Arsenal clinched a 3-1 win over 10-player Liverpool in a pulsating game at the Emirates Stadium to move within two points of the Premier League leaders and blow the title race wide open.
The hosts dominated much of the contest but gifted Liverpool a route back into the game when a defensive mix-up on the stroke of half-time saw Gabriel Magalhaes turn into his own net to cancel out Bukayo Saka’s early opener.
Arsenal continued to push, though, and went back in front when Gabriel Martinelli turned into an empty net after Liverpool’s Alisson Becker had charged off his line and failed to clear a long ball.
Jurgen Klopp’s side, unbeaten in their previous 15 Premier League games, had Ibrahima Konate sent off before substitute Leandro Trossard wrapped up a huge win for the Gunners in stoppage time, finishing smartly through Alisson’s legs from an acute angle.
The victory sees Arsenal move back into second place above Manchester City, who face Brentford on Monday Night Football, and ensures Liverpool taste defeat in the Premier League for the first time since September.
Arsenal: Raya (6), White (7), Saliba (6), Gabriel (6), Zinchenko (6), Rice (8), Jorginho (8), Odegaard (7), Saka (7), Martinelli (8), Havertz (7).
Subs: Kiwior (7), Trossard (8), Nelson (7).
Liverpool: Alisson (5), Alexander-Arnold (5), Van Dijk (5), Konate (4), Gomez (5), Mac Allister (7), Jones (6), Gravenberch (6), Diaz (6), Gakpo (6), Jota (6).
Subs: Nunez (6), Robertson (6), Elliott (6), Thiago (6).
Player of the match: Jorginho
How Arsenal emerged victorious in thriller
The game was a frenetic and absorbing affair from the start. Arsenal survived an early scare when a heavy touch from Diogo Jota prevented the Liverpool forward from racing through on goal, but the hosts soon began to dominate.
Martinelli was their main source of danger against the returning Trent Alexander-Arnold and he was unfortunate not to create the opener when, following an electrifying break, Saka glanced his wicked cross wide from close range when it looked easier to score.
- Arsenal: Gabriel Jesus was absent having suffered a setback in training, with Kai Havertz starting in his place. Jorginho came in for Emile Smith Rowe.
- Liverpool: Trent Alexander-Arnold started but Darwin Nunez was only on the bench and Dominik Szoboszlai missed out due to injury. Thiago made the bench for the first time since last April.
The miss did not deter Saka, though, his opener arriving minutes later when he slammed home the rebound after Martin Odegaard’s pass had sent Kai Havertz sprinting through a huge gap in Liverpool’s defence, with Alisson’s initial save proving in vain.
Arsenal kept coming, hounding Liverpool high up the pitch, with one turnover almost resulting in a second goal as Van Dijk was forced into a vital block from Odegaard.
Arsenal’s dominance in a stat
Arsenal’s total of 3.52 expected goals was the highest xG Liverpool have faced in a Premier League game since such data was recorded.
It was one-way traffic, with centre-back Gabriel seeing a low effort held by Alisson and Martinelli having an effort blocked by Konate after a clever pass by the excellent Jorginho.
But Arsenal failed to extend their lead and their fine work was undone on the stroke of half-time when William Saliba’s attempts to shield a long ball back to David Raya allowed Luis Diaz to get a toe in and poke it into the net off Gabriel.
Liverpool sought to carry the momentum in the second half, with Alexis Mac Allister and Curtis Jones going close straight after the break, but Arsenal recovered and capitalised on another calamitous defensive mix-up as Van Dijk dithered and Alisson fluffed his lines.
Martinelli had the simple task of stroking the ball into the unguarded net but, while Arsenal had by far the better of the chances, the game continued to ebb and flow, with substitute Darwin Nunez firing over after Jakub Kiwior had headed straight at Alisson.
Konate’s red card, for a second bookable offence after he hauled down the breaking Havertz, allowed Arsenal to breathe and they sealed a deserved win when Trossard wriggled free on the left before sliding a super finish through Alisson’s legs from near the byline.
The stoppage-time goal sparked more joyous scenes from fans and players inside the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal celebrated a win which propels them back into the title race.
Player of the match – Jorginho
Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville picked Jorginho as his player of the match and Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta agreed, lauding the 32-year-old’s impact in his press conference.
“A really intelligent player,” said Arteta. “His biggest quality is that he makes people around him better. He’s unbelievable. An example, a role model. He has been in a lot of pain, playing with an issue for months.”
