Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal: Super sub Diogo Jota among winners for dominant Reds

Diogo Jota’s first goal for Liverpool finished off a perfect evening with their 100% record still intact. OLIVER LAWRENSON picks out the Reds’ winners and losers from the game.

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After the footballing masterclass from a week ago at Stamford Bridge, Jürgen Klopp’s side managed to produce an even better performance to put Mikel Arteta’s side to the sword.

It was a showing to remember for many Reds fans, as the score line doesn’t properly reflect the display of complete dominance that Liverpool showed throughout the contest. The home goals tally could have easily been upwards of three.

After the Community Shield defeat at the start of the campaign, it was a revenge mission for many on the field in red, as they bullied their Arsenal counterparts throughout the 90 minutes. Even without Henderson and Thiago, it was another stellar showing from the defending champions that has many fans thinking, what can be achieved by this side if they continue in this deadly fashion. 

After the Carabao Cup fixture in midweek, Klopp reverted back to a more familiar line up. One change was made from the side who defeated Chelsea in the capital, with Joe Gomez returning from injury to take the place of club captain Jordan Henderson. 

Here are the winners and losers from the game:


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Winners

Diogo Jota

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The image alone shows what it means to score your first goal for Liverpool football club, and what a time to pick it. With the Reds all over Arsenal, but the game finely balanced at 2-1, Jota was sent on to continue the press and to kill the game off if an opportunity arose. He did everything and more that Klopp asked of him and deserved his strike based off his 15-minute cameo. 

Coming into the front three of Liverpool is never easy. Trying to follow in the impressive footsteps of Sadio Mané is even harder. The Portuguese forward however took this in his stride by grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck and continuing to put Rob Holding and co under severe pressure. 

His goal was a lovely taken volley that was guided with pin point accuracy, into the bottom corner past the despairing Bernd Leno. The confidence to take the volley on after missing two other glaring chances shows the type of player the 23-year-old is, and one that Klopp will be fortunate enough to call upon moving forwards. 

With the front three picking themselves, it will be extremely hard for Jota to break into that for the foreseeable future. His game will lie when he is called upon for the last 20-30 minutes of each game. With a big price tag attached he will be expected to produce something when he is called upon. Tonight, shows he is up for the challenge and a reliable forward option at that. 

Sadio Mané

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He is just unstoppable. Game, upon game, upon game, he produces something for Klopp’s side. The consistency in which he produces match winning displays is just staggering. He surely has to be regarded as one of the best wingers – if not players – in world football. No argument. 

Think it is safe to say that Héctor Bellerín and Rob Holding are both glad they won’t be seeing him until next year. Mané destroyed the pair of them. He was a complete nuisance all night, forcing the Arsenal defenders to consistently run back towards their own goal to stop the perpetual threat the Senegal international posed. 

His goal was richly deserved, a tap in to bring Liverpool level after Leno steered a Salah effort into his path. It could have easily been more with team mates either failing to see or pick him out when he became free in front of goal. The speed in which he attacks defenders is a sight to behold and something Klopp and his staff are utilising so efficiently in the current Reds game plan.

He is arguably Liverpool’s most important player alongside van Dijk with what he provides the team on matchday. The way Klopp has this team pressing now further emphasises his importance to the side. No wonder he was upset after being taken off the way he is playing. His effort is something many fans see clear as day and fully appreciate everything he does down that left channel.

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Joe Gomez

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What a way to return from injury. After Fabinho’s performance last weekend at centre half, there were murmurs that he could remain there with Gomez making way. Klopp decided to stick with his tried and trusted and returned the England international to the starting line-up. He was right to do so as he produced one of his best performances in a red shirt. 

He dominated Aubameyang and Lacazette all evening. Not giving them a single sniff when he was around them. Nullifying any threat that either posed before it even became evidently visible to supporters. It was the Gomez of last season, who combined with van Dijk to form a formidable partnership that strikers feared week after week. 

His highlight was a clearance from five yards out that left many amazed by the quality and effectiveness he had produced. With a dangerous ball fired across the area from Willian, Gomez – facing his own goal – produced a back-kick volley clearing the ball well away from the danger area. His clearance rightfully garnered congratulations from his colleagues and opponents alike, whilst pundits praised his intuition to pull that off in a critical defensive situation. 

After a rough patch at the end of last season it is great to see 23-year-old returning to his peak for this game. The ability he has shown on countless occasions shows he is a very important part of this Liverpool machine. If he continues to produce performances like this, several Premier League strikers will find themselves short of shooting practice when they face the Reds this season.

Mohamed Salah

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He was like a puppet master who had all of his opponents at the end of his strings. Once again, the Egyptian proved his world class quality in a scintillating performance that had everything apart from a goal. His play was mesmerising, leaving Arsenal players grasping at thin air all evening. 

Kieran Tierney had a particularly difficult evening, with Salah’s onslaught coming down his channel, beating the Scottish international at every opportunity. It got to the point where the former Celtic man was begging Aubameyang to track back and support him. Even when the forward did retreat, it didn’t stop the relentless pressure upon him from the magical winger. 

His vision and game management were on point all evening. It was another dazzling display from the 28-year-old, that will leave the other Premier League sides extremely concerned by the strong start to the season by the former Roma man. With Salah now delivering performances to an extremely high standard on a weekly basis, it is an exciting time for Liverpool fans to see what he can deliver over the next few games.

Losers

With a performance like that no one can be singled out for any criticism.  

From Alisson’s crucial saves, to another commanding Fabinho display, to a tactically astute Roberto Firmino who called all the shots up front, it was truly breath-taking. It was a game that needs to be remembered in an extremely positive light and therefore this section will reflect that.


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