Mikel Arteta admits Liverpool showed Arsenal exactly how far they still have to go before they can compete with the elite in his side’s 3-1 defeat at Anfield on Monday.
Arsenal took the lead with their first attempt on target – and with just their second touch of the ball in the opposition box – but were soon pegged back by the Premier League champions.
Sadio Mane equalised 147 seconds later and Andy Robertson, at fault for Alexandre Lacazette’s opener, put the Reds in front before recent signing Diogo Jota sealed the points late on.
Arteta had instigated wins over Liverpool in his previous two meetings as Arsenal boss, but he accepts Jurgen Klopp’s men were much the better side in this latest tussle.
“We were in the game for a big part of it. The reality is they are superior to us in many aspects. You could see that is some phases,” he told Sky Sports.
“I’m really happy with the way the team competed and kept believing. This is the standard we have to reach.
“We are on a different journey. They’ve been together five years, we’ve had a few months.”
“We stayed in the game for almost the whole match. Having the lead, I think we should have handled that situation a little bit better. We conceded that goal too early straight after that but we competed throughout the game.”#LIVARS pic.twitter.com/9H2O28oe3X
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) September 28, 2020
Lacazette wasted a glorious opportunity to make it 2-2 in the second half, failing to clip the ball past Alisson when played through on goal.
It proved a costly miss as Jota, who had only been on the field for eight minutes, fired home on his league debut for the club to confirm a first defeat of the season for Arsenal.
“I had a feeling we were going to have chances in the second half,” Arteta said. “We had probably the best chance of the game.
“You have to put them in the net when you have chances against them. We have a long way to go in many things.”
Lacazette has scored in each of Arsenal’s opening three league games and Arteta praised the France international for his display on Merseyside.
“Obviously he had the best chance in the game to make it 2-2 and again put us in a really strong position,” the Arsenal manager added at his post-match news conference.
“But he had a great game, put an incredible performance again and I’m pleased with him. They all want to win. This is what I like, the mindset of the team. They want to go to any ground and they want to win.
“The boys were really disappointed to lose the game – they really believed we could come here and do it. For large periods of the game we were right there.”