Wednesday Night Takeaways: Klopp has cause for celebration and Leicester go joint top
Arsenal and Liverpool played out a six goal thriller while three Irish players were on target23:00 Wednesday 13 January 2016, 23:00 13 Jan 2016
There was no shortage of goals in the Premier League on Wednesday night as Liverpool and Arsenal played out a six goal thriller.
With seven games taking place, there was no shortage of talking points either as sides at the top and bottom of the table were in action.
Liverpool come back from the dead
Klopp had a trademark enthusiastic celebration when Joe Allen slotted in a 90th minute winner, but he'll have a lot to worry about when it comes to the backline. Conceding three goals at home is a cause for concern, but it will be the nature of some of their defending that might well leave him with a few sleepless nights.
While Liverpool struck first through Robert Firmino, Arsenal responded brilliantly and went back up the other end to grab the goal that levelled things. Speaking after the match, Klopp noted that his side where perhaps disctracted by Olivier Giroud lying prone on the ground, but Aaron Ramsey was alert and latched onto a lovely ball from Joel Campbell.
Image: Jon Super / AP/Press Association Images
Firmino, who put in one of his best performances to date for the Anfield side, rocketed Liverpool back in front with a stunning shot that curled into the top corner of Petr Cech's goal. Arsenal struck back again, however, as Giroud beat Simon Mignolet at his near post from a corner, moments after Mamadou Sakho was forced to clear off the line.
The second half featured even more goals, with Giroud once again finding the back of the net ten minutes into the second half. The Frenchman had a great game, but was disappointed by the fact that his side didn't come out on top on the night.
Olivier Giroud game by numbers vs Liverpool: 5 shots 3 tackles won 2 aerial duels won 2 goals All-action display. pic.twitter.com/Zz0FOKlgBU— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 13, 2016
Allen's late goal would have been a mere consolation if Arsenal had put away all the chances they created, or, more accurately, were given by a Liverpool defence that was in a generous mood.
Giroud was unlucky not to have had a hat-trick when a ball hit him at the wrong angle and ended up bouncing across the goal off Mignolet, and, as Wenger noted in his post-match comments, "I thought we were guilty of one or two bad decisions in the final third [...] and we got caught with the long ball. It's always frustrating when it's 89 minutes and you get caught on such a simple ball, that should not happen and we have to look at ourselves".
Klopp believed his side deserved their draw, saying they played well for much of the game, but he did hint that the problems at the back will be a focal point for him: "We gave two easy goals away. The second goal, it's not offside I think, but when it's not offside in the six yard box, something is very wrong. But you need a lot of luck to get the draw, and I think we deserved it".
Leicester go joint top
Is it finally time to take Leicester seriosuly? After a short turnaround between this and their meeting with Spurs on the weekend, they seemed to show no ill-effects of the fixture congestion.
Image: Alastair Grant / AP/Press Association Images
Robert Huth's late, powerful header put them into the lead, which sees them sitting joint top of the Premier League table with 43 points, and just behind Arsenal on goal difference. Their run over the festive period was not scintillating, but it maintained their position near the summit of the table, even if they have become a little bit more shrewd and defensive than they had been previously.
While they may not win the title, given they have a thin squad, a valuable three points away at White Hart Lane against a very resolute Spurs side means that it's probably time to consider them a realistic top four candidate.
Irish on target
Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane would have enjoyed tonight's action all the more given that there were goals from Jonathan Walters, James McClean and Shane Long.
Walters' and Long's goals were a helping hand for their teams as Southampton came out on top with a 2-0 win, while Stoke were 3-1 victors over Norwich.
Image: Steve Paston / PA Wire/Press Association Images
McClean's late equaliser against Chelsea was a sweetly struck, low drive from the edge of the box that beat Thibaut Courtois, and provided Tony Pulis' side with a valuable point at Stamford Bridge. He picked up yet another booking, but grabbing headlines for the right reasons, instead of as a result of his tackles, will be welcome news for the Ireland management team.
Everton hold City
Robert Martinez will be pleased by the fact that, after two games with Manchester City in such a short period, they have only conceded one goal against their fearsome front line.
Defensive problems have plagued his team all season, costing them plenty of points, notably in their 4-3 loss against Stoke at home just a few short weeks ago. However, in the four games since (across all competitions), they have conceded just two goals, something he can take heart from.
Image: Martin Rickett / PA Wire/Press Association Images
They were perhaps lucky right at the end, as a challenge from John Stones on Raheem Sterling in the box certainly had the whiff of a possible penalty about it, but Manchester City once again failed to break them down. They were the dominant team in the second half, but couldn't capitalise on their share of the possession and shots. With just two goals in their last three league games, Manuel Pellegrini may need to look at why they are creating chances but not converting them.
Elsewhere, Jermain Defoe was back among the goals with a hat-trick as he helped Sunderland to a 4-2 win over Swansea, a team who now appear to be in a bit of trouble.
Image: David Davies / PA Wire/Press Association Images
Sam Allardyce won't be happy with the concession of the goals, one of which was from the penalty spot, but with seven goals scored and two wins in their last two league games, he's more likely to be emphasising the positives to his team over the next few days.
The very best bits delivered every weekSubscribe now