Arsenal manager Unai Emery said there were reasons to be “optimistic” after his side’s 3-1 loss to Liverpool on Saturday evening.
The Gunners set their stool out early on as they tried to absorb Liverpool’s pressure and hit them on the counter-attack with pace from forwards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe.
Emery’s men looked as if they would come out of the first-half unscathed but Joel Matip broke free from a corner four minutes before the interval and headed home powerfully.
The home team started the second half brightly, too, and Mohamed Salah earned a penalty after David Luiz tugged his shirt.
The Egyptian converted from the spot and then put the game to bed soon after with a wonderful solo goal, shrugging off David Luiz and Nacho Monreal before arcing the ball into the far corner.
Substitute Lucas Torreira grabbed a consolation goal late on but the damage was already done as Arsenal left Anfield with no points.
Emery remained positive after the match, however, having lost 5-1 in the fixture last season, and outlined the side’s first 45 minutes and performances from some unnamed players as reasons to be cheerful.
“Today the first half we worked together,” the Spanish coach said.
“We were doing some transition very good and we had some chances but the second half the penalty was very soft.
“After 2-0 our reaction was good. We needed to attack and take a different moment in the match.
“Yes we are disappointed we lost 3-1 but watching some players we can be optimistic.”
Emery did pick out some areas to improve, though, as the club’s pursuit for an away win against a top-six side continues after beating Manchester City at Etihad Stadium in January 2015.
“We need to improve in possession and countering the pressure but Liverpool is the best team with this,” Emery added.
“We have to be realistic but we can fight closer to them.
“For me today, without the result there were some good periods we showed.”