BBC Match of the Day pundit Alan Shearer has slammed Arsenal defender Stephan Lichtsteiner after a display that he called “comically bad” at Anfield against Liverpool.
Despite Arsenal taking the lead, Liverpool ran out 5-1 winners and it could have been much worse for Unai Emery’s men in a game that exposed their soft underbelly time and time again.
Talking on Match of the Day (BBC1, Saturday, 10.30pm), Shearer criticised the Arsenal defence, but singled out Lichtsteiner for his performance.
“They [Liverpool] were absolutely magnificent and dominated Arsenal in every single position,” Shearer said.
“They scored five and could have and should have scored more. This should have been a big test for Liverpool but there was some comically bad defending from Arsenal at times.
“I know Liverpool forced them into errors at times but some of the defending was embarrassing. They get back into the game through this – Lichtsteiner just has to get rid of it. And here, look at the defensive line. Lichtsteiner is three or four yards behind everyone else, playing Salah onside. There’s no one chasing back into the box. It was really embarrassing for Arsenal and they need major surgery.”
Emery might have inherited a bad defence but it was truly exposed last night by a rampant Liverpool side. It’s not the first time. Arsenal have been making mistakes at the back all season against far less potent attacks and they might actually consider themselves lucky to have got away with just a 5-1 defeat last night. Liverpool were magnificent but Arsenal were embarrassing at the back and Stephan Lichtsteiner was at the heart of it all. Shkodran Mustafi was not much better and Arsenal are going to have to accept that this season is gong to be a major struggle. January is not the right time to conduct major surgery on the team but it will be Emery’s number one priority to bring in a new central defence next season. One short-term fix could be a six-month contract for Gary Cahill, out of favour at Chelsea. He might be available on loan in January and he would bring a stabilising presence to Arsenal’s backline. It might seem humiliating to look for a rival’s cast-off to save your side but these are tough times for Arsenal after a promising run in the Premier League. Emery needs to do something.