Adam Lallana says Liverpool squad knew they had to perform against Arsenal

Adam Lallana says Liverpool squad knew they had to perform against Arsenal

Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana says the players knew they needed to deliver a stellar performance against top-four rivals Arsenal at Anfield on Saturday evening, having felt the pressure after a dismal display against Leicester.

Leanne Prescott

Saturday's game between Liverpool and Arsenal was always going to be a crucial encounter, with both sides desperate to secure a top-four place come the end of the season.

However, with both sides in poor form having had hugely inconsistent performances of late, there was an even bigger edge to the game as both sides came out of the tunnel at Anfield.

Liverpool took the lead after just nine minutes thanks to a well worked move that ended in Roberto Firmino cooly slotting past Petr Cech. The Brazilian, who has received some criticism of late for his lack of killer instinct in front of goal, showed a very composed head to wriggle himself some room for the shot.

It was exactly the injection that the Reds needed and they never looked back from there, with Firmino turning provider for the second goal as Sadio Mané was gifted far too much time and space to pick his spot on the right hand side of the area.

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A second half goal from Danny Welbeck threatened to spoil the party for Liverpool, but the defence remained composed and compact to see off Arsenal's advances before Georginio Wijnaldum secured the three points with a perfect worked counter attacking goal.

Adam Lallana held the ball up brilliantly before playing an outside of the foot ball to Divock Origi on the right hand side. The Belgian forward was easily able to square for Wijnaldum who showed tremendous energy levels to charge up the pitch and finish off the move.

It was a huge three points for Jürgen Klopp's side, especially with the Gunners and Manchester United having a game in hand. Adam Lallana reflected on the performance, stating that the players themselves could feel the importance of the game before kick-off.

'We knew we had to perform', reflects Lallana after Saturday's win

Liverpool had a huge point to prove heading into the game with Arsenal following a dismal performance against Leicester City in mid-week.

​"Similar to the Tottenham game, we knew we had to perform," ​he told BT Sport.​"We let a lot of people down on Monday night against Leicester, including ourselves.

"This goes a little way to putting it right. We've got a massive 11 games left this season and we feel we can still achieve something," said Lallana.

Having started the season with such promise, there was a point in the season where it looked as though Liverpool could mount a very real title challenge. However, their season crumbled in front of them after the turn of the year with only one win coming in the month of January.

Crashing out of the EFL Cup to Southampton and then to lose at home to Wolves in such a feeble manner saw the season take a dramatic turn for Klopp's side, and with their continued inconsistencies questions remain to be seen whether they can make something of this campaign.

​"We're still young and still feel we're learning. Of course we're disappointed with how inconsistent we've been since Christmas. It's on us to put that right. Keep going like how we did and we're only going to go in the right direction," ​reflected Lallana.

A test of character in the second half

Having gone into the break two goals to the good, Liverpool were in cruise control for the first forty five minutes at Anfield. However, a goal from Welbeck saw a few nerves creep into the game for the Reds and the players character and composure to see out the result was certainly tested.

Given their defensive frailties this season, you would have forgiven fans for thinking another second half capitulation was on the horizon. However, the defensive partnership of Ragnar Klavan and Joël Matip stood firm and prevented Arsenal from getting anything from the game, with a crucial save from Simon Mignolet also of note.

​"We went in at half-time 2-0 up and we were pleased with how we performed,” said Lallana. “But it showed in the second half that you can’t take anything for granted.

"They’ve got top players on the bench; Sanchez came on and influenced the game. So we had to dig in at 2-1 and we’re grateful that Gini got the goal in the last minute to see it off," ​concluded the midfielder.