Cape Town - Manager Unai Emery refused to be downbeat after Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Saturday and believes they are closer to the Reds than last season.
The Gunners were hammered 5-1 at Anfield back in December, so there was at least a slight improvement as far as the scoreline was concerned.
However Emery says the performance on the pitch from his players was also much better.
Even so, the Gunners were still under pressure for the vast majority of the game and faced 25 shots as the Reds dominated.
It took Liverpool until just before half-time to make the breakthrough, Joel Matip heading in.
Mohamed Salah’s double early in the second half threatened to make it another battering but Arsenal rallied and substitute Lucas Torreira scored a consolation.
Emery was not despondent though and preferred to take the positives out of the game.
“I think we showed character, also the impact with Lucas Torreira, with (Alexandre) Lacazatte and Mhiki (Henrikh Mkhitarayan) was good,” Emery said.
“Some players today made one step ahead, like (Joe) Willock, I think also it was a good match for (Nicolas) Pepe and Matteo (Guendouzi).
"(Dani) Ceballos struggled more than last week but it is one experience more for him.
“We need to be optimistic. I think we reduced the distance with Liverpool.
"At the moment it’s not enough but I think we can be, in some issues, positive.”