Date: 5th March 2017 at 10:04pm
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Manager Arsene Wenger has reflected on Saturday’s loss to Liverpool and admitted in the first half Arsenal lacked ‘rhythm and competition’ and with some improvements in the second period it just wasn’t enough to get us back to two all which he felt would’ve changed the game.

Suffering the three one defeat at Anfield, Wenger told the Official Site in his post game press conference that it was the game of two halves and Arsenal definitely lost it in the opening 45 minutes.

‘I felt in the first half we suffered from a lack of rhythm and competition, which I thought would happen. But it was a game of two halves. In the second half we responded very well and could have come back to 2-2. I felt we were a bit unlucky and a bit unlucky with some decisions as well. So overall, that`s what the game was today.’

With a possible sending off for Emre Can, Wenger dodged that question but also pretty clearly gave his opinion on the decision.

‘You watch the situation and you give me your opinion. Or you ask the referee – that`s even better. You go directly to see him.’

Pressed further on whether he’d seen the referee, he admitted he hadn’t and said he didn’t require an explanation over the decision either because it wouldn’t change anything.

‘No, no, no. I don`t need explanations. The situations are the situations. Explanations will not change anything in the situation.’

Adding.

‘I just think that I have no special regrets. My regret is to have lost the game and especially in the first half, for the first goal we conceded from a direct kick from their goalkeeper. The fact that we lacked pace in our first half was down to, in my opinion, the fact that we had a lack of competition.’

With Alexis Sanchez warming the bench during the first half, there were obviously questions about his decision on that front and he explained to reporters that he wanted Arsenal to go a little more direct in the game and he felt the front two of Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud would suit that better than Sanchez.

‘The thinking was that we had to go more direct and I wanted to play two players who are strong in the air, because we decided to go more direct. After that, to bring on Alexis in the second half. Of course, I believe in the second half it was easier for the strikers and you could see a different performance from Giroud and Welbeck because we dominated much more of the midfield. Everybody will come to the same conclusion, but I`m strong enough and lucid enough to analyse the impact. And I don`t deny that Alexis is a great player. I bought him and I always played him. This decision was not easy to make, but I have to stand up for it.’

Pushed on whether Sanchez showed any signs of frustration on the bench, Wenger was trying to not create headlines.

‘I don`t think there`s any need to go into any individual explanation. What was good in the second half was our collective performance. What was not good in the first half was our collective performance. For me, that`s a much more rational explanation than the rest. You focus on what you want. For every single player, it`s the same. Everybody tells you that you need to buy strikers and then when you have them, everybody asks why you don`t play all of them. It`s impossible.’

With Arsenal not overly playing a long ball, Wenger explained his definition of what he meant for Arsenal going more direct in the first half and also spoke about how we simply didn’t create enough chances across the 90 minutes as well.

‘We did go direct in the first half. What I call direct is that the goalkeeper kicks straight to his strikers. That`s what we did. We didn`t create many chances. We had some dangerous situations and we didn`t make enough of our corners. We had good situations on corners where we didn`t do very well on the delivery. With the players we had on the pitch, we should have made more of these opportunities because Liverpool are vulnerable from corners.’

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