Arsenal's Walking Dead at Anfield
Arsenal's lack of a pulse at Anfield should be a major concern for Arsene Wenger as his squad enters the busy holiday period.
There was no zip to the passing on Merseyside, no connection forged, no trust in touch or trademark Arsenal possession; perhaps most alarming was the noticeable lack of energy and enthusiasm in a game that Arsenal should have won.
Nine out of eleven Arsenal players stumbled and reeled their way through the match; more reminiscent of zombies from a Frank Darabont program than an Arsene Wenger production.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was played centrally, a position he can thrive in on his day, but this was far from his day, this was a post-apocalyptic, infected Ox, who's heavy touch and trouble coping with Liverpool's midfield movement was excruciating to witness.
The same could be said for Alexis Sanchez, who looked worn ragged, a shell of his normal self as he moaned his way around the pitch, losing the ball in bad areas, while lacking his usual spark and vivaciousness.
But as bad as Sanchez and Oxlade-Chamberlain were, Per Mertesacker took it upon himself to be even worse, taking the throne on the day as leader of the Dial Square undead. The big fallible German lurched his way around the park, uttering monosyllabic grunts, turning in a performance, not for the first time recently, unfitting of a World Cup winner.
The terror on Mertesacker's face when Martin Skertel headed home the equalizer in the dying minutes of the match was pathetic.
Wardrobe Malfunction and The Two Italians:
The meme universe was frothing at the mouth when Fabio Borini foolishly raked his boot across the midsection of Santi Cazorla for his second bookable offense. It was a ridiculous action by the substitute fueled by the frustration of a header he could not convert.
Good luck making your way back into the side Fabio.
The nip-slip hit the interwebz just a few minutes after Borini sprinted down the tunnel for a spot of tea. It was a wardrobe malfunction that Janet Jackson herself would have been proud of and another telling example of Cazorla's exquiste ball control.
But Brendan Rodgers would have felt differently, he must have had a fair amount of steam pouring from his ears on Saturday night, as he was left to mull over the on-field antics and social media malfeasance from the Italian's under his charge.
Will there be an Italian exodus in January?
Divock Origi looks set to be recalled if Rodgers gets his wish, which means Borini's cameo may have booked him a transfer to Scunthorpe United, and his compatriot may looks no better off, as at this rate Mario Balotelli seems destined for Major League Soccer.
Szczesny and Cazorla The Only Beating Hearts:
Wojciech Szczesny had a very strong performance at Anfield. The Polish shot-stopper came up big on several occasions, reacting quickly to the aforementioned point blank header, and several other dicey situations that could have spoiled the day completely.
If Wenger can take any positives away from the match, Szczesny's performance is low hanging fruit, but it is worth pulling from the tree, as it was clearly a hell of a lot better than the goalkeeping in last season's drubbing.
His keeper is maturing and developing a much needed consistency that will prove vital for Arsenal.
Santi Cazorla has been on fire ever since his penalty at stoke. The close control, the range of passing, the assists, the goals, he was the only field-player who looked up for the match against Liverpool, and as stated previously, the Professor must lock-in Cazorla for the next two years of his career as he brings genuine class to the Gunner's midfield.
If Arsenal are to stop the rot, and creep up the table during the upcoming crazy fixture list, Wenger will have to trust and rely on Cazorla to find the vaccine, and reverse the effects of Arsenal's walking dead at Anfield...