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Liverpool! v Arsenal: a clash of two cultures, two approaches, two visions, one exclamation mark.

By Bulldog Drummond

For most members of the aaa I imagine that Liverpool is their ideal club.  They change managers quite regularly, and they buy, buy and buy again, player after player after player.

Since they last won the league in 1990 they have had seven managers.  Since that last league win in 1990, they have spent somewhere close to £1 billion (Transfer League figures don’t go back that far, but extrapolating from the figures available it is getting on that way) and brought in a little over half a billion pounds in sales.

So seven managers and a nett spend of something like £500,000,000.   And of course in these last 25 years since they won the league they have won the cup three times, the league cup three times, the Champions League, and the super cup, and indeed did the cup treble of the league cup, FA Cup and the Uefa cup all in one season.  Quite a lot really.

But then, since the aaa tell us that the League is all that counts, maybe Liverpool! won’t be their favourite club, despite using the aaa’s methodology – which is a bit confusing.

Still the aaa can point to the fact that Arsenal have not won at Liverpool! since 2012 and although Liverpoo! fans don’t care too much for Andrey Arshavin’s foursome they do like to talk about beating us 5-1 when we were top of the league.

Mr Wenger is of course very aware of the way Liverpool! follows the aaa dictum of sacking the manager and buying more and more and more players, and he had a bit of fun in his latest press conference saying, ‘It’s always a ferocious battle, no matter who the manager is.’

“No matter who the manager is.”  Nice one.

And I think it is fair to say that there is respect between the managers.  Klopp said recently for example, “Arsenal and Arsène have their own style, it’s possession football, so it’s clear that if we want to play the same way we will be without a chance because they’ve been doing it for longer.  Arsenal are not only a good possession team, that’s the problem, they have good counter-attacks too and that’s what you have to be aware of.

“Absolutely my respect goes up day by day because it is really intensive working in the Premier League.   He always had my biggest respect but it’s bigger since I was here. He has done a brilliant job. He is a high-quality manager – one of the best in the world. It’s a challenge to play against him.”

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So that’s knocked Klopp out of the list of managers that the aaa would like to have at Arsenal instead of Mr W.

Meanwhile at least we can play against a team with the frantic “injury crisis” headlines of the journos who scribble their columns while in the pub for a quick one, directed not against us but against the opposition:

1 Liverpool! 11
2 Newcastle United 10
3 Everton 8
4 Manchester City 7
5 Arsenal 6
6 Chelsea 6
7 Manchester United 6

Figures as always from Physioroom.

However I think Liverpool! is cheating by having some players have two injuries, but only being counted once on the table.  Divock Origi for example has just undergone knee surgery but was already out with a hamstring.  That isn’t playing the game in my view.

Sturridge, Coutinho and Ings are out, but as Arsenal has proven, injuries need not be a reason for failure.  We’ve had the press screaming about our injuries for months, and we’ve still managed to do ok, so maybe Klopp will follow the Arsenal approach of having decent backup and faith in his reserves.

So, we’ve won seven of their last eight matches in all competitions, with that Boxing Day match the only blot on the landscape. And we managed to rest various players for the saunter in the pouring rain against Sunderland.   And again we’ve now got this year’s discovery in Campbell, to match last year’s finding of Bellerin, and the long-awaited (by Untold at least) deliverance of Coquelin.

Meanwhile Mr Wenger has been playing his elder statesman role.  Commenting on what Klopp has been saying about the fixture list he said, ‘You get that from everybody who comes to England at the start because you have to adapt.  I was like that. And I’m still in favour of a winter break, but without losing the traditions of English football. In January, not at Christmas.

‘But we go a bit overboard, because now the English clubs are in a financial situation to have a squad of 25 top-level players. It’s not like 25 years ago. We cannot complain too much. We can rotate. It’s not like we have 13 players who play every game.

‘The Germans are more surprised as they have a good winter break. There are only 18 clubs (in the Bundesliga) so that is four games less, and they have no League Cup, so that is a few games less as well. The fixtures are much easier.’

He might also add that whereas in the UK we speak of death and taxes being the only certainties in life, in Germany the fact that Bayern will win the league is the third certainty.

Summing it all the manager added, “In December and now in January we have been consistent and we go into a very important part of the season because we play many games and that consistency is a good basis to go into the next game with the right belief.

“The consistency of our results is very important.”

So looking at the league we find…

Away from home then, we’ve won six, drawn one, lost three.  At home Liverpool! have won four drawn three and lost two.   The goal difference is interesting too.  We’ve got +6 away while Liverpool are evens at home.

