COMMENTARY KEY MOMENTS
FT Liverpool 0 Arsenal 2
FT WRAP Patience is a rare commodity in these parts. But that's what Brendan Rodgers needs. Liverpool a long way short of a coherent side. And shy a striker or two. This isn't going to be a classic season for them. Arsenal, meanwhile, were just Arsenal, decent on the ball and on the odd occasion a genuine attacking threat. And with some added defensive quality – the work of Steve Bould, perhaps? Podolski will benefit from his first goal. Carzola looks a class act, Giroud yet to convince.
90+4 min: Livepool's worst start to a season since the last one that was pony. Rodgers out? Arsenal get their first win of the season. And are unbeaten. Dark horse for the title? How things change. Football moves pretty fast people, I told you that when we started this, didn't I?
90+3 min: A huge up and under sees the Arsenal back line abandon the box for Mannone to deal with. Agger runs in and charges the goalkeeper. They usually get fouls for being breathed on in that situation but the referee lets it ride. Comes to nothing but an odd one. 1950s flashback. Was almost fun.
90+1 min: Ramsey tries to run down the clock. Shelvey doesn't like it. Shelvey shoves him. A foul. A yellow card. And more time wasted than Ramsey could have managed on his feet.
90 min Shelvey waging a one man war to try and deny Arsenal a clean sheet. A war he's fighting hard but not winning. A blistering effort was all the way a goal until Mannone flung himself across his goal to palm away.
88 min: Not. Liverpool's. Day. The move of the game from the home team and Suarez misses when it looked easier to score. Gerrard fed Downing who played a beautiful ball around the corner for Suarez to spin on to. He did, but with just Mannone to beat he tried to dink it rather than go for power and simply lifted it over the bar.
85 min: Vermaelen required to save what would have been a certain goal for Liverpool. Shelvey had found his way through a crowd to get his shot away. Mannone was well down to block it but the rebound looked to be a race between Suarez and Gerrard to get there, before the Belgian split the two and cleared.
83 min: Giroud is lucky his side are 2-0 up, that's the second gimme he's missed and he's had other chances besides. A free header from six yards was begging to be put away but he got the flight wrong and spooned it off his shoulder and ear.
82 min: Another Arsenal substitution. Podolski has earned an early sit down, Santos gets a run out.
81 min: Downing takes aim and fires from the edge of the box. it was worth a dig but sails harmlessly high and wide.
80 min: Tricky feet from Allen to ride a sries of challenges and keep the ball alive. Shame a few more of his team-mates aren't as protective of possession.
78 min: Skrtel is harried in to giving away a cheap corner, Arsenal's first of the game. Arsenal's fans celebrate like it's athird goal. Mertesacker flicks on, Riena catches but then drops it as he falls to ground in a crowd scene. As is the way of things, that earns him a free kick.
76 min: Vermaelen is being booed by the home fans. His crime? Being kicked up in the air (fairly as it goes) by Gerrard and landing rear end first on the track around the pitch and hurting himself. Boo ... hiss ... down with that sort of thing.
74 min: Shelvey does the hard work to pinch possession on the edge of the box and then snake round in to space for the shooting opportunity. But his effort was going wide from the moment it left his boot.
72 min: Arsenal making changes now. The OX has finished his shift for the day, Ramsey provides the fresher if less sprightly legs.
71 min: Podolski proves a less able full-back that attacker as Johnson skins him, twice, to hit the byline and cross. No one there to meet it. If only Liverpool had a big man to throw on at times like this, eh?
69 min: That was always a danger. Liverpool pushing on for the equaliser and Arsenal just launched one of their counter attack specials. Some slick passing just cut through the back-tracking Liverpool defence. Rodgers's revolution a work in progress.
GOAL! 68 min: Liverpool 0 Arsenal 2
Podolski turns creator to play in Carzola. Fantastic low near post shot but Reina shouldn't be beaten like that.
66 min: More movement from the Carroll-lite Liverpool bench. Sahin's debut ends early, on comes Shelvey.
64 min: The Anfield crowd are involved now. Their team are giving them tit bits to get excited about and the noise level has been turned up to 11. Still no sign of a breakthrough and Arsenal dangerous on the break, Carzola just dragging one wide from the edge of the box.
62 min: Downing, for obvious reasons, looking desperate to contribute here. A few menacing runs and the odd beefy tackle evidence of that. He's even fouled Arteta, which always plays well to these particular galleries. A bit of luck to find space to shoot and it's only a foot wide. That counts as an imporvement for him doesn't it?
61 min: Liverpool forcing the issue now. Agger tries his luck from 40 yards and it wasn't a wasteful as that sounds. It was never going in, mind, but did require Mannone to muddy his knees a touch.
59 min Suarez in the wars again. An agricultural tackle his punishment for not playing a team-mate in when they were better placed.
