Football Features

The XIs from Arsenal’s last Anfield win show just how far Liverpool have come

By Steve Jennings

The last Arsenal team to beat Liverpool at Anfield

Published: 11:02, 23 August 2019

Liverpool are unbeaten in their last six meetings with Arsenal at Anfield going into this Saturday’s late kick-off in the Premier League.

The Gunners haven’t won at the home of Liverpool since a 2-0 victory in September 2012 when goals from Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla sealed three points early in the 2012/13 season.

Much has changed since then: the two managers, Brendan Rodgers and Arsene Wenger, have been replaced by Jurgen Klopp and Unai Emery; Arsenal have won three more FA Cups; and there is the small matter of Liverpool becoming European champions.

With that in mind, it’s interesting to look back at the line-ups from that game seven years ago in order to determine just how far both clubs have come. We delve into the XIs below, revealing where those players are now.

Liverpool

Goalkeeper: Pepe Reina

Where is he now? AC Milan

This was to be Reina’s final season as Liverpool’s first-choice goalkeeper. The Spaniard was replaced by Simon Mignolet in the summer of 2013 after joining Napoli on loan. One year at Bayern Munich was followed by a permanent move to Napoli, and last year he took the decision to stay in Italy with AC Milan.

Right-back: Glen Johnson

Where is he now? Retired

Johnson ended up making 200 appearances for Liverpool and earned 54 England caps, but his performances gradually declined as fitness problems caught up with. He was released at the end of a three-year stint with Stoke City last year and subsequently announced his retirement from playing in January.

Centre-back: Martin Skrtel

Where is he now? Atalanta

Skrtel would go on to play a key role in Liverpool’s title challenges the following season, scoring seven league goals in 2013/14. He left the Reds for Fenerbahce in 2016 and earlier this month joined up with Italian side Atalanta after reportedly turning down the chance to work with former teammate Steven Gerrard at Rangers.

Centre-back: Daniel Agger

Where is he now? Retired

Having retired at the age of 31 in 2016, Agger invested in his brother’s sewerage company, KloAgger, and a tattoo business. The Dane, who has the letters YNWA for You’ll Never Walk Alone on his knuckles, trained as a tattoo artist in his spare time during his playing days, during which he made 232 appearances before returning to his former club Brondby in 2014.

Left-back: Jose Enrique

Where is he now? Retired

Yet another former Liverpool defender who retired relatively early at just 31, Enrique struggled for game time at Anfield as a result of constant problems with his knee. The Spaniard was diagnosed with a serious brain tumour in 2018 but received the all-clear earlier this year. Real Zaragoza was his only club after Liverpool.

Central midfield: Joe Allen

Where is he now? Stoke City

Rodgers deemed Allen talented enough to take the midfielder with him from Swansea to Liverpool. However, things didn’t quite work out, with Allen playing a bit-part role at Anfield before leaving for Stoke City in 2016. The Welshman’s career highlight is perhaps being included in the team of the tournament after an impressive Euro 2016 campaign.

Central midfield: Steven Gerrard

Where is he now? Rangers manager

Gerrard will always rue failing to win the Premier League with Liverpool after coming incredibly close in 2013/14. But equally his exploits, most notably as captain in the club’s 2005 Champions League glory will always be remembered.

Now, as manager of Rangers, it is safe to assume Gerrard will be hoping his coaching career eventually takes him back to Anfield, where he can challenge for that long-awaited domestic title all over again.

Central midfield: Nuri Sahin

Where is he now? Werder Bremen

Touted as a future star for Real Madrid upon joining the La Liga giants in 2011, Sahin was sent on loan to Liverpool just a year later for an equally disappointing spell. He eventually returned to Borussia Dortmund and is now turning out for Werder Bremen in Germany.

Forward: Raheem Sterling

Where is he now? Manchester City

Sterling was but a budding teenager in September 2012, thrown into big games by Rodgers because of his obvious ability. His talent eventually saw him seek a bigger contract and more frequent trophy tilts, something Manchester City were apparently more able to offer than Liverpool. He scored his first goal against his former club in the Community Shield in August and could well be a part of only the second-ever team win a third successive Premier League winners’ medal this season.

Forward: Fabio Borini

Where is he now? AC Milan

Another player Rodgers had worked with at Swansea, Borini failed to hold down a place in the Liverpool side, scoring just three goals for the club in 38 appearances. A spell with Sunderland followed and he is now back with one of Europe’s most reputable clubs, AC Milan.

Forward: Luis Suarez

Where is he now? Barcelona

For Suarez, 2012/13 marked the rise of an elite player. He found the net 30 times across all competitions and bagged 31 the following year, which of course could have been more if not for a lengthy bite-induced ban. Barcelona came calling in the summer of 2014, and it was at the Camp Nou where he formed a fearsome trident with Lionel Messi and Neymar. The Uruguayan is on track to score his 200th goal for Barcelona by the end of the current campaign.