But looking into history, this is where offering Liverpool! as a team for the aaa to support instead of Arsenal comes a bit unstuck because I am not sure the aaa would welcome Liverpool’s! league positions over the years…

1998–99 7th
1999–2000 4th
2000–01 3rd
2001–02 2nd
2002–03 5th
2003–04 4th
2004–05 5th
2005–06 3rd
2006–07 3rd
2007–08 4th
2008–09 2nd
2009–10 7th
2010–11 6th
2011–12 8th
2012–13 7th
2013–14 2nd
2014–15 6th

And all that without building a stadium (although upgrading is now under way).

However back to the present and we see these results for Liverpool!

January 2016

Competition Fixture Date
FA Cup – Third Round Exeter 2-2 Liverpool! Fri 8 Jan
League Cup – Semi-Final. Stoke 0-1 Liverpool! Tue 5 Jan
Premier League West Ham 2-0 Liverpool!   Sat 2 Jan

December 2015 (I’ve just broken the exclamation mark button so we’ll have to use the club’s abbreviated name from now on).

Competition Fixture Date
Premier League Sunderland 0-1 Liverpool Wed 30 Dec
Premier League Liverpool 1-0 Leicester Sat 26 Dec
Premier League Watford 3-0 Liverpool Sun 20 Dec
Premier League Liverpool 2-2 West Brom Sun 13 Dec
Europa League FC Sion 0-0 Liverpool Thu 10 Dec
Premier League Newcastle 2-0 Liverpool Sun 6 Dec
League Cup – Quarterfinal Southampton 1-6 Liverpool Wed 2 Dec

Thinking about the teams, Arsène Wenger has  gone out of his way to praise Joel Campbell’s recent performances.  Mr Wenger has spoken of how he has changed since Olympiakos speaking of him having more confidence and authority.

“I thought always the attitude was there,” Mr Wenger added, “But after Olympiakos, in a game where we were like that, knife on the throat, he turned up with something special. Great team work and a pass for Giroud on a second goal that was massive for us. Then I thought ‘he can play under pressure as well, what is important for us’.

“You want to be surprised by the quality of your players and where he surprises you is in the intensity of this teamwork. What is very interesting in Campbell’s case is that he looks like he has gained more confidence and authority in his game and in the final third he is a dangerous player and he has shown that. When you look at the player and the number of goals he scores and the number of assists, on that front you must say he has been very positive and he works hard for the team.”

I wonder if we are also now seeing a growth in the playing side of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as he takes on a more central position, although of course the mighty Ozil will be back tonight.

What we do know is that Alexis Sanchez is not going to play.  He should be back at the weekend.

A Mr Lawrenson of the BBC who is completely unbiased in these matters said, “I think Liverpool are better against teams who let them play a little bit, which is what Arsenal will do….  I am going for another draw here, which will suit Arsenal. They just keep on rolling along, picking up points and that is all they need to do.”.

So to the funny old stats…
  • We have only lost two of the last 17 Premier League matches against Liverpool.
  • But nine of those have been drawn.
  • In the last nine games against them at Anfield there has been a total of 35.  My maths teacher says that is nearly four a game!

[Hey Tony, the exclamation button does work.  Why did you tell me it was broken?

Liverpool! is amusing, and highly representative of how many people in the media think of the club, but I was getting bored – Tony]

Moving on

  • Jurgen Klopp has won five games in 12 at Liverpool scoring 14 goals.
  • Liverpool have scored two in their last four.
  • Liverpool have scored 22 goals in their 20 league games this season, apparently their lowest by this part of a Premier League season.
  • They have won five games 1-0 this season.

Looking for worrying trends for Arsenal, just to keep the aaa happy…

  • We have only won one of the last four away fixtures.

And… that’s about it.  On the positive side…

  • Arsenal have scored the first goal of the game on 14 occasions, more often than any other team in the Premier League.
  • The wonderful Mesut Ozil has either scored or assisted 16 of Arsenal’s last 24 league goals (three goals, 13 assists).

Thus the team…


Bellerin Mert Kos Monreal

Flamini Ramsey

Walcott Ozil Campbell


Lazing on the beach in the Merseyside mud: Ospina, Oxlade-Chamberlain,  Gibbs, Gabriel, Chambers, Iwobi, Reine-Adelaide.

And that I think is more or less that.  Time to pack the beachbag and swimming costume and head north.

