Sunday 5 March 2017 10:41, UK
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted his decision to drop top scorer Alexis Sanchez backfired in the 3-1 defeat at Anfield.
The Chile international, who has scored 20 goals this season, did not appear until the start of the second half, by which time the Gunners were 2-0 down to goals from Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.
Sanchez provided the assist for Danny Welbeck to pull one back but despite an improved performance, Georginio Wijnaldum clinched the result for Liverpool in added time.
"Yes (it did backfire) but I felt that in the first half the strikers suffered because we didn't dominate in the midfield and in the second half you could see that it was easier because Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud were much better, so it's always debatable," said Wenger.
"The thinking was that we had to go more direct and I wanted to play two players who were strong in the air and after that to bring on Alexis Sanchez in the second half.
"We did go direct in the first half. We didn't create any chances and we didn't make enough of our corners.
"I am strong enough and lucid enough to analyse. I don't deny Alexis Sanchez is a great player - I bought him - but this was my plan.
"The collective performance was not good enough in the first half and that is the more rational explanation.
"I think in the first half we suffered from a lack of competition but it was a game of two halves and in the second half we did well."