In the 31st minute, White finds himself cautioned for lingering too long over a free-kick. It seems more a case of indecision than intentional time-wasting, yet Anthony Taylor remains unyielding. Allow us a sneak peek into Mikel Arteta’s internal musings, won’t you?
Moving swiftly to David Raya, who, during the initial half-hour of the Manchester City match this season, displayed palpable nerves. Today, however, he exudes a command and calm reminiscent of David Seaman at his pinnacle. In the 30th minute, Arsenal is handed a golden opportunity to outmaneuver Liverpool. We’ve witnessed numerous instances this season where Liverpool floundered in the first half, only to become increasingly unstoppable in the latter.
In the 29th minute, Alexander-Arnold’s outswinging delivery is met by Van Dijk, heading it over under pressure near the penalty spot. I’d assign that a mere 0.06 on the antiquated xG scale.
The Sky Sports xG, distinct as it is everywhere (since it’s not gospel), stands at Arsenal 1.63-0.04 Liverpool in the 28th minute.
In the 27th minute, Liverpool appears as a squad bereft of four key players from their optimal starting lineup. Nevertheless, a stellar cross from Alexander-Arnold, hitherto unnoticed, nearly finds Gakpo eight yards out. Gabriel stretches ahead, inadvertently volleying the ball into Raya’s waiting arms.
“Happy Sunday!” exclaims Michael Weller in the 26th minute. “My hopes for this season? Everton avoiding relegation to the National League, and anyone but Pep and Oil City lifting the trophy at the end – even Klopp and the Reds (I’ve long given up on the Toffees challenging Liverpool). The prospects for the first are dimming daily. What are your musings on the latter?”
In the 24th minute, Diaz infiltrates the area from the left, attempting a shot blocked by White.
“At last,” quips Justin Kavanagh in the 22nd minute, “a Premier League away strip worthy of admiration, not loud enough to induce headaches while watching. Though, as a nod to Jürgen Klopp’s heavy metal football, a deep purple might have been fitting.