Making his first Premier League start since November, Jorginho had more touches (68) and made more successful passes (44) than any other Arsenal player, while also making the most interceptions (four).
Keane: Liverpool defended like a pub team
Sky Sports pundit Roy Keane said: “In terms of the intensity from the first whistle to the last whistle from Liverpool, I can’t believe how bad they were.
“Credit to Arsenal, they turned up and were at it. But Liverpool defensively, the goals they gave away – it was like a pub team defending.”
Jamie Carragher added: “[For the Arsenal second goal] Van Dijk just has to head it. Don’t let it bounce. We’re talking schoolboy stuff here. We’re talking about players at the top level. This is something you learn at the bottom level of football.
“Martinelli nudges him slightly into the goalkeeper which puts Alisson off slightly but Martinelli is well within his rights to knock them and clash them together.
“There’s always a chance of that happening if you let the ball bounce. It’s a howler.
“Van Dijk is involved in all three goals and has made poor decisions. On the first goal, he’s stepped in when he should have just stayed where he was, on the second he should have head it and for the third he should have come across.”
Arteta: A big win, we are back in the race
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta told Sky Sports: “Especially with the performance we had in the first half and the chances we created, the way we conceded was painful.
“We could not feel sorry for ourselves, we needed to react. There was a lot to play for and we went out and suffered a bit.
“They were attacking open spaces and that is a bad thing to concede against them. They changed their shape and we had to bring a player inside.
“Basically the message was that there were going to be difficult moments and we had to navigate through those moments. We were ruthless when we had a chance and it feels like a big win.”
On Liverpool: “At the moment they are probably the best team in Europe and the levels they have, they are in incredible team.
“We have come so far and now it is about doing it consistently. Liverpool have done it for six to seven years.”
On title race: “It gives us momentum and the way we have done it we are back on it – really excited.”
Klopp: A lot of things went against us
Jurgen Klopp to Sky Sports on Ibrahima Konate’s red card: “A lot of things were against us today. This referee gave me a red card against Man City for wrestling situation between Bernardo Silva and Mo Salah. Today same situation with Jota but didn’t get a red card.
“It is unbelievable, then the of holding Havertz on Konate for the first yellow card. Then Havertz goes down and the referee gives Konate a yellow card. Gabriel does the same to Nunez and no yellow card.”
He added: “We gave them all the momentum. We had possession and just didn’t have the finishes.
“In general, we can admit that Arsenal deserve the three points. But the circumstances were a bit strange. The goal for us was similar to the cup game. In the cup game we had even bigger chances.
“We scored the goal at half-time and having nil shots on target, but a goal is a bit stranger. We had to adapt in a lot of moments today.
“We found our way into the game, we had crosses and situations where it was close and then the second half. But if you cannot keep it open, then Arsenal might become a little nervous.
“The red card did not help and we had to change what we tried a lot.”
Van Dijk: Second goal was my fault
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk told Sky Sports: “It was a tough day. I take full responsibility for the 2-1 [goal] and that’s a big turning point in the game. I should have done better and made a better decision there.
“It hurts for me and it hurts for the rest of the team. Especially for me. After the break, we were so good and had opportunities. We were dominant and the atmosphere here became more nervous.
“The turning point was my responsibility. I should have just cleared it. When you make the wrong decision in a split second, these things happen in football.
“These things don’t happen too many times in my career but it’s a tough one. I will recover from it and learn from things that don’t go well. But I will take responsibility.”
Arsenal’s edge on Liverpool – Opta stats
- Arsenal are unbeaten in their last four Premier League games against Liverpool (W2 D2), their longest unbeaten run against the Reds in the competition since the 2014/15 and 2015/16 campaigns (W1 D3).
- Arsenal have won two of their four Premier League games against teams starting the day top of the table under Mikel Arteta, as many victories as they had in their previous 17 such matches prior to the Spaniard’s arrival (D4 L11).
- Liverpool have only lost two of their last 34 games in the Premier League (W22 D10), with both of those defeats coming in away games in north London – versus Spurs in September 2023 and Arsenal.
- Gabriel Martinelli has scored five goals against Liverpool, his joint-most against an opponent for Arsenal (level with Crystal Palace). No player has been directly involved in more Premier League goals against the Reds since the start of last season (three goals, two assists).
- Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka is one of only two Premier League players with 10 or more goals and 10 or more assists across all competitions this season (11 goals, 12 assists), along with Darwin Nunez.
Burnley visit Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League next Saturday at 3pm.
West Ham host Arsenal on Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 2pm.
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