Gary Neville believes that Granit Xhaka broke one of the key “rules” at Anfield, saying that it helped rile the crowd up and get Liverpool back into the game.
Arsenal dominated the opening half an hour and cruised into a 2-0 lead with goals from Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus.
Liverpool looked lost during the first 40 minutes, especially defensively, and were made to pay by the Gunners.
Xhaka incident riled up the crowd
But during the first half, Xhaka became involved in a spat for barging Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The defender retaliated, with the pair squaring off and both receiving yellow cards for the incident.
But following that, Liverpool looked the much better side, closing the first 45 strongly with a goal from Mohamed Salah.
They came out after the break even more fired up, and were unlucky not to equalize when Salah missed from the penalty spot.
Liverpool eventually made Arsenal pay, with Roberto Firmino rising to meet Alexander-Arnold’s cross into the box.
And they had opportunities to win the game, with Arsenal relying on their goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale to keep the scores level.
The Englishman saved superbly to deny Salah and scrambled to keep Ibrahima Konaté’s close range effort out late on.
Neville: Xhaka incident turned the tide
Liverpool were unlucky not to win the game in the end, despite a dismal opening 40 minutes.
And Neville believes that Xhaka’s actions during the first half played a role in bringing the best out of the Reds.
“Arsenal played brilliantly in the first 40 minutes and then they just got the crowd up,” Neville said on his Sky Sports podcast after the game.
“I’m not pointing directly at the Xhaka incident where he got involved but there is a rule when you play here and it didn’t help.
“There are some rules here: get through the first 25 minutes, play the ball forward and don’t let them press you early on, 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.
“One team needs fire and that’s Liverpool and one team needs ice and that’s Arsenal. Arsenal got involved in fire before half-time and obviously they conceded.”
What next for Liverpool and Arsenal?
Klopp will hope that this result for Liverpool can be a turning point and that his side can finish the season strongly.
It would take a miracle for the Reds to qualify for the Champions League next season, with them 12 points behind Manchester United in fourth place.
Therefore, Klopp will mainly be hoping for promising signs from now till the season’s conclusion.
His squad will travel to Elland Road for a match against Leeds United next Monday.
However, Arsenal have much more at stake, with Sunday’s result seeing their lead at the top of the table cut to six points following Manchester City’s win at Southampton.
Mikel Arteta will be hoping his side can bounce back on Sunday when they travel across London for a derby against West Ham.