Liverpool substitutes: Brad Jones, Sebastian Coates, Martin Kelly, Jamie Carragher, Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson, Jonjo Shelvey

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Arsenal

Goalkeeper: Vito Mannone

Where is he now? Minnesota United (on loan from Reading)

Injuries to Polish duo Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski gave Mannone a rare run in the Arsenal team in 2012/13. He didn’t do enough to convince Arsene Wenger he was a long-term solution between the sticks and was sold to Sunderland in the summer of 2013. The Italian is now on loan in the US with Minnesota United, having lost his place as Reading’s first-choice goalkeeper.

Right-back: Carl Jenkinson

Where is he now? Nottingham Forest

Jenkinson was an Arsenal player for eight years before leaving for Nottingham Forest this summer, making just 70 appearances in north London. Eight of those games came as recently as last season, but the right-back was finally deemed surplus to requirements – properly this time – in the summer and joined Championship side Nottingham Forest on a permanent deal.

Centre-back: Per Mertesacker

Where is he now? Arsenal academy manager

Mertesacker retired in the summer of 2018 to take up a role as Arsenal’s academy manager, a title he still holds. 2012/13 was the German’s second season in England, and he went on to make 221 appearances for Arsenal across all competitions, helping the club to win three FA Cups during his playing days.

Centre-back: Thomas Vermaelen

Where is he now? Vissel Kobe

This summer, Vermaelen followed in the footsteps of another Barcelona player, Andreas Iniesta, by leaving the Camp Nou for Japanese side Vissel Kobe. Vermaelen was a leader at the back for Arsenal but injuries took their toll in 2013/13, which made Barcelona’s interest in the Belgian somewhat surprising. He played 53 times in four years for the La Liga giants.

Left-back: Kieran Gibbs

Kieran Gibbs Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Arsenal

Where is he now? West Brom

Gibbs spent 12 seasons at Arsenal without ever really becoming a regular, although 2012/13 was one of his most active campaigns – he played 27 times in the Premier League. His first season away from the club ended in heartbreak as West Brom suffered relegation to the Championship. He remains with the Baggies and will once again be dreaming of a Premier League return this term.

Central midfield: Abou Diaby

Where is he now? Retired

Many speculate that injuries were all that stopped Abou Diaby from becoming an Arsenal great. The hugely talented midfielder always impressed when fit but only made more than 16 league appearances in two of his 10 seasons in north London. He finished his career with Marseille at the age of 32.

Central midfield: Mikel Arteta

Where is he now? Manchester City first-team coach

Arteta was heavily linked with a return to Arsenal as the club’s new manager when Wenger left in the summer of 2018. The Gunners opted for the experience of Emery instead, allowing Arteta to continue learning under Pep Guardiola as the Manchester City boss’ right-hand man. Arteta captained Arsenal before retiring and teaming up with Guardiola in 2016.

Attacking midfield: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Where is he now? Liverpool

Switching from one of Saturday’s opponents to the other, Oxlade-Chamberlain eventually became an important player for Liverpool after joining from Arsenal 2017. However, the midfielder suffered a serious knee injury and was ruled out for the entirety of last season. Despite being well-liked by the majority of Arsenal fans, he rarely nailed down a place in the team at the Emirates.

Attacking midfield: Santi Cazorla

Where is he now? Villarreal

A huge fan favourite at Arsenal, Cazorla is another extremely talented player who was plagued by injuries during his time in England. The ambipedal Spaniard played just eight times across his final two seasons at the the Emirates, returning to Villarreal last summer where he has regained some of the sharpness that has evaded him in recent years. He scored the second goal against Liverpool in September 2012.

Forward: Lukas Podolski

Where is he now? Vissel Kobe

The other scorer 12 years ago was Podolski, who, like Vermaelen, chose Vissel Kobe as his latest club, signing for the Japanese side two years ago. The German World Cup-winner is perhaps better known for his international career than his club exploits, but he was a useful player for Arsenal all the same, scoring 31 goals across his three seasons with the club.

Forward: Olivier Giroud

Where is he now? Chelsea

Giroud had joined Arsenal the summer before from recently-crowned Ligue 1 champions Montpellier when he played up front in the Gunners’ last win at the Emirates. He would go on to score a respectable 73 goals in 180 games across all competitions while contributing to three FA Cup wins. Giroud garnered affection among fans (if not certain former players) before eventually joining London rivals Chelsea in January of 2018. There, he has won another FA Cup as well as the Europa League, at Arsenal’s expense last season.

Arsenal substitutes: Emiliano Martinez, Andre Santos, Laurent Koscielny, Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Gervinho

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