Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta broke his own golden rule in Liverpool thumping | Football | Sport

Mikel Arteta went against his own advice when Arsenal were put to the sword by Liverpool two years ago. The Gunners went into the match on a 10-game unbeaten streak but were torn apart by their Merseyside rivals in a hot-tempered affair at Anfield.

Sadio Mane opened the scoring for Liverpool after 39 minutes when he headed in Trent Alexander-Arnold’s free-kick at the far post. Things went from bad to worse for Arsenal after the break when Diogo Jota took advantage of a Nuno Tavares mistake to roll into an empty net.

Further goals from Mohamed Salah and Takumi Minamino condemned Arsenal to a heavy 4-0 defeat, leaving them three points adrift of the Premier League’s top four. Arteta was visibly frustrated throughout the match as his players struggled to gain a foothold in the contest, with tensions boiling over just before half-time.

A touchline spat between the Spaniard and Jurgen Klopp sparked the game into life, with a number of assistant coaches from both teams leaping up from the bench to intervene. Both managers were booked by referee Michael Oliver before it later transpired that Arteta broke his own golden rule for the match, which ultimately came back to hurt the Gunners.

The Arsenal boss made a point of trying to mentally prepare his players for the hostile atmosphere at Anfield, as seen in the All or Nothing documentary produced by Amazon. He emphasised the importance of staying calm by challenging his squad to keep their cool in a practice match with You’ll Never Walk Alone blaring through speakers on the training ground.

Arteta also recalled a previous game in which he failed to keep a lid on things while playing at Anfield, saying: “There is a word we use in Spain in cycling when a cyclist is going and looks amazing and, in one kilometre, he goes [down]. He looks stuck, and it’s a word called ‘bajar’.

“I had it once at Anfield. The game was going well and suddenly I could only see red shirts flying around, the game was passing all over me and I could not react. People were saying: ‘What is he doing?’, and I’m like: ‘I cannot do it’. I cannot emotionally, physically, I cannot cope. Everything was too fast. I only had that feeling in my career once and it was at Anfield.”

Arteta went on to ignore his own advice by engaging in the spat with Klopp, which riled up the Anfield crowd enough to power Liverpool to victory. The iconic stadium has long been known for its combative atmosphere, with Gary Neville saying earlier this year that winding up the home fans rarely ends well for the visiting team.

“There are some rules here, get through the first 25 minutes, play the ball forward and don’t let them press you early on,” said Neville on Sky Sports. “If the crowd are sleepy, leave it that way. Don’t wind the crowd up or give a stupid free-kick away. Don’t get involved in a fight because they want the fire here.”

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