With both teams in the top four and in contention for the title, this was a big weekend, and also a chance for Liverpool to close the gap. After their previous meeting at the Emirates earlier this season, the Merseyside team were eager to get their revenge on the Londoners, and so they did, wiping the floor with the Gunners in a 5-1 win. Liverpool started bright and took the lead inside 52 seconds with a goal from defender Martin Skrtel. The Slovakian struck again, 8 minutes later, adding to the score and setting the tone for the rest of the match.
Alongside his goals, Skrtel produced a solid display defensively; completing 2 out of 3 (67%) attempted tackles. He also won 4 out of 5 (80%) ground duels and 3 out of 4 (75%) aerial duels, with the latter being the highest on the team. He made a total of 10 clearances, with 5 of those being headers.
He attempted 38 passes, with 32 of them reaching a teammate. Out of these passes, 12 of them were forward, 2 back, 13 to the left and 5 to the right. He produced 10 long balls, although he failed to find his target half the time. He made 24 out of 25 passes in his own half, 66% of all passes. He played 8 out of 13 passes in the attacking half, attempting 4 while in the final third, unsuccessful each time. However, he did pass the ball into the final third 3 times.
Skrtel completed his only dribble and had 56 touches of the ball. The defender was reliable in possession, only losing the ball 6 times due to bad passes, without overrunning the ball or being dispossessed. He recovered the ball 4 times, once in the midfield third and 3 times in the defensive third. He also made one interception.
As stated earlier, he scored two goals, doubling his tally for the season. These were his only shots of the game, both on target. This means he had a perfect shot conversion rate (100%), the first coming from his right knee and the second from his head.
Skrtel put in a fantastic display as did all of the Merseyside players. He was solid at the back, reliable in possession and set the benchmark for the standard at which Liverpool performed throughout the match. Liverpool will be hoping that they can keep up performances like this throughout the rest of the season, and with nearly all of their players available, there is no reason why they can’t. Champions League spot? Certainly.