Two more anniversaries – more on the home page

  • 13 January 1926: Final match for Harry Woods – the holder of the world record transfer fee for a short while.  He finished as the club’s top goalscorer in 1923-24 with ten, and scored 12 in 1924/5 but was then replaced by Jimmy Brain as the key goal scorer.
  • 13 January 1934: Joe Shaw’s first game as manager following death of Herbert Chapman.  Luton 0 Arsenal 1 (FA Cup 3).  He went on to win the league for the club before returning to his duties as reserve team coach.  Dunne scored the goal with 18,641 in the crowd.

New from the history society

Arsenal in the 70s: July to Dec 1975. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse…

64 comments to Liverpool! v Arsenal: a clash of two cultures, two approaches, two visions, one exclamation mark.

  • Proud1

    Just wondering when you last won the Champions League/ European Cup?

  • Pete

    Per previous thread, the weather forecast up there is atrocious this evening. A lot of mud for the Liverpool gegenpressers to run through?

  • colario

    Over the years of listening to interviews given by Arsene I have noticed (as you I have here) Arsene as the ability to verbally ‘poke out’ his tongue so to speak and make a comment that seems normal and positive yet laughs at someone or points out the error of their way with out seeming to criticise. You have to be quick to realise what he has actually said at the time.

    COYG Let’s hope Klopp is a flop tonight.

  • Gord

    OT: Strange Betting and the Weather

    Google News has a few sources of stories on the odds of new Liverpud Caulker pulling his hamstring in the game tonight. If I was to pick the weather most likely for this, I would pick cold and wet. Pete has responded by arranging for it to be cold and wet in Liverpud-land. One place was offering 10:1, I have no idea if that is good or bad.

    Any other strange bets happening?

    Jones is from Cheshire, which is a heck of a lot closer to Anfield than it is to Emirates Stadium. The 4th official (Robert Madley) is from West Yorkshire, which is closer to being equidistant.

    So, I am going to wish for either a meteor, large ice ball or lightning to smite Jones slightly before kickoff, in the hope of getting a better chance at fair officiating. I wonder if I can get 10:1 on that? 🙂


  • godge

    Arteta and Rosicky on the bench maybe?

  • Gord

    OT: Moss and Cheshire

    I started Google Maps to look at that Cheshire to Anfield business. The Cheshire FA is just off Firdale Road, next to something called the Moss Farm Leisure Complex on Moss Lane in Northwich. I think the Moss family has a long history with the Cheshire region.

    Zooming out from Cheshire FA, at the point where Liverpool becomes visible, so does Manchester. It looks like Liverpool, Manchester and Northwich form an equilateral triangle.

    Zoom out a few more steps, and finally the region around Birmingham appears, as does Isle of Man.

    One more step of zooming out, and I can see London. As well as most of Ireland.

    How to best assign referees?


  • Tai

    Great stuff Bulldog…

    All through this season, Arsenal has always turned up for the big matches…never mind the Mike Dean-inspired horror at Stamford Bridge.

    Our boys should never listen to this injury-ravaged stories…Liverpool will be very tough tonight, whoever they line out. If I had my chance, I’d advise we adopt the patient style we did at Olympiacos…same squad, same approach and we grab the three points.


  • Pete

    Gord – Jones is from Chester. A part of Cheshire almost a suburb of Liverpool (I exaggerate slightly…).

  • proudkev


    I just had to laugh as I took my usual ‘glance over the shoulder’ at the WOBsite.

    Apparently our league position flatters us because we have had an easy fixture list! It’s funny how beating Manchester City, Manchester United and Leicester away become conveniently ignored. Also funny that they fail to mention how this easy fixture list resulted in us accumulating more points and conceding fewer goals then any other team in the whole of 2015. I suppose it’s that ‘easy’ fixture list again over those 56 league games!! I am sure a child age 5 can work out those maths don’t add up.

    I’m sorry but these clowns just have to be on a massive wind up, nobody can be that stupid. I’m starting to wonder whether that blog is just a bunch of Chelsea and Spurs fans having a laugh at our expense.

  • proudkev

    What did I say about the North West referees and them being appointed to home town games.

    Mike Jones is from Chester, 18 miles South of Liverpool. JOKE.

    I am not saying he is going to be biased, he could be an Everton fan BUT for heavens sake why have PGMOL picked a referee from Chester? He has the local influence and has to deal with any repercussions if he makes a bad call for Liverpoool.

    Why are we always on the end of this? We had Manchesters Anthony Taylor for our game with Manchester United earlier in the season.

    I warned about this.

  • Proud 1, I think your comment illustrates the profound difference between Arsenal fans and many Liverpool! fans. The author of the article carefully listed all the trophies won by Liverpool! in the period covered, something that obviously took a few moments of research to do. And yet you were not able to look up the details of your enquiry. The answer to your question must be somewhere on Google, and perhaps you would search it out there. I really don’t think you should expect us to do your research for you.

