Report: Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal

The Gunners fell to their first defeat at the season after coming up against a relentless Liverpool at Anfield.

Having beaten Liverpool in their two previous meetings there was a sense of belief that the Gunners could upset the champions at Anfield. 

And Arsenal looked like they might do that after Alexandre Lacazette’s fortuitous opener but Sadio Mané and Andrew Robertson hit back for Liverpool.

The hosts spurned numerous chances to seal the victory and Lacazette missed a glorious chance that would have seen them snatch a hard-earned point.

Diogo Jota finally wrapped up all three points on his debut for Liverpool in the dying minutes.

Using the same defensive system that worked so well for them at the back end of last season, David Luiz and Kieran Tierney came into the back three with Ainsley Maitland-Niles at LWB. There was a surprise inclusion for Mohamed Elneny as the fourth change from last weekend’s victory over West Ham. 

Jürgen Klopp will not have wanted a third consecutive defeat to Arteta, who has been in charge for less than a year, and his team came out in inspired form but they were fortunate that their bright start wasn’t distinguished when Mané appeared to elbow Tierney in the face. 

The attacker tried to use his body to shield the ball but went in with his elbow and was lucky to have only been shown a yellow card. 

The hosts then continued to dominate proceedings and the Gunners had no answer for their insistent pressing. Mané shot straight at Bernd Leno and Mo Salah fired wide as Liverpool’s intricate play opened up spaces in the Arsenal defence before Héctor Bellerín deflected a fierce Trent Alexander-Arnold shot onto the crossbar, with Leno wrong-footed. 

Tierney was struggling to cope with Salah and Alexander-Arnold with Maitland-Niles and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang offering little support. However, when they managed to work it out from the left they scored.

Xhaka found Lacazette in space and the striker forwarded the ball into the path of Maitland-Niles. His cross was scuffed by Andrew Robertson and the ball fell kindly for Lacazette to open the scoring for the 100th goal of the new Premier League season.

It was just the beginning of another perfect game plan from Arsenal but Liverpool pegged them back within minutes. Salah shrugged off the challenge of Tierney and saw Leno parry his shot into the path of Mané for a simple tap-in. 

The game reverted back to Liverpool dominating and they eventually took the lead. Again it was created on Arsenal’s left. Salah and Alexander-Arnold combined before the latter’s cross found Robertson, who atoned for his earlier error to stab home.

Mané and Salah both tried their luck as Liverpool upped the pressure and the Gunners were pleased for the half-time whistle. 

Whatever Arteta said at half time seemed to have the desired effect as Arsenal looked a lot more assured and comfortable on the ball and gave Liverpool more to think about, although their attacking instincts left space for the Reds to exploit.

Dani Ceballos replaced Granit Xhaka shortly before the hour mark and the Spaniard cut the Liverpool defence open to put Lacazette one-on-one but the Frenchman’s effort was straight at Alisson. 

With Arsenal looking more dangerous Nicolas Pépé and Eddie Nketiah were introduced in place of Willian and Lacazette but it was Liverpool substitute Jota who made the telling impact as he sealed the triumph with a late third.

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