Arsenal 4-1 Liverpool: four things we learned

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Liverpool's hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League this season hit a serious set-back with a 4-1 loss to Arsenal this weekend.

First half goals from Hector Bellerin, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez devastated Brendan Rodgers' side and went into the break with a mountain to climb.

Jordan Henderson offered his team an unlikely lifeline when he slotted his penalty past David Ospina after Raheem Sterling was brought down by Bellerin late on.

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Liverpool's afternoon was summed up when Emre Can daftly challenged Danny Welbeck in a safe position which saw the German receive his second yellow card of the game before Oliver Giroud wrapped the three points up for the Gunners.

The Reds are now eight points behind fourth-placed Manchester United and have a serious uphill challenge to qualify for the Champions League.

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Jordan Henderson Still Not Trusted

Leading into Saturday's game, Liverpool were desperate to have a leader in their side. 

With Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtel both suspended, there needed to be somebody who could fill their boots and inspire victory at the Emirates Stadium.

Henderson took the skipper's armband in Gerrard's absence as per usual but unfortunately he did not cut the mustard.

There's no doubt that the former Sunderland man has improved in the last 18 months and that he has become a key player in Rodgers' side. 

However, the fact is that Kopites still do not trust him or think he is good enough to lead Liverpool in tough games when the situation is far from ideal.

Sure, Henderson has been the focal point of Reds' performances in the past when Gerrard has been out - however that mostly has been at home to a lower level opposition.

He didn't do too badly against Arsenal at times, however, you need moments of magic from your captain to inspire and make things happen. 

The thoughts about Henderson were summed up when he took Liverpool's penalty. Uneasy faces and groans about somebody else taking it was the reaction from many.

Poor Substitutes Again

I've said previously on a number of occasions that Rodgers often gets his substitutes wrong. In north London it was a similar case.

3-0 at half-time must be one of the worst feelings in the world as a footballer. However, it is not impossible and one goal early after the break can bring confidence throughout.

Daniel Sturridge emerged from the tunnel at half-time which was positive to see - albeit if he could play 45 minutes he should have been starting.

Unfortunately, Rodgers took off the wrong person for the former Chelsea man. Lazar Markovic was the one to be taken off which was a baffling move. 

The Reds lacked attacking options off the bench and Rodgers needed all his forward-thinking recruits on the pitch. The Serb may have missed a chance early when the scores were deadlocked however he was starting to test the Arsenal back-four and get into the game.

Markovic hasn't been the greatest of performers since joining last summer from Benfica but in a game were he was beginning to show promise and his confidence would have been shattered after this substitution.

Joe Allen and Lucas both remained on the pitch for the full 90 minutes - a strange move to leave on two defensively minded players.

Glen Johnson isn't a big fan favourite on Merseyside however he is capable of gliding past defenders when he wants and it would have been good to see him come on playing in an advanced role.

Fabio Borini has been left in the dark for most of this season and looks to be leaving in the summer. Nonetheless, he could still have came on and been a nuisance for the Arsenal back-four, dragging himself around and creating space for others.

Rodgers made just one change in the 90 minutes. For a team who was 3-0 down at half-time, this is just not good enough.

Hard Work For Nothing

At the beginning of the season, Liverpool looked doomed for a mid-table finish. They took 14 points from their opening 10 games and were in terrible form.

A mid-season turnaround seen the Reds in the Champions League 'rat-race' and two weeks ago prior to the Manchester United game, a top-four finish looked very realistic.

However, back-to-back losses have left the five-time European Cup winners a disappointing fifth, eight points behind Manchester United. It was a difficult process for Liverpool to get their season back on track, and that will make these recent blows even harder to digest.

Kopites were so confident ahead of the United clash, however, now it looks like Liverpool will be doomed to Europa League football next campaign.

Silver Lining

Liverpool's top-four hopes may have been written off however there still is hope of a trophy this season.

The Merseyside club have not won the FA Cup since 2006 and Kopites have been desperate to get their hands on the world's oldest cup competition.

They meet Championship side Blackburn Rovers in a quarter-final reply and a win is an absolute must to revive their season. 

The FA Cup is wide open this season and if the Reds get through they have a tricky but very winnable clash against Aston Villa in the last four.

It will not be easy at Ewood Park - Emre Can is now unavailable, joining Gerrard and Skrtel in the naughty corner.

The FA Cup has already thrown up a number of shocks this term and Blackburn will be desperate to reach Wembley.

Liverpool fans: what did you make of the loss to Arsenal? Let us know below!

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