Arteta defends Xhaka after Arsenal’s draw at Anfield

Mikel Arteta refused to blame Granit Xhaka after Arsenal let a two-goal lead slip at Liverpool.

The Gunners were in complete control after goals from Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus.

But the home crowd were riled by a clash between Gunners midfielder Xhaka and Trent Alexander-Arnold, which sparked the home side into life when they had been very much second best.

Liverpool pulled a goal back shortly afterwards and pundit Jamie Carragher afterwards described Xhaka’s actions as “absolutely idiotic” as the incident seemed to alter the course of the game.

But Arteta said: “I don’t know if that’s the case. We had a big chance after that and if we score and it’s 3-0 then maybe the crowd doesn’t get too excited.

“After that, they scored a goal and that changes the momentum. But we still have to come out in the second half and play more.”

Speaking at his post-match press conference, Gunners boss Arteta added: “The lesson is to stick to what we’ve done in the first half. That’s the way we have to continue to play and if we do that we will win a lot of games.”

The result left Premier League leaders Arsenal six rather than eight points clear of second-placed Manchester City, who have a game in hand and currently have a superior goal difference.

Arteta admitted that his players saw the outcome as two points dropped rather than a point gained.

“When you concede at the end, always dropped two points,” he said.

“But being fair, Liverpool had four big chances they could have scored from and they missed a penalty.”