Emery upbeat after defeat but admits defender could move on
Unai Emery refused to be downbeat after Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Saturday and believes they are closer to the Reds than last season.
The Gunners were hammered 5-1 at Anfield back in December, so there was at least a slight improvement as far as the scoreline was concerned. However Emery says the performance on the pitch from his players was also much better.
Even so, the Gunners were still under pressure for the vast majority of the game and faced 25 shots as the Reds dominated.
It took Liverpool until just before half-time to make the breakthrough, Joel Matip heading in. Mohamed Salah’s double early in the second half threatened to make it another battering but Arsenal rallied and substitute Lucas Torreira scored a consolation.
💬 "The result means we're not happy today, but we can be optimistic for another situation."
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 24, 2019
Emery was not despondent though and preferred to take the positives out of the game.
“I think we showed character, also the impact with Lucas Torreira, with (Alexandre) Lacazatte and Mhiki (Henrikh Mkhitarayan) was good,” he said.
“Some players today made one step ahead, like (Joe) Willock, I think also it was a good match for (Nicolas) Pepe and Matteo (Guendouzi). (Dani) Ceballos struggled more than last week but it is one experience more for him.
“We need to be optimistic. I think we reduced the distance with Liverpool. At the moment it’s not enough but I think we can be, in some issues, positive.”
Meanwhile, Emery has also admitted full-back Nacho Monreal, who played the full game, could leave the club before the closure of the European transfer window.
The defender has been heavily linked with a move to Real Sociedad in La Liga, and it looks as though Arsenal are ready to let him move on.
“With Nacho, one possibility is open and we are going to speak about that,” said the Gunners boss.
Again Mesut Ozil was absent from the squad but Emery did not shed any light on when the midfielder will be ready to return to the side.
“Today they are here the players who we think they were the best physically and to play today,” he said when quizzed about the German.
Liverpool are now the only Premier League side with a 100 per cent record this season and extended their winning run to 12 league matches.
Jurgen Klopp felt this performance represented a step up, saying: “I was really happy with a lot of parts of the game. I think everything we did well in the first four games we did tonight longer, more precise and better attuned.
“And I loved the desire, the passion, the power, the energy we put into this game that made us really uncomfortable to play against. We have a lot to improve but it was a big step tonight and I’m really happy.”