Mikel Arteta admits the gap in quality between Liverpool and Arsenal was glaringly apparent despite inflicting a rare defeat on the Premier League champions.

The Reds tumbled to only their fourth league loss in more than two years when they lost 2-1 at the Emirates on Wednesday night.

Despite enjoying more than 70% possession and firing 24 shots on goal, Liverpool gifted two first-half strikes to the hosts after blunders from Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker.

And despite acknowledging the difference in class between the sides, Arteta believes there was one area where his players have matched the European and world champions.

Regarding his team's defensive performance, he said: "We knew that, with the difference between the two teams, we need to play that way to get the points. They (the players) have shown they can do it.

"It wasn't part of the gameplan obviously, but at the moment you can see in many areas the gap between the two teams and what we have to achieve and the areas we have to improve.

"There is one area where we caught them, with our belief, accountability and desire and passion. These players play for every single ball."

While Arsenal defended stoutly, Arteta accepted fortune had played a part although he pointed to his players prompting the mistakes from the Liverpool backline.

"That is part of football," he said. "In a collective sport there are a lot of individual battles that have to be played.

Must-read Liverpool FC news

"We forced mistakes and they made them, and that makes a difference in the game.

"Unfortunately, with the level of dominance that Liverpool had, the way they controlled every aspect of play, there are going to be little moments and big moments where you are going to have to defend very close to your area.

"We knew that, we were prepared for that and the boys were terrific.

"Sometimes we did it really well and sometimes we had moments of luck."