Sport Soccer

Thursday 23 January 2020

Arsene Wenger rounds on "disastrous" Arsenal players after Liverpool thrashing

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil shows his dejection after the final whistle
Arsenal's Mesut Ozil shows his dejection after the final whistle

Arsene Wenger tore into his Arsenal players after an "absolutely disastrous" performance resulted in a 4-0 thrashing at Liverpool.

Wenger's side were swept aside with embarrassing ease as the Reds produced a ruthless display of attacking football at Anfield on Sunday.

First-half goals from Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane put the hosts in a commanding position in a one-sided Premier League contest before Mohamed Salah and Daniel Sturridge completed the rout.

The outclassed Gunners failed to register a single shot on target and, were it not for a series of smart saves by Petr Cech, their humiliation could have been even greater.

Wenger told Sky Sports: "Of course it was shocking. I believe our performance on the day was absolutely disastrous."

He later added in his post-match press conference: "I think from the first to the last minute we were not at the level requested for such a game. Not physically, not technically, not mentally were we at the level - and we were punished. The performance was not acceptable."

Arsenal's record goalscorer Thierry Henry was shocked by the standard of play from his old side.

Henry, who was working as a pundit for Sky, said: "That was unwatchable. At one point I wanted to leave. It was just too much to take."

The level of performance also prompted two players, midfielders Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey, to apologise to fans.

Ozil, who endured a torrid afternoon, wrote on Instagram: "We were simply not good enough.

"Usually I'm too angry to post on social media after such frustrating days like today, but I don't want to let this match go uncommented. Gunners, I am sorry. We will try everything to improve in the next game and bounce back from the disappointment we are all feeling."

Ramsey, who was withdrawn injured at half-time, told "We're sorry to the fans that came up. It's not good enough and we have to do something about it."

The manner of the capitulation could spark a renewal of the anti-Wenger protests that made headlines last season, but the Frenchman himself called on everyone concerned to band together.

He said: "That is part of the crowd's feeling, of some people. If I am the problem I am the problem - I am sorry because I am the problem but I believe all together we lose.

"We want our fans to be with us when we lose, even in a performance like that. The only thing we can do is come back and give a different level of performance."

By contrast Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hailed a magnificent effort from his players.

Klopp, whose surprise decision to rest first-choice goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was vindicated, said: "We wanted to show our desire, our greed, our ambitions against a very strong side.

"We didn't think about winning the game - we thought about the performance. The performance was perfect."

PA Media

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