Limp Liverpool Lose in London
A lax display saw Liverpool fall to their second post title win defeat with a 2-1 reversal at the hands of Arsenal.
A Sadio Mane goal gave the Reds the lead, but two huge errors gift-wrapped two goals for the Gunners for Alexandre Lacazette and Reiss Nelson. The visitors dominated the possession, in terms of shots on goal and territory but a half-hearted effort meant they couldn’t capitalize and the hosts held on for a win that means Liverpool cannot break Manchester City’s 100 point record.
Arsenal, as is their style under Mikel Arteta, were keen to play out from the back but they were almost punished for it when Roberto Firmino charged down Emiliano Martinez’s kick and the deflected narrowly wide.
Liverpool, controlling possession and territory, were well in control and they made their dominance count on the scoreboard after twenty minutes with a beautifully crafted goal.
Firmino’s incisiveness pass found Andy Robertson bursting into the box and the Scot drilled a low cross the face of goal which Mané cooly slid past Martinez,
The Reds continued to push but their lack of incision was punished when a rare Virgil van Dijk mistake was capitalised upon by Lacazette to equalise for the Gunners. The Dutchman on the ball and was pressed by Nelson and his lazy pass inside his own box was pounced upon by Lacazette and the Frenchman rounded Alisson to score a hardly deserved leveller. Van Dijk claimed a foul in the build-up, but an uncharacteristic lapse in focus was his downfall.
More lax Liverpool play saw them concede a second on the brink of half time. A half-hearted and lazy Alisson pass was sprung upon by Lacazette and the striker fed Nelson, whose low shot in the shot beat the Brazilian. Two shots on goal from two glaring mistakes from the visitors saw arsenal lead 2-1 at the interval.
The Reds improved upon the restart and had a good opportunity when Mohamed Salah, who was a mere spectator until that point, forced a good save from Martinez after Alexander-Arnold’s driven low cross found the Egyptian in the box.
To try and add some cut and thrust to their possession, Jurgen Klopp elected for a double change on the hour. Naby Keita replaced the disappointing Oxlade-Chamberlain and Takumi Minamino came on for Firmino.
The Japanese international was sharp upon introduction and had a penalty claim when Kieren Tierney had a handful of his jersey in the six-yard box but his appeals were waved away.
The visitors were wholly dominant but couldn’t make it count, spurning good chances. Salah weakly heeded into Martinez’s hands from a Mané cross when he ought to have scored.
That was the Egyptians last act in anger as he was called ashore for Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi replaced Wijnaldum.
Mané, the standout player on the pitch, manufactured a good chance for himself down the left, but he dragged the ball wide.
The Reds kept pushing and probing, but fell to another meek post title defeat.
Liverpool team: Alisson; Alexander Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Oxlade Chamberlain; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Replacements: Keita for Oxlade Chamberlain, Minamino for Firmino, Origi for Wijnaldum, Shaqiri for Salah.
Referee: Paul Tierney