Football

Published: Sunday February 9, 2014 MYT 12:37:01 AM
Updated: Sunday February 9, 2014 MYT 12:37:06 AM

Arsenal have a lot to answer for after 5-1 defeat - Wenger

(Reuters) - Arsenal must quickly find answers to a multitude of questions raised by the Premier League leaders 5-1 thrashing at Liverpool on Saturday, according to their manager Arsene Wenger.

The shocked Frenchman cut a forlorn figure during a dismal display by his team as a rampant Liverpool cast serious doubts about Arsenal's title aspirations.

"Tonight we have a lot to answer for, and a lot of answers to find," Wenger told a news conference.

"We had a very poor day defensively and Liverpool played well to take advantage of it. Only our fans were at the races for 90 minutes and unfortunately we were not.

"It wasn't good enough. I include myself in that performance, which raises questions about us. It's how we respond that matters."

The match at Anfield was the first of a tough run of fixtures for Arsenal, with an FA Cup fifth round tie at home to Liverpool on Tuesday and a Champions League last 16 first leg clash with Bayern Munich also at the Emirates on February 19.

First, though, they host Manchester United in their next league game on Wednesday and Wenger will hope his title chasers can deliver an instant response against the champions.

LIVERPOOL DOMINANT

Arsenal went into Saturday's match in confident mood having been unbeaten in their previous eight league games and having won on their last two league visits to Anfield.

However two quick fire goals from Martin Skrtel, followed by strikes from Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge put Liverpool 4-0 up after a frenetic opening 20 minutes.

Another strike from winger Sterling in the second half compounded the visitors' misery, with many of the travelling fans leaving before Mikel Arteta's consolation goal from the penalty spot in the 69th minute.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers described his team's performance as "world class" and hailed England under-21 winger Sterling's contribution in recent weeks.

"It was breathtaking some of our play. The intensity of our pressing and the goals were fantastic. It gave us a great platform," Rodgers told a news conference.

"Raheem Sterling, 19 years of age - I don't think there's a better winger in England right now, (he has been) absolutely phenomenal."

Liverpool moved within five points of Arsenal with the victory but Rodgers played down talk of a title challenge, saying they will continue to take one game at a time.

"The objective has always been to finish as high as we can. We'll just keep focused and keep our concentration."

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