A solid first half performance by Liverpool was enough for Jürgen Klopp’s side to claim their third Premier League win in a row against a stubborn Arsenal side at Anfield.
Klopp made one change from the XI that triumphed 2-0 over Chelsea, with Joe Gomez coming in at centre back alongside Virgil Van Dijk for the injured Jordan Henderson. Marquee signing Thiago Alcantara was left out of the match day squad with doubts surrounding his fitness, however, the manager did confirm he would be back following the international break.
The opening exchanges of the game saw the Reds boss possession and almost take the lead through a Van Dijk header that required David Luiz’s intervention to clear it off the line.
Liverpool quickly followed up the early attempt with another clear cut chance as Sadio Mané, who probably should’ve scored, caught a volley inside the area that went straight to Bernd Leno in the Arsenal goal. Either side of the keeper and the Reds would have likely taken the lead.
By the 20th minute it began to look like ‘one of those days’ in football where the ball just won’t get into the net as a Trent Alexander-Arnold volley took a wicked deflection, leaving Leno in no-mans land, only to cannon off the crossbar and out to an Arsenal defender.
Despite their dominance and very much against the run of play, Arsenal took the lead in the 25th minute through Alexandre Lacazette following a miss-kick from the usually-assured Andrew Robertson.
A quick counterattack down Liverpool’s right flank saw Ainsley Maitland-Niles deliver a weak ball into the box which looked routine for the Liverpool defence. A slight deflection off Van Dijk caused Robertson all kinds of problems and the left back sliced the ball behind him and into the path of the French striker who with a slice of luck beat Alisson. 1-0.
In seasons gone by Liverpool would’ve struggled to find a way through, however Klopp’s men, who played as if a fire was lit beneath them, continued to press forward eventually breaching the stubborn Arsenal rear guard and equalising through Mané in the 28th minute.
A powerful run by Mohamed Salah down the right saw the Egyptian beat Kieran Tierney for strength before unleashing a powerful effort at Leno. The German keeper could only parry the shot into the path of Mané who arrived unmarked and tapped the ball into the empty net. 1-1.
The equaliser seemed to deflate the visitors and sensing blood in the water Liverpool pressed their advantage and took the lead in the 34th minute through Robertson as the Scotland captain made up for his defensive blunder.
Again coming down the right flank, a typically inch-perfect delivery from Alexander-Arnold took out Arsenal’s defence as the ball curled to the back post where Robertson was in wait. The flying full-back took what seemed like a heavy touch, however, his pace saw him get to the ball before the diving Leno, who could only watch as he was chipped by the defender. 2-1.
The Reds continued to press and harry the Arsenal defence for the remainder of the first half and came out for the second phase of play in similar fashion.
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With this being said Arsenal grew into the game as the clock ticked on and once again threatened on the counter with Liverpool needing to call on their Brazilian goalkeeper to deny Lacazette who snuck in behind the back line for a 1-on-1.
Alisson again proved his worth as the game moved into its final third with the Brazilian number 1 reading the game expertly and rushing off his line to cut out a through ball destined for Edward Nketiah.
Into the final 10 minutes and the Reds began knocking the ball about and keeping possession as they looked to see out the clock. With this being said, Klopp’s side showed they were still capable of causing danger as Diogo Jota was played in behind but could only find the side netting.
The debutant did score with his next effort, however, as a headed clearance from David Luiz found the no.20, who coolly dispatched an effort into the corner.
With the points all but secured the game was played out at a decent tempo, before Craig Pawson blew the whistle on the 93rd minute.
A satisfactory night’s work for the Reds, who notched what has become in recent times a typical win over Arsenal.
Liverpool are next in action on Thursday night where they will take on Arsenal again, this time in a Carabao Cup 4th round tie at Anfield.