I’m not sure if it’s a sense of my own, or indeed Arsenal’s new found, hard won maturity, but I went to bed following our 2-0 reverse at home to Liverpool feeling fairly philosophical.

Arsenal's Brazilian striker Gabriel Martinelli (R) runs around Liverpool's English defender Trent Alexander-Arnold during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium in London on March 16, 2022. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Arsenal’s Brazilian striker Gabriel Martinelli (R) runs around Liverpool’s English defender Trent Alexander-Arnold during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium in London on March 16, 2022. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

So philosophical, in fact, that I drifted off to sleep almost immediately.

No small feat following an 8:15 kick off time (thanks for that, Premier League) and the attendant lack of time to process the game between its end and bedtime.

I mean, quite often over the last few years, I would have gone to bed after a result like this one stewing until the small hours, replaying the key moments of the match on an endless loop.

Taking last night as an example, I probably could have been found twisting and turning as I reflected, involuntarily, on Alisson’s brilliant save to deny Martin Ødegaard.

And just as I finished processing that moment, I would have alighted on Diogo Jota somehow squeezing the ball through Aaron Ramsdale and into our net at the near post.

And then, as I let that go, back to that Alisson save and so on and so on.

Repeat, not fade, into a restless night.

However, there are things we can take out of Wednesday night and perhaps that why – to quote one of my favourite band, “I’m not down” – have you missed my references to The Clash? I’ve certainly missed making them.

Chief amongst them, we won’t have to play anyone as good as Liverpool again this season.

I mean, did you see them? Yes, we played pretty well in the first half, without ever really being able to find the right pass to properly open them up.

Part of the reason for that is the speed with which they put you under pressure to win the ball back, or the way they get bodies back behind the ball.

It puts so much pressure on passes to be just right, as Ødegaard’s wasn’t quite when he tried to release Bukayo Saka in the first half.

Another part of it is that, although not hitting the heights of that first half against Manchester City, we went at Liverpool without fear, whilst not being stupidly reckless.

Liverpool are, as you might have noticed, pretty good at this football thing.

The sight of Salah and Firmino being readied on the bench just before Jota scored the winning goal said more about the amount of quality Liverpool have available to them than a thousand words could ever express.

And for all that, we were so close to being 1-0 up by then and, had we scored, I’m not sure anyone would have argued.

With Gabriel Martinelli repeatedly taking Trent Alexander-Arnold back to school, to the point of destroying Trent’s hamstring and Thomas Partey bobbing, weaving and finding time and space to pick his passes, we had perhaps the game’s stand out performers.

Then Liverpool scored.

Then they did it again after a passage of play that spoke volumes about Arsenal’s bravery of intention, but also, having invested so much into the opening hour, how tired they were.

In that eight minutes, the match was done.

To Arsenal’s credit, I can’t have been the only one fearing a second half collapse along the lines of the reverse fixture at Anfield and, not only did that not happen, but we kept on in a way that suggested we weren’t content to simply accept our fate.

It was Gabriel Martinelli, again, who came so close to setting up a grandstand finish when Granit Xhaka found him in – screw it, let’s call it what it is – the “Thierry” position.

Unfortunately, the finish was not quite Thierry and the ball whistled just the wrong side of the post.

It seems a little unfair that Martinelli has been so influential in our home games against the top two and has nothing to show for it, well aside from a general enhancement of his own reputation.

He was sensational on Wednesday night and there were runs in both halves that were simply sensational, showcasing his speed, dribbling ability and, perhaps most importantly, tenacity.

When his decision making and execution becomes a little cleaner, which it will, he’s going to light up the Premier League.

My overriding sensation, though, is that Liverpool have spent years building this team.

They have absolute, top quality in positions 1-11 on the pitch. On the bench they had – well, you know who was on the bench. Punchy as we were, it wasn’t our fight to win.

However, if we do keep winning the fights that are ours to win, as we did – comfortably – at home to Leicester on Sunday and as we mostly have all season, then we will find ourselves back in the big time next season.

That’s where Villa Park, Saturday lunchtime becomes a huge game for us. I’m writing this before the game, the chances are you will read it afterwards – hopefully. So, I’m not going to dwell on it here.

But, allowing for the fact that Mikel Arteta doesn’t have a whole heap of refreshing he can do without seriously impacting on the quality of the first team – a possible Tomiyasu return here, a Smith Rowe there – if the players can produce one more result this week, then we’ll head off into yet another break in good shape for the final sprint towards the line and the filthy lucre of the Champions League.

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It's a family affair... third generation Gooner, obsessed with Arsenal since the 80's. I've been writing about that obsession and, ever so occasionally, the team since 2004 in a variety of places, but have found a natural home here. As you will find out if you stick around long enough, I am a huge fan of Santi Cazorla. I'm extremely fond of cheese, Marmite, Pipers Salt n' Vinegar crisps, Pilsner Urquell, vodka tonics and absinthe. I am also hopelessly obsessed with Depeche Mode.