defense. They were outstanding, winning the majority of headers in the box.

On the other hand, Liverpool looked atrocious on their own set-pieces.

It left me wondering, "Why is their 6'3'' striker, Andy Carroll, standing 12 yards out on corners?" You'd think he'd be right in the thick of things inside the six-yard box. I don't know how swinging the ball into Carroll 12 yards out and having him head the ball down to a teammate can be considered threatening to any defense.

Liverpool should have been far more menacing on corners with Arsenal's back line in shambles, but instead they looked the opposite.

You'd think the first victory at the Emirates in 11 years would be much more uplifting for Liverpool supporters, but I'm left with more uncertainty. Let's hope the Reds can recreate some of that magic Suarez and Meireles showed with their little time on the pitch.

If not, it could be a very long and frustrating season for Kenny Dalglish's club.