Liverpool exposed Arsenal’s weaknesses in brutal fashion, as the Anfield crowd were treated to a comprehensive 4-0 win over the visiting Gunners.

Arsene Wenger didn’t attempt to protect the dire performance from his players - and himself - after the game, but in reality, there was no conceivable excuse to explain the horror which unfolded over the 90 minutes.

It started with some questionable team calls from Wenger before the game even started. Record signing Alexandre Lacazette was benched, with Danny Welbeck taking the striking spot ahead of him and Olivier Giroud. Hector Bellerin was chosen to play as left wing-back, and Rob Holding was selected ahead of Captain Per Mertesacker and Shkodran Mustafi.

There can be no reason for square pegs in round holes with the squad we have. We don’t need players to adapt, we need them to perform. They failed to do so in spectacular fashion.

This match was different to the 5-0 and 6-1 thrashings of a few seasons back. Weaker squads and stronger opponents were at the fulcrum of those humiliations. This game was very much like the 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Crystal Palace last season - it was down to the lack of desire on the pitch.

Liverpool have a class attacking trio, but the rest of their team on paper does not match ours. Matches aren’t won on paper, and Jurgen Klopp’s charges showed this on every inch of the turf yesterday.

It took 17 minutes for the Reds to take the lead. A cross eluded every Arsenal defender and Roberto Firmino ghosted in to glance a header past Cech. It had been coming too, with our goalkeeper producing a couple of class saves to keep the scores level before Liverpool’s Brazilian striker opened the floodgates.

The only surprise was it took until five minutes from half time for Liverpool to score a second. Sadio Mane received the ball wide on the right and began to advance on the box, with Rob Holding backing off. Mane cut in with one touch and the space afforded to him was criminal. He then curled an effort into the far corner and Arsenal were staring down the barrel.

The second half was perhaps worse viewing for us Gooners. Twelve minutes after the restart, it was three. Hector Bellerin dallied after a repelled corner, leaving Mohamed Salah to snatch the ball from him, run half the length of the field unopposed and slot past Cech easily.

It was embarrassing, and it was about to get worse.

Second half sub put the seal on Arsenal’s doom with a far post header from Salah’s peachy cross, and they were more than worth the scoreline.

The trouble is, so were Arsenal.

We deserved a far heavier defeat, and it pains me to type that. It wasn’t just our defence which paved the way to this scar-inducing fright-fest. It was all over the pitch. Chief among them was our non-existent midfield.

Granit Xhaka had his worst game in an Arsenal shirt. Apparently he was second in the league before this game for passes in the final third. Fantastic stuff, but his defensive duties could have been performed better by a packet of peanuts. No tracking back, no effort, a weak-willed, spineless display.

It comes to something when you know Francis Coquelin could do much better. At least he shows desire.

Hector Bellerin wasn’t much better, but he was at least playing on the wrong side.

Aaron Ramsey is a great attacking asset, but he was merely a swinging gate for Liverpool to saunter through.

Then there was Alexis.

Granted, it was his first game back. Still, he added precisely nothing to our play. Running around like a headless chicken may look like desire, but when you know a player is capable of much more, it is clear he was operating at less than 50% of what he can do.

Mesut Ozil too was running around - and he did track back. The salient point with Alexis and Ozil though, is that this pair are our trump cards, and they should be turning around difficult games. Instead, they seemed defenceless in the face of Liverpool.

We as fans deserve far better, and Arsene Wenger is as much to blame as the players. This sort of insipid display is becoming far too frequent. Can you imagine Manchester United, City or Chelsea putting in a match of this nature once or twice a season?

The bottom line is that this has become acceptable, and it simply can’t be. We need to rid ourselves of this soft cushion which allows players and the manager to post in these games.

Not good enough, and the transfer market beckons.