Jürgen Klopp lost himself in the moment. The Liverpool manager beat his chest and, in the frenzy, he knocked his glasses from his face. Adam Lallana had just put his team 2-1 up early in the second half and, when the passions had cooled, Klopp fished around on the ground in order to reacquaint himself with his lenses.
It was an afternoon when Klopp and everybody else inside the Emirates Stadium could rub their eyes in disbelief. Liverpool were irresistible for a golden period after the interval, which climaxed in Sadio Mané, the £30m signing from Southampton, fizzing home their fourth goal. Klopp was central to the celebrations on the touchline, allowing Mané to clamber on to his back. He would later say that he regretted that. The game was not over, even if it felt like it was.
Liverpool were vibrant and clinical, with their other expensive new boy, Gini Wijnaldum – the £23m purchase from Newcastle United – also prominent. Then, there was Philippe Coutinho who, not for the first time at this venue, was a joy to watch. He had equalised for 1-1 in first-half stoppage time with a scintillating 30-yard free-kick while he also scored his team’s third goal.
It was some game to open the season in north London but it was enjoyable only for Liverpool, where it feels that something is stirring. Klopp restored belief and unity last season and, after a full pre-season in which to hammer home his high-intensity methods and play the transfer market, he has talked of this as being his team. There were defensive glitches on display but the optimism could surge.
For Arsenal, there was bitter frustration and the same old questions, despite a gallant attempt to bounce back off the canvas after Mané’s goal for 4-1. The substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored a fine solo goal and when Calum Chambers flicked home a header for 4-3, there could be thoughts of the crazy 4-4 draw between the teams at Anfield in 2009.
An Arsenal equaliser, however, never looked like materialising and, instead, there was the familiar sound of a chorus of boos from the home crowd at full-time. Arsène Wenger had been without seven players because of fitness issues and his makeshift central-defensive pairing of Chambers and Rob Holding, the new signing from Bolton Wanderers, was left exposed, although he did not blame them.
Arsenal started brightly and they were the better team in a first half during which Theo Walcott missed a penalty and then scored the opening goal. But it was shocking to see how sharply the tide turned and, yet again, there could be questions about the team’s mental fortitude.