Arsenal edge Liverpool in five-goal thriller, send massive statement as title contenders

LONDON– Mikel Arteta’s side proved why they top the Premier League table after beating Liverpool 3-2 in the Emirates. Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli opened the scoring in the first minute of the game and despite equalizing twice, Liverpool fell behind.

– Report: Arsenal 3-2 Liverpool | Premier League table | Upcoming appointments

The Gunners remain a point ahead of Manchester City and 14 points clear of Jurgen Klopp’s side, a huge gap for the Reds to recover as the season progresses.

Despite goals from Darwin Nunez and Firmino and tactical changes from Klopp, it wasn’t enough against an excellent Arsenal side.

GO TO: Player Ratings | Best/worst performance | Highlights and Notable Moments | Quotes after the game | Key Statistics | Upcoming appointments

Fast reaction:

1. Martinelli and Bukayo Saka shine as Arsenal head towards title contender status

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for Mikel Arteta to deny that Arsenal are in this season’s title race. Last weekend’s win over Tottenham was impressive, but beating a Liverpool side who have achieved so much under Jurgen Klopp feels like the clear victory this side have been waiting for. Emirates Stadium has rarely sounded louder, inspired by the wild energy of Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Jesus, currently a threesome in devastating form.

Contrasted with another muted performance from Mohamed Salah, who was on the sidelines throughout the game and Luis Diaz was sidelined through injury, it was another occasion where Sadio Mane was sorely missed. Arsenal benefited from an inviting fixture list early in the season but they have built positive momentum which has helped see them earn deserved victories over back-to-back weekends against two top-four rivals. Manchester City are clear title favorites but Arsenal are fast reaching the point where they could prove to be Pep Guardiola’s main rivals. Special mention also goes to Saka, who successfully converted the most important penalty he has taken for England since failing in the Euro 2020 final.

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2. Watch the gap as Arsenal are 14 points clear of Liverpool

It’s only October and most teams have only played nine Premier League games. Liverpool have a game on their hands. But the sheer size of the gap between Arsenal and Liverpool should still be a major worry for Klopp as he now sits at 14 points.

A sign of Arsenal’s continued threat was 46 touches inside the Liverpool box – more than in the last five league games combined (44). Liverpool have only conceded a higher number once under Klopp: 48 against Man City in November 2019.

The unprecedented situation of a World Cup splitting the domestic season in two makes the second half of the season even more unpredictable and as such points on the board could now prove even more important than usual. Liverpool have plenty of time to recover but Klopp was already disappointed with his side’s title chances before this defeat and is now 13 points behind Manchester City and even ten behind third-placed Tottenham. This is now Liverpool’s worst start in a decade.

3. System change does little to stop Liverpool’s defensive mistakes

Against Rangers midweek, Jurgen Klopp strayed from his proven 4-3-3 form for the first time in 79 games and played 4-2-3-1. They secured one win and one goal against, but using the same formation in this much tougher test was a big gamble to rouse his team from their defensive slumber.

Despite having a measure of control in the middle part of the first half, Liverpool booked the opening 45 minutes with two terrible defenders, both of which involved Trent Alexander-Arnold, whose weaknesses have been regularly exposed this season. Liverpool have now conceded their first goal in 10 of 12 games this season and Klopp’s quest for some form of stability continues.

Player Ratings

Arsenal: Ramsdale 7, White 6, Saliba 7, Gabriel 6, Tomiyasu 7, Partey 7, Saka 8, Odegaard 7, Xhaka 6, Martinelli 9, Jesus 8.
Subtitle: Tierney 6, Nketiah 6, Vieira 6.

Liverpool: Alisson 6, Alexander-Arnold 5, Matip 6, Van Dijk 6, Tsimikas 6, Henderson 5, Thiago 7, Salah 5, Jota 7, Diaz 7, Nunez 7.
Subtitle: Firmino 7, Gomez 6, Konate 6, Fabinho 6, Elliott 6.

Best and worst performers

Best: Martinelli

Klopp often singles out Martinelli as a top talent and he proved right today in a relentless performance that rocked Liverpool.

WORST: Alexander Arnold

Both Arsenal goals came from his cross but the second goal was particularly embarrassing from his point of view. An ankle injury prompted his half-time substitution but could also have been a relief.

Highlights and notable moments

Martinelli opened the scoring in the first minute to give Arsenal the lead at the Emirates.

Darwin Nunez scored his second goal of the season, ending a goal drought since August 6.

Firmino’s goal put Liverpool 2-2 again.

Saka gave Arsenal the lead again after scoring from the penalty spot.

After the game: what the managers, players said

Jürgen Klopp: “We’re not in the race. Imagine me sitting here and thinking, ‘We’re almost there, wait a minute.’ See, we’ve seen a lot of things, so we’re struggling at the moment, but we gave the team in form, the league leaders, massive problems today, also in a really bad situation for us, with early substitutions and stuff like that we’ve got them causes real problems. That is also the truth. We have to keep going.”

Key Stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information)

– Gabriel Martinelli’s goal is Arsenal’s first in the first minute (58sec) of a Premier League game since May 2013 (Theo Walcott, 20sec)

– Darwin Nunez has gone 304 minutes without a goal for Liverpool in all competitions (1st goal since 6 August v Fulham on Matchday 1)

– Bukayo Saka is a perfect 3/3 on penalties in the Premier League

– This is already the most goals scored in a game between Liverpool and Arsenal in a competition since October 2019 when both teams drew 5-5 in a legendary Carabao Cup game

– Gabriel Martinelli is the youngest Arsenal player to score and assist in the Premier League against Liverpool (21 years, 113 days)

– Roberto Firmino: 6 goals in the last 5 PL games. Arsenal is the team he has scored the most goals against in his PL career (10)


Arsenal: The Gunners next play Bodo/Glimt in the Europa League on October 13, followed by a visit to Leeds United in the Premier League on October 16 and a home game against PSV on October 20. Arsenal have started well in domestic and European competitions and look like favorites to win the Europa League group.

Liverpool: The Reds meet Rangers in the Champions League on October 12 after beating them 2-0 last week before hosting an in-form Premier League Man City on October 16, followed by a home game against West Ham United. Liverpool will be hoping to turn things around after a stuttering start to the season and points against top sides like Arsenal and Man City will provide a massive boost. Arsenal edge Liverpool in five-goal thriller, send massive statement as title contenders

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