  • Gord


    Seeing as I am writing something on this topic, I am going to be pedantic. I wrote that he was from Cheshire, because if I look up Jones at either Wikipedia or, it says his home county is Cheshire FA.

    Obviously, nobody wants the street addresses of referee to become common knowledge, so that every hooligan can pay them a visit.

    How should I have referred to Jones and Cheshire?

    I need to be correct about this, as how this is specifically worded probably effects how accurate the article will be.

    On the subject of articles. This is going to have graphics in it, as the use of colour is being explored to help present information. How big should the graphics be? We have desktop and mobile people. What format? If it makes a difference, I am making them in SVG.

    Oh, for the 60th day now, Elneny is close to finalizing his transfer to Arsenal. The news for tomorrow? Elneny is close to finalizing his transfer to Arsenal. The news for the day before the transfer window closes? Elneny is close to finalizing his transfer to Arsenal. And Aubameyang has been transferred to the Moon.

    And I still hope Arsenal do well today!


  • serge

    “I just had to laugh as I took my usual ‘glance over the shoulder’ at the WOBsite”

    For the benefit of the not so smart, what is the WOBsite?

  • JohnW

    Yeah, just give me 1-0 to the Arsenal, score in the first minute and defend it. So much fun, eeh?!

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    I will advice our dear Gunners to guide against falling prey to the high pressing game of the Reds side as per their traditional way of playing. But to resolutely defend in their numbers against any counter attacks by the Reds and not concede any goal to them whatever.

    Once bitten twice shy. The Gunners should by now be accustomed to playing under the harsh condition of any prevailing weather. And not to tender the excuse of a bad weather night at Anfield for not collecting all the 3 points that will be at stake in this game.

    A high pressing game against the Gunners at Hillsborough and at Saints Mary’s have seen the Gunners succumbed to the Owls and the Saints so far this season in a Capital One Cup game and in a Barclays Premier League game encounters respectively.

    We are all under the thought that the Red might play a high pressing game against the Gunners in this Premier League encounter tonight as per the preferred heavy metal brand of football game of Jurgen Klopp.

    Therefore, the Gunners MUST guide against being forced to committing errors like 1 and 2nd bookable offences. And not scoring an own goal against themselves or give away any penalty during the course of playing the match.

    The Gunners SHOULD stick to their classical method of playing and be discipline in their defending organization to timely arrest any dangerous incursion by the Reds into their final 3rd.

    If the Gunners adhereded to discipline in their game this night at Anfield, despite the envisaged high pressing game by the Reds and the likely poor weather. I see no reason why the Gunners will not soundly beat the Reds by 0-3 goals tonight at Anfield before the very eyes of their partisan home supporters.

    I refuse to buy that BBC Lawro’s 1-1 draw predicted final score-line tonight in this game. Arsenal MUST not drop any point to the Reds only for our title rivals to pick it up and add to their own points tally at our own expense. But the Gunners MUST win this match to consolidate their sitting on top of table.

  • Dazza64

    Proud 1- Pride before a fall!!

  • James

    I came across this today in 442. A fascinating read over dinner before the match kicks off later. I was twelve at the time…

  • Menace

    Well it going to be persisting down at 4C so it is ideal for muscle pulls if not warmed up. Chances are that ‘somebody going to get hurt real bad’ (punch line of Canadian comic Peters).

    Gord – the distance of Riley to the Ems versus to any northern club will be sufficient to judge his evil cheating heart.

    Looking forward to Wenger clippity Klopping Rileys feathers.

  • Rich


    In fairness, they do seem quite reluctant to give him Liverpool games . This’ll just be the fourth since start of 2012-13.

    Last time they did wasn’t too pretty mind- two dodgy handball pens against Leicester at the start of 2015.

    Just our bad luck to get the local ref, I guess, like it was with Taylor, like it was when Mason was given an Arsenal game right after his time in Siberia which was punishment for allegedly screwing up in an Arsenal game.

    We should probably tape the players arms to their sides for tonight just to be on the safe side tho.

    Just want a good game with no bullshit tonight, like always. Win or lose i can always handle it as long as there’s no bullshit.

  • Team as predicted I think

  • Josif

    -Arsenal have lost just once at Anfield in the last eight league matches (for Liverpool fans who read this: I didn’t take a Champions’ League defeat because even if it is called “League”, it’s not the same thing as “Premier League”). We have won three times (2009-10, 2011-12, 2012-13).

    -Ramsey and Walcott didn’t play in that 5:1 defeat.

