Action Images via Reuters / Lee Smith Livepic

Arsene Wenger hasn’t seen anything like the criticism he’s in line to face after this one if things don’t change in the second stanza.

The Arsenal coach made the ballsy decision to bench Alexis Sanchez for Saturday’s trip to Anfield, and – while it surely wasn’t the only reason – his Gunners were ripped apart by Liverpool in the opening 45 minutes.

Related: Arsenal’s Sanchez benched vs. Liverpool; Ozil out with illness

With Arsenal’s midfield committed to completely eschewing its defensive responsibility, the Reds found massive spaces to take advantage of; Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino were the chief benefactors.

The former set up the Brazilian to open the scoring early, and Jurgen Klopp’s men doubled the lead late in the first half when Firmino returned the favour, teeing up Mane for a ferocious second.

Shocking as the decision was to leave Sanchez on the bench, he almost certainly wouldn’t have had any impact on either tally.