Reds got lucky again, says Wenger
ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger has conceded that his team have not been up to scratch this season, after collecting just four points from their first three English Premier League fixtures.
"We have started very average. I must concede sharpness is missing a little bit in some players," the Frenchman said after the Gunners were held 0-0 by Liverpool on Monday. "Our game is still not fluent enough in the final third."
The result left the North London team still waiting for their first home win of the season, following the opening-day shock 2-0 defeat by West Ham United.
Liverpool largely controlled the first half at the Emirates Stadium, twice hitting the woodwork, but Arsenal thought they had gone ahead when Aaron Ramsey finished off a glorious through ball from Santi Cazorla.
However, the goal was ruled out - incorrectly, as television replays would prove - and with Liverpool having already gained from a beneficial offside call in their 1-0 win over Bournemouth last week, Wenger felt that luck had shone on them again.
"It was a regular goal. Even though it was a period of the game when we had the most problems defensively, I can't see why it was cancelled," he said. "It's clear and on that front, you cannot say that Liverpool can complain in the last week."
Wenger, notoriously myopic when it comes to contentious incidents involving his players, claimed that he could see "live" that Ramsey "could not be offside", but Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers did not dispute the claim.
Asked for his thoughts on the incident, the Northern Irishman smiled and said: "His shirt looked offside."
Arsenal have now gone two home games without scoring, but Wenger admitted to feeling relieved that none of Liverpool's first-half chances had gone in.
"I believe the West Ham game left a trace in our heads," said the Frenchman, whose side hit the post through Alexis Sanchez in the second half. "It was important tonight (Monday) not to lose, because you could see that was a shock for us and it was important to get that game out of the system."
Though unbeaten, Liverpool, who trail leaders Manchester City by two points, have scored only two goals in their three games to date, but having seen his side struggle defensively towards the end of last season, Rodgers was pleased with a third consecutive clean sheet.
"With my teams, the focus is always very much on the football element, but anyone who's followed my career (will know) it's very much about the intensity of how we press and that cohesion as a team," he said.
"That was something that drifted last season, for sure. So it was very important, especially with the number of new players coming in, that our defensive organisation was super organised.
"That will be the platform for us, with all our creative talent."
Liverpool were without captain Jordan Henderson and attacking midfielder Adam Lallana due to foot and thigh problems respectively. Rodgers said both players would be assessed over the course of the week.