    -Martin Škrtel scored three goals in the last two Anfield clashes but won’t play tonight. None of their goal-scorers from 5:1 match will feature tonight while Mikel Arteta is on the bench for us. In fact, Philippe Coutinho is also out which means Laurent Koscielny will be the only player on the pitch tonight who has scored a goal for Liverpool against Arsenal at Anfield (2011-12).

    -Simon Mignolet had more clean sheets in Premier League in 2015 than any other goalkeeper but Petr Čech has had more clean sheets in Premier League than any other goalkeeper ever.

    -Four Arshavin’s goals in 2008-09 were worth of just a single point. But there was fifth Arshavin’s goal at Anfield that nobody mentions, the one that was worth of our 2:1 victory in 2009-10.

  • Watching BT Sprout it is interesting that poor Liverpool “have to cope with so many injuries” while injuries at Arsenal are always Arsenal’s fault.

    Funny that.

  • Josif


    Maybe Liverpool injuries are also Arsenal’s fault?

  • Tai

    Off we go on one of our ‘most difficult’ games tonight. ‘Pundits’ have it that reason we won’t win this title is because most of our big matches will happen outside the Emirates this second round.

    Hope the officials are not on same wavelength.

    Once the boys put in what is expected we’ll grab all the points. Not settling for one point either.


  • ARSENAL 13

    Rambo yyyeeeaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrr..

    Come on…

  • Serge

    What a superb pass from Campbell and terrific finish by Rambo

  • ARSENAL 13

    What the ….

  • Josif

    So far we are second best at pretty much everything.

    Kudos for Campbell’s perfect first touch and pass for Rambo’s finish though.

  • ARSENAL 13


    Come on.

  • Josif


  • Serge

    This is going to be some game. Pool dominating possession but we are getting back into it

  • ARSENAL 13

    20 mins in and they are already looking tired….

  • Serge

    We’re playing much, much better now

  • SidBish

    Any danger of Campbell doing some defending ?

  • Serge

    And Campbell is the key

  • ARSENAL 13

    Wow!!!… Now push from back is alright. Its a drop ball.!!!!

  • SidBish

    Campbell and Walcott are poor so far, Campbell’s one pass for 1st goal aside …… both teams have forgotten how to defend

  • Menace

    Difficult game when the PGMO bod is a local who ignores fouls on Arsenal players & keeps evading clear penalty decisions.

  • Gord

    Likes/Dislikes aren’t working for me: SidBish -2


    Pete, I’m sorry for asking for feedback.

  • John

    How poor do we look when teams press us all over the park.Tactically we are all over the place.Just hope liverpool cant keep this up in the second half.Menace can you post anything without blaming the referee?

  • ARSENAL 13

    Campbell…. Almost.

  • Mick

    Are you sure you are watching the same game, Campbell is superb. Two sublime passes Ozil would have been proud of.

  • ARSENAL 13


  • ARSENAL 13

    Come on ARSENAL
    Come on ARSENAL
    Come on ARSENAL

  • ARSENAL 13


    Come on.

  • Serge

    What a fantastic goal from back to front

  • ARSENAL 13

    What a touch to make space for a shot.

    Thats a gorgeous goal from Giroud.

  • John

    Great play and a good finish from giroud!!

  • Serge

    Hope I don’t regret saying this, but Mike Jones is having a good game

  • ARSENAL 13


    Good work rate.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Is it snowing!!!

  • ARSENAL 13

    I don’t like this ….weather please. Not now.

  • Serge

    We must stop gifting the ball to Liverpool

  • ARSENAL 13

    Offside!!… No!!!!!

  • ARSENAL 13

    Oh that touch from Ozil….Ozgasm.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Leicester have scored…!!

  • ARSENAL 13

    Another good game Ozil.

  • ARSENAL 13


  • serge

    Great game in shocking conditions and a fair result

  • ARSENAL 13

    46 more points….

  • Menace

    Not a bad result all things considered. A set of selectively blind officials letting Liverpool get a point.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Match report is on line

  • Strus

    Fantasic moments in offence. Liverpool defenders where there and were helpless!!!

    But what about the defence? Where was Mertesacker/Koscielny when Firmino scored that 2nd goal? Who were they marking? Thin air??
    Calamitious positioning after a cormer cost us the 1st goal.
    No tracking back was the main reason Arsenal did not won this match at the end. What a pity 🙁
    So many good displays, but Walcott and Ozil were below par. So few good balls and so many turnovers.
    Thank God MC has drawn against Everton and it is even better now than before that set od fixtures.

  • serge

    On reflection I thought that Jones had a decent game, but could/should have given Clyne a second yellow for his wild kick on Campbell.