Gunners coast to 2-0 victory
LIVERPOOL - Agence France-Presse
Arsenal’s striker Lukas Podolski celebrates after scoring against Liverpool during their English Premier League football match at Anfield Stadium, Liverpool yesterday. Arsenal won the game 2-0. AP photoTurkish international midfielder Nuri Şahin failed to impress in his Liverpool debut yesterday as Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla ended Arsenal’s barren start to the Premier League season in an impressive 2-0 victory that condemned the host team to its worst start in 50 years.
One point from the opening three games under new manager Brendan Rodgers represents the worst opening to a league campaign since 1962-63 for a Liverpool team that was not helped by a mistake by goalkeeper Pepe Reina which gifted Cazorla his goal.
The manner of the defeat, against an Arsenal team that had failed to score in the first two matches of the new season, was particularly disappointing given Rodgers’ failure to sign a new forward before the transfer window closed.
With England center-forward Andy Carroll having been allowed to join West Ham on loan, Rodgers had expected to sign Fulham’s Clint Dempsey as his replacement.
But Tottenham signed the American instead and that failure, plus the evidence of their opening three games, suggests this will be a trying season for the Merseyside club.
Şahin, who will spend the rest of the season campaign at Anfield on a loan deal, was substituted in the 67th minute against the team he could have been playing for.
Arsenal was initially thought to be favorite to secure the services of Şahin and was in advanced negotiations, but interest from manager Arsene Wenger reportedly cooled, allowing Liverpool to capture the Turkish international’s signature.
Arsenal’s first league goal in 211 minutes of the new campaign came in the 31st minute at Anfield and was a devastating example of the art of the counter-attack.
Podolski started the move inside his own half, taking a pass from his back line, and moving the ball on to Cazorla before starting a sprint into the Liverpool area. The German forward timed his run to perfection, arriving on the end of Cazorla’s angled pass to beat Reina from 12 yards.
In the 67th minute, Spain midfielder Cazorla played a short pass to Podolski before taking the return and scoring with a shot which passed straight through Reina.
“The sharpness gets better from game to game. Overall we looked solid,” Arsene Wenger said. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack at the start of the game but we had a convincing team performance.”
Liverpool coach Brendan Rodgers added: “I am disappointed with the score and the goals we conceded. We have things to work on, needing to keep the ball better and Arsenal did that well in the final period.”