More of your Michael Owen suggestions...
Who's sitting in the bench? Jibes Corrina, while Paul Crawshaw offers this slightly more oblique solution: I'm confused when A. Cole is mistaken for an unsigned striker.
57 min A fierce rising drive from Suarez gets the crowd on their feet but in truth it was easy for Mannone to palm away.
55 min: Yet another Liverpool penalty appeal, led as always by the permanently put upon Suarez. Vermaelen fell on the ball in the box. It did hit his arm but there was no question of intent. No dice.
54 min: A change for Liverpool. Off goes Borini to be replaced by Downing. If that doesn't increase the goal threat I don't know what will...
53 min: At the other end it opened up for Sahin for a moment. No doubt what the Kop wanted him to do, but instead of letting fly he played it wide and the cross was easily defended.
52 min: Carzola waits before weighting his pass perfectly to the overlapping Gibbs who makes for the box with intent. A decent shot from a tight angle in the end but Reina had his post covered and blocks it.
50 min: Home fans appeal for a penalty as Suarez goes down in the box trying to get on the end of a cross. Mertesacker did have his hands on Suarez. Not sure it was a push but a dangerous game by the defender there.
48 min: Neat build up from Arsenal who seem to have an extra man spare at the moment. Liverpool block their route for the moment but pressure building.
46 min: Arsenal start the second half with the calm assurance of a side enjoying their first lead of the season - knocking the ball around with steady ease. Skrtel starts the second half like a man who believes Diaby has said something unkind about his mother - a tackle through the back of the Arsenal man's legs sees another yellow card shown.
A couple of half-time suggested answers to the riddle above...First up Evan Dunn:
If Michael Owen is the answer, what's the question? What both these teams need desperately!
And Sam Graham has an opinion, too:
Who should never have left LFC?
HT WRAP It was a match that took a while to get going, and when it did it didn't get going very far. Two good teams cancelling each other out? At times, but mostly two teams lacking a cutting edge of guile. Or more likely teams with new faces still working to get to know each other. Liverpool pushed harder but Arsenal found a way through with a neat move involving Carzola and finished off superbly by Podolski. That the move started with a mistake by Gerrard was entirely in keeping with the rest of the game.
45+1 min: Liverpool finishing the half the stronger/more desperate. Gerrard tries to slalomn his way in to the box, and fails, before Podolski is called in to action at left back. it's all for nothing though as we reach half time with Arsenal one up.
43 min: Replays of the penalty appeal from Liverpool show that Howard Webb got it right. Mertesacker did just enough to nick the ball off Sterling as he went down. Was a difficult one to call at full speed. That's why he gets World Cup finals I suppose.
40 min: At the other end Giroud is odds on to make it 2-0 but, after being slipped in by Carzola and with Reina rushing out he spun his effort round the goalkeeper and well wide of the post. it wasn't a gimme but not far short. Looked like a man short of confidence, which with his record of goalscoring from last season seems strange.
39 min: Sterling hits the deck in the box. Anfield appeals for a penalty, Mertesacker looks sheepish, but the referee says no dice. Looked 50-50 to me but one we go.
38 min: Sterling looks a complete live wire, always out to turn his man and get off towards goal. He twists and turns in the box and lets fly with an effort that hits the post and goes wide. Decent effort from the youngster. Perhaps Brendan Rodgers's dressing down has done him some good.
37 min: Gerrard takes a corner by the Arsenal fans. They give him an earful of invective. Probably their way of thanking him for the help with the goal. Vermaelen meets it to concede another. The second cross is poor and the moment passes.
35 min: Arsenal well on top now. Diaby found space on the left but with Giroud there in the middle to aim at he over hit it by some distance.
33 min: Podolski has his dander up now. A 30 yard dash with the ball saw him show some strength to hold off a couple of challenges. Probably should have played in Giroud but can't blame him having a dig. Blocked by Agger this time.
32 min: The Arsenal fans in the away end have ripped up their song sheet but then hastily put it back together. 'Podolski scores when he wants', heartily sung to the tune of Robin va... you get the idea.
GOAL!!! 30 min: Liverpool 0 Arsenal 1
Arsenal's first goal of the season, Podolski's first for the club. It was a gift of sorts from gerrard whose errant pass in the Arsenal half launched the attack but a neat pass for the assist from Carzola and a cracking finish from the German. games needed that.
29 min: A frustrating one this. It looks like a good game but then actually isn't. Like that Alan Partidge special on Sky Atlantic the other week.
26 min: Free kick on the edge of the box it tapped square to Gerrard but that gave the wall time to slip and charge down the shot. A waste really.
25 min Sloppy pass out by Mertesacker just Sterling chance to run at the Arsenal back line while they are on their heels. Arteta takes evasive action and trips Sterling before he can do any real damage. Yellow for the former Everton midfielder - which went down well here - and a dangerous free kick to boot.
