Liverpool on a 'different level', says Arteta as Arsenal boss issues challenge to his players

Jurgen Klopp Mikel Arteta Liverpool Arsenal 2019-20 GFX
The Gunners take on the champions at Anfield in the Premier League on Monday night

Mikel Arteta believes Liverpool have ‘raised the bar’ of English football to such an extent that any team trying to catch them can’t afford to ease off for a single day during the week.

Arsenal take on the champions on Monday night having got the better of them in their last two meetings, recording a 2-1 win at Emirates Stadium at the end of last season and a penalty shoot-out success in the Community Shield at Wembley earlier this month.

Arteta is well aware, however, that two victories are not enough to close what was a 43-point gap that existed between the two sides last season and says the consistency Liverpool have shown throughout their last two campaigns, when they have lost just four league games, is something his evolving side must strive for.

“I don’t see any complacency [with Liverpool],” said Arteta. “They go to any ground, even when they are 2-0 up, 3-0 up, 4-0 up, and they still go in the same way.

“This is an incredible credit to the coaching team, the culture they have created and the spirit of that team. You can see that in the 24 or 26 players they have in the squad. 

“There is not one player that plays half-half on the day, that is not very interested or just plays for moments in the game. They just go for it, every single minute of every game. Throughout the season to do that for 10 months, that’s a massive compliment I think.”

Arteta added: “That is a different level. They have done that in the Premier League and in the Champions League as well. And that is why they raised the bar so high. Not only them, Man City as well in recent years.

“That is the level and you have to be able to compete at that level because this is our context and this is our reality.

Liverpool Champions League 2018-19 parade

"If we want to be one of those teams, those basic things have to be implemented every day. That goes through in training - you cannot expect them to do that at weekends and train in a different way. That is the way you conduct yourself every day."

Arsenal have a terrible record at Anfield in recent years, their last win coming back in 2012 when goals from Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla earned them a 2-0 success on Merseyside.

Since then they have played Liverpool eight times in all competitions at Anfield, losing on six occasions and drawing twice. During those eight games they have conceded 30 goals.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have not been beaten at home in the league since April, 2017, when two goals from Cristian Benteke earned Crystal Palace a 2-1 win.

So Arteta knows the size of the task facing his side on Monday night, but they do at least make the trip to the champions knowing they can get the better of them, thanks to those two recent victories in London.

So what is the secret to beating Liverpool?

“Well first of all you need an individual performance by all of the players,” said Arteta. “You need certain luck, that is for sure, in moments of the game.

“And then you have to be so consistent in everything that you do throughout 96 minutes because in any moment they can open you up and you can get exposed.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal 2020-21

“Never give up, that is another thing that is crucial against them. And you have to expect them to be at their best. If you are always expecting that then the level of attention is higher, the focus is higher and then you are more determined in every ball. Against them that is key.”

Arsenal go into Monday night’s game having won their opening two games of the new Premier League campaign.

Stretching back to last season, they are on a six-game winning run in all competitions and appear to be heading in the right direction again after what has been a difficult 18 months.

Some have even suggested they might be able to challenge Liverpool this season, but Arteta says consistency is all his players should be focusing on right now.

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“I don’t know if in football history someone has closed a gap of 43 points if they [Liverpool] maintain the same level in just a few months,” said the Gunners boss.

“Obviously what you are expecting to do is be much better and more consistent and then they can drop the level a little bit, and then the gap is not that big.

“But we can control what we can control, which is our performances and our level of consistency. Obviously we will do our best to try to be much better than last year.”