Sanchez Benched as Arsenal Crumble at Anfield

TOPSHOT - Arsenal's Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez reacts during the UEFA Champions League round of sixteen football match between FC Bayern Munich and Arsenal in Munich, southern Germany, on February 15, 2017. / AFP / Odd ANDERSEN (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

In the build up to yesterday’s game, I stated that Alexis Sanchez would be vital – he would be an absolute terror for the Liverpool defence. Instead Arsene Wenger, already under pressure decided to leave Sanchez on the bench. It certainly wont change Arsenal fans’ opinions that Wenger’s time at Arsenal must come to an end.

I have been an admirer of Wenger for many years, I thought the treatment he had received from fans was unfair. However the moment he chose to leave Sanchez on the bench, Arsenal’s chances of getting a result at Liverpool diminished. Wenger stated that he set Arsenal up to be more direct, it made no sense to me – Arsenal didn’t play a single long ball forward in the whole 90 minutes. A player who at times has seemed to be a bit fed up with life at Arsenal, Sanchez must be thinking of a move away in the summer after this decision.

Arsenal were atrocious in the first half. I haven’t seen an Arsenal side play that badly for a long time. They lacked fight against Liverpool yesterday, I have said this before and I will say it again now – Arsenal need some steel in midfield, a Vieira type player. Coquelin, Xhaka and Iwobi that was Arsenal’s midfield yesterday. Where is the quality? For me, Coquelin is simply not good enough. The Frenchman is average at best, harsh but true. Xhaka was signed in a bid to strengthen that Arsenal midfield, but what has he actually offered to the team?

When Sanchez came on in the second half, it just reminded everyone of how vital he is to the Arsenal team. Arsenal decided to let Jack Wilshere leave on loan at the start of the season. A decision that gets more and more puzzling with every passing game. You can’t tell me that Wilshere wouldn’t be starting in that midfield this season, it is a baffling decision.

Wenger’s decision to leave Sanchez out could be a defining moment in terms of the managers future. Wenger’s contract runs out at the end of the season, he said he would make a decision on his future in March or April, I think it’s best for everyone he clears his future up one way or another. The result yesterday meant that Arsenal drop to fifth, it puts a huge dent in Arsenal’s top four hopes.

As bad as Arsenal were in the first half, it would be wrong not to give Liverpool any credit. Klopp, as we know likes the pressing game. Liverpool were the first to everything, as we have seen on a number of occasions this season. The result lifts the Reds up to third in the table, having played two games more than fourth placed Manchester City. It was a total transformation in terms of the performance, Liverpool were awful on Monday night against Leicester, they certainly made up for it with this result and performance against the Gunners.

Liverpool should take confidence from this result, with no other distractions Liverpool’s sole focus is on finishing in the top four. Liverpool’s style of play is so demanding, it is an advantage that they are only involved in the league. Klopp needs to invest in the summer, he needs a squad the can challenge on all fronts.

There will be a lot of fall out from this game, questions regarding Wenger’s future will continue to asked. Arsenal face Bayern Munich on Tuesday night, already facing an uphill task in that game, their confidence is bound to be shot following yesterday’s result. I am a huge fan of Wenger, however maybe it is time for a change at Arsenal.