For David Luiz, this was an introduction to Arsenal and their infamous defensive fragility. For Arsenal, this was an introduction to David Luiz and his infamous defensive fragility. The very thing that Arsenal feared when they signed Luiz from Chelsea came to pass in only his second game as Unai Emery’s side were once again ripped apart by a Liverpool team that seemingly enjoys nothing more than pummelling their visitors from north London.
Make that 15 goals scored by Jurgen Klopp’s team in Arsenal’s last four trips to Anfield. A new season brought new faces and a new threat from Unai Emery’s side, but the same old problems were exposed by the same old faces in red. Chief among them was Mohamed Salah, providing Luiz with a very personal torment in a thrilling second half performance that reminded the league just how hard it will be to stop Liverpool this season.
When Luiz swapped Chelsea blue for Arsenal red, he would not have imagined spending his second match trailing after a motoring Salah, watching the Liverpool winger disappear further and further into the distance. Neither would he have envisaged being so careless as to pull Salah’s shirt and award the Egyptian the most foolish of penalties in the crucial moments after half-time.
This, it is safe to say, is not what Luiz was signed for. Where was the defensive leadership, the organisation, the calmness? Frankly, it was all at the other end of the field, where Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk were occasionally ruffled by Arsenal’s attackers but ultimately sturdy under pressure. For all the talk of the opposing strikeforces before the match, it was the defenders who made the difference at Anfield, for good and for bad.
Liverpool go top, then, and they do so with another humbling of a ‘big six’ opponent.