23 min Midway through the first half and it's hard to split the teams. Liverpool have been more direct and threatening but Arsenal solid at the back and unflustered on the ball. Precious little goalmouth action to speak of.
21 min Cross field pass from Gerrard reaches Suarez, he turns and tries to spin round Mertesacker. He can't, the German snuffing out the shot/cross allowing Mannone to collect comfortably. Solid defending from the 'big man who has it all on today.'
18 min Vermaelen takes control at the back and goes on a purposeful run straigth through the middle. No tackle offered so he keeps going and tries his luck from 20 yards. His luck is out. That was awful.
16 min A little passing workshop in the Liverpool centre just then. Allen the fulcrum playing one and one and a half touch passes between five and 10 yards, keeping the ball moving, changing the angle, before Gerrard got hold of it and tried a 45 yard pass down the wing that was hopelessly over cooked and gave the ball back to Arsenal. There's a lesson in there somewhere, if you look hard enough.
14 min Liverpool looking the more likely to score just now. Helped more than once by Jenkinson playing awful passes across his own back line and failing to find his mark.
12 min Agger do? Agger doesn't ... fierce dipping corner from Gerrard flashed past the Dane's forehead when he was completely unmarked. Should have made more than the glancing nothing effort he produced.
11 min We're moving up through the gears a bit now. Not quite end to end but both teams in a hurry. Cazorla the latest to get a shot away, a bit of a toe poke from the end of the box though and Reina collects easily.
09 min Borini benefits from the quick feet of Sterling who skates between three or four Arsenal men. The angle wasn't great but Borini went close at the near post, Mannone would say he had it covered I'm sure.
07 min Suarez takes the free kick just left of centre, 30 yards out. He gets it up and over the wall, you can say that at least. But then it would have been up and over a London bus. Mannone untroubled in the Arsenal goal; unlike the poor ballboy.
06 min Mertesacker drags back Suarez. It takes less than that to floor him and down he goes. The referee judges it a cynical one from the defender and books the German.
05 min Arsenal back off and back off, Borini got closer and closer, Arsenal backed off some more, Gerrard was free but the shot opened up for Bornini, 20 yards out, five yards wide. Bah!
03 min Possession traded cheaply a few times with long hoofs forward that would doubtless displease their managers. Then some more measured play from box to box by both teams but as yet no further than that. A soft, steady opening here.
01 min Suarez's first touch is a strange one, a leaping flick that wen't in the opposite direction to that intended. Wenger's first expression is a pained one, he's settled in for a troubling afternoon by the looks of it...
13.29 We've tossed up and shaken hands and picked ends and are ready to start. Before we do, I'll put you out of your misery: Redknapp was of course talking about Per Mertesacker
13.25 Pop quiz: "There's the big man. I tell you, he'll have it all on today." Who was Jamie Redknapp talking about then?
13.15: Why, Mr Wenger, didn't you get involved in the madness of the transfer deadline day? "It's the sign of good news we had with Rosicky and the faith I have in the squad." Hmmmmm.....
13.10 Brendan Rodgers has been defending Liverpool's start to the season: "As the season gets on it will get better. The performances have been good." He's probably half right, eh?
13.05 Team News
Subs: Jones, Henderson, Coates, Downing, Carragher, Shelvey, Kelly.
Subs: Martinez, Koscielny, Andre Santos, Walcott, Ramsey, Coquelin, Gervinho.
Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)
So Liverpool fans get their first sighting of Sahin, from whom they will be more than grateful for an early showing of this sort of thing:
12.55 It may be a little early in the season to be talking about must win games or vital six pointers. But then this is Premier League football. Where, to quote Ferris Buller, things move pretty fast.
This time last week, for example, Andy Carroll was a lump of a bench warming centre forward, a throw back to a less enlightened time, an emblem of the wilful largesse of British football, a very large waste of space.
Your Sunday papers, however, will have informed you that England are now in crisis for their forthcoming World Cup qualifiers, having been robbed of the traditional ball winning number nine's elegant talents following injury at the end of a match in which he did a passable impression of Kevin Davies.
If you don't stop and look around every once in a while, football will pass you buy.
So, must win and vital today's game is. Brendan Rodgers's Liverpool have yet to win in the league, having been beasted by West Brom and generous to a fault in gifting Manchester City a point at Anfield. Arsenal have fared even worse, even if they are a point better off. Two insipid 0-0 draws in the post RVP world have the natives understandably restless.
Neither side excelled, either, on transfer deadline day. Liverpool forgot to replace Carroll while Arsène Wenger presumably spent the day at an eastern European film festival somewhere with his phone turned off, simply hoping that he would return to training to find the same number of players he left there the day before.
Nervous tension should abound, then, at Anfield today. A treat for the neutrals, if not those directly involved.