Arsene Wenger admitted his decision to drop Alexis Sanchez had backfired, but the Arsenal manager blamed "cheap goals" for his side's damaging 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Saturday.
Wenger opted to leave star striker Sanchez on the bench for the first half at Anfield and the move failed miserably as Liverpool swept into a two-goal lead.
The Gunners boss sent on Sanchez at half-time and the Chilean immediately provided the assist as Arsenal's Danny Welbeck reduced the deficit.
It was too late to spark an Arsenal fightback however and Wenger's side crashed out of the top four after a third defeat in their last four league games.
Wenger conceded the Sanchez decision had proved a mistake, but he also turned the blame on his players.
"Yes (it did backfire), but I felt the strikers suffered in the first half and we didn't dominate in the midfield. It is always debatable," he said.
"We had problems getting into the rhythm of the first half. We conceded cheap goals, direct balls from the goalkeeper and you do not expect that in a game like this.
"We came back in the second half, responded well, but didn't perform at our level in the first half."
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was delighted by a commanding display that erased the memory of Monday's lacklustre 3-1 loss at Leicester and lifted his team into third place.
"It was one of the best games we have played so far because of the strength of the opponent," he said.
"We did really well. We had hard words after the defeat at Leicester. We analysed it and that wasn't enjoyable.
"We had another opportunity and we took it today. All of them played a fantastic game. It's the roller coaster of the Premier League."