Arsene Wenger encouraged by Rob Holding's Arsenal display vs. Liverpool
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has praised newcomer Rob Holding as "one of the positives" from the Gunners' 4-3 loss to Liverpool on Sunday.
Wenger had to start with the 20-year-old Holding and 21-year-old Calum Chambers as his centre-back pairing because of injuries, and Arsenal's defence were picked apart three times in quick succession in the second half as Jurgen Klopp's men stormed into a 4-1 lead at the Emirates.
It was the kind of Premier League debut that could easily knock a young player's confidence, but Wenger said his centre-backs were not to blame for the goals and insisted he had been impressed by Holding.
"I think he did very well overall. He was one of the positives of our game," Wenger said about the summer signing from Bolton. "He has shown intelligence and quality in defending and quality in passing forward and overall I think it's a very positive game [for him]."
After the game, Wenger said Arsenal had "paid for a lack of experience at the back" but also added: "If you look well at the goals, it's not necessarily our defenders who cost us the goals today."
It is unclear when Holding could get another chance to start a league game as Arsenal could have Laurent Koscielny back in the squad for next weekend's trip to champions Leicester, while the Gunners are also in talks with Valencia over a deal for Germany international Shkodran Mustafi.
And despite the disappointing start to the Gunners' season, Wenger sounded optimistic about his team's chances.
"I'm convinced that there's a lot to come from this team and from this group and we have to recover from that blow and prepare for our next game," he said.
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.