Liverpool draw shows Arsenal can play with top teams - Bernd Leno

Sebastian Caceres

Sebastian Caceres

While no one inside the ground was celebrating, Gunners boss Unai Emery could at least spend the rest of his birthday reflecting on a promising performance from his team. Since losing the first two games of the season against Manchester City and Chelsea, a tough start for any new manager, Arsenal have quietly built confidence and momentum and went into this game on the back of a 13-game unbeaten run.

And those four extra points do more than just help with the Premier League table, they install belief among the playing squad and send a message to the rest of the competition.

Leno had good and bad moments in this game, but the German looks an upgrade on the aging and error-prone Petr Cech.

Liverpool were a threat, undoubtedly.

It can be argued that Liverpool deserved the victory due to Sadio Mane's wrongly disallowed goal in the first half, along with a raft of missed opportunities for Virgil van Dijk.

Arsenal began the game on top but it was Liverpool that had the ball in the back of the net on 18 minutes. It eluded them once more, but their display was an encouraging one.

Jurgen Klopp's side had the better of the chances in front of goal with van Dijk and Firmino coming particularly close, but on the general flow of play they lacked the incision and the quality to have truly been worthy of taking all three points.

Arsenal might well have gone behind before James Milner's 61st-minute strike and perhaps should have trailed at the break.

"The reaction of the team was ideal", goalkeeper Bernd Leno told Arsenal's official website afterwards. We need more. We need more in our work, tactically also.

When Paul Merson came out on Sky Sports during the week and said that he thought Arsenal would get whipped by Liverpool at the Emirates on Saturday, I knew all was not right with the world.

Emery's decision to take off top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for Iwobi had raised eyebrows, but this wasn't the first time his mid-game change has made an impact.

However it was Arsenal who grabbed the second goal of the game, with Lacazette curling a brilliant shot past Alisson after the Brazilian came off the line.

"He was up against three really good attacking players".

"Progress is with time".

Arsenal are expecting to finish in the Champions League places this season, meaning they'll nearly certainly have to finish ahead of both Manchester United and Tottenham. Those huge gaps aren't closed over the course of one summer.

And yet Liverpool had its chances.

It is early days and there will be bumps in the road as Emery imposes his new philosophy on Arsenal but if this was earmarked as the most severe examination of their credentials so far this season, they can be quietly satisfied with the results.

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