David Luiz remains full of fight despite error-prone display at Liverpool

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David Luiz insists Arsenal can bridge the gap to the Premier League‘s top two.

The Gunners were beaten 3-1 by Liverpool on Saturday as they lost their 100 per cent record and the bubble burst on what had been an encouraging start to the season.

It does not get any easier with the visit of rivals Tottenham next weekend but Luiz is adamant they have shown enough potential to at least be in contention for the top four, having failed last season.

To do that, however, they need to find a steely resolve – a criticism regularly aimed at Arsenal over the years – to prevent episodes like the one at Anfield.

And Luiz himself will have to cut out the mistakes as his tug-back on Mohamed Salah presented the Egypt international with a penalty which crucially made it 2-0 and took the game away from the Gunners.

Lucas Torreira’s late consolation papered over some of the cracks, although £72million summer signing Nicolas Pepe, on his full debut, offered some hope from an attacking point of view.

“There is frustration always but I think you also have to be intelligent and mature to understand we did a lot of good things and we could have scored two or three goals before they did,” said Luiz.

“It is always difficult to play there. Not many teams will go there and get points. I think you have to be clever to take the positive things and think about the future.

“This club has the potential to shine like it has shone in the past. We have a lot of talent, we have players with a lot of quality.

“Football is about the end not the beginning and we are going to have to try to fight to the end.”

Luiz’s £8million arrival from Chelsea in the summer was supposed to help stiffen up a brittle defence.

While he still has some adjusting to do in his new surroundings he is confident they will continue to improve and has set himself ambitious targets.

“I came here with the ambition to fight for the Premier League title, I want to fight for other competitions also,” he added.

“It was like that at the other clubs I have been at but it was not always easy, there were difficult moments.

“I am going to try to do my best every single day and try to help everyone to believe in this because I think this club can believe a lot because it has a lot of potential.

“Every week you have to think to get points and then you arrive in March or April and then you are there and then small details make the difference. So we will do that.”

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Unai Emery believes Arsenal are closer to Liverpool than last season

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Unai Emery believes Arsenal are closer to Liverpool than last season despite another chastening experience at Anfield.

Having lost 5-1 last December, the Gunners were beaten 3-1 this time but were under pressure for the vast majority of the game and faced 25 shots.

It took Liverpool until just before half-time to make the breakthrough, Joel Matip heading in Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner. Mohamed Salah’s double early in the second half threatened to make it another battering but Arsenal rallied and substitute Lucas Torreira scored a consolation.

Emery said: “It was not all we wanted to do in the match because we wanted to keep the ball more, but their pressing was very strong. The second half the key was the penalty. I think (it was) very soft, I think usually it is not enough.

“But we continued our way, we opened more and they gave us more space to keep the ball. In the transition they are very strong and they scored the third goal.

“It was the moment we needed to show something different – not frustration, not (heads) going down. I think we showed character, also the impact with Lucas Torreira, with (Alexandre) Lacazatte and Mhiki (Henrikh Mkhitarayan) was good.

“Some players today made one step ahead, like (Joe) Willock, I think also it was a good match for (Nicolas) Pepe and Matteo (Guendouzi). (Dani) Ceballos struggled more than last week but it is one experience more for him.

“We need to be optimistic. I think we reduced the distance with Liverpool. At the moment it’s not enough but I think we can be, in some issues, positive.”

Emery admitted full-back Nacho Monreal, who played the full game, could leave the club before the closure of the European transfer window having been heavily linked with a move to Real Sociedad.

“With Nacho, one possibility is open and we are going to speak about that,” said the Gunners boss.

On the continued absence from the squad of Mesut Ozil, he added: “Today they are here the players who we think they were the best physically and to play today.”

Liverpool are now the only Premier League side with a 100 per cent record this season and extended their winning run to 12 league matches.

Jurgen Klopp felt this performance represented a step up, saying: “I was really happy with a lot of parts of the game. I think everything we did well in the first four games we did tonight longer, more precise and better attuned.

“And I loved the desire, the passion, the power, the energy we put into this game that made us really uncomfortable to play against. We have a lot to improve but it was a big step tonight and I’m really happy.”

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Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City can surpass their 2018-19 title-winning campaign

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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

Pep Guardiola claimed last weekend’s draw against Tottenham proved his Manchester City side could go even better than last season.

City piled up 100 Premier League points in the 2017-18 season and 98 points last campaign in claiming back-to-back titles, and both times Guardiola said they could achieve more.

Though last weekend’s 2-2 draw ended in frustration – as Gabriel Jesus’ potential late winner was ruled out by VAR for the slightest of handballs from Aymeric Laporte in the build-up – Guardiola was left purring by his side’s attacking football as they had 30 attempts at goal to Tottenham’s three.

“The way we played against Tottenham showed we can do better than last season,” said Guardiola, who takes his side to Bournemouth on Sunday.

“So few games last season (were that good), even Chelsea when we won 6-0, the Tottenham game was better than Chelsea.

“Last year we arrived in front of goal and in the first five times we scored four. In football, in all sports, it is like this, but we played better.”

The challenge for City – aside from converting more of their chances – is being able to produce such displays more regularly.

“I think it is impossible to sustain every three days playing the way we played against Tottenham,” Guardiola said.

“The emotion of the first game at home, the finalists of the Champions League, the emotion of the players, they were incredibly focused.

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“The problem when you play every three days, you have to lift them. ‘Come on, let’s go guys, it is another one and another one’, but the level was so good. It was incredible, the way we play, so we try to keep going and build up from here.”

Guardiola is trying to lead City to three consecutive titles, something not seen in English football for a decade since Manchester United’s titles in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Guardiola has already achieved the feat twice with both Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and believes this City side are capable too.

“I am not a guy who thinks because we have done it with Barcelona and Bayern Munich we are going to do it – those are statistics I don’t believe,” he said.

“I believe in the spirit, in the smell, in the way we played and I think we can do it.

“Of course we want to win but I didn’t feel bad against Tottenham afterwards. With the VAR again, again, again it is a little bit (frustrating) but after you sleep, you say: ‘It is OK’.”

VAR could have been irrelevant a week ago if City had simply converted their chances, but Guardiola said goals were not a problem in a City side that scored 95 in the league last season and 106 in the campaign before.

“When you look at all the goals we’ve scored in the last two seasons I don’t think you can say there are any doubts about us being able to score goals,” he said.

“We don’t have two incredible players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi who score 50 or 60 goals a season but, despite that, we scored incredible amount of goals in the last two seasons.

“You don’t lose that capacity and we will continue to score.”

Provided by Press Association Sports

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