Jurgen Klopp got the better of Mikel Arteta at the third time of asking as Liverpool continued their perfect start with a 3-1 win against Arsenal.
Sadio Mané, Andrew Robertson and home debutant Diogo Jota were on target for the defending champions, securing victory after Alexandre Lacazette was presented with the opener in all-too-familiar fashion.
This is how the Reds rated.
Alisson Becker – 7
Supporters were sweating on the Brazilian’s fitness in the build-up, and he demonstrated his worth with two vital interventions in the second half. Lacazette was slipped through for a golden opportunity to equalise, only to be thwarted by the Brazilian – alert, strong goalkeeping or charitable finishing depending on your perspective. He then swept up when Lacazette’s replacement Eddie Nketiah was unleashed, with the flag initially staying down.
Could he have done better for the goal? Andrew Robertson was of course to blame, though Alisson, who clawed at the scuffed shot in vain, may feel he committed himself a little too early.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7
A series of vintage deliveries from the right side, one of which resulted in a goal for opposite full-back Robertson and another in the first half which an arriving Sadio Mane ought to have converted. It was an excellent offensive performance, nearly capped by a goal when a powerful edge-of-the-box shot deflected up onto the crossbar.
An eight drops to a seven because Alexander-Arnold played Lacazette onside ahead of the game’s decisive moment, failing to push up with the rest of his defence. He was also booked for a late challenge on Kieran Tierney and that cost me a desperately-needed fantasy point.
Joe Gomez – 9
His best performance in a while. There was an air of renewed confidence about Gomez tonight after one or two jitters led to scattered calls for Joel Matip to replace him.
The highlight came in stoppage time when he worked doggedly to deny Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Arsenal a consolation goal.
Virgil van Dijk – 7
Last season, this fixture ended Van Dijk’s supreme run of duel success, but there was no such cause for celebration among the Arsenal fanbase this time.
Van Dijk defended diligently, went close to scoring when he directed an Alexander-Arnold ball back across goal and played a brilliant pass to Roberto Firmino in the build-up to his side’s second goal.
At some point in his Liverpool career, he will score a screamer.
Andrew Robertson – 7
It was a pretty dreadful error from Robertson, let’s face it, and given Arsenal’s capacity to form a near-impenetrable low block it seemed like it could have gifted them a smash-and-grab win.
But all you can ask in that scenario is for a player to brush themselves off and work hard to make up for it. It took Robertson less than 10 minutes to do that as he kept his composure to bring down the cross and duly complete the Liverpool turnaround.
A tireless performance.
Fabinho – 8
I really liked his display. He won the ball back more often than anybody else on the pitch and was doing so in and around the halfway line, thus quickly putting his team back on the front foot.
A specialist in two positions. What an asset for Liverpool.
Georginio Wijnaldum – 6
As usual, little to report, but little to criticise.
A key cog in the relentless Liverpool press, Wijnaldum could even have netted a rare goal when he found space on the edge of the area, but shot straight at Leno.
Naby Keita – 6
Similar to the Chelsea game, Keita was quietly effective as the Reds looked to hem Arsenal into their own final third.
There was fairly little link-up play with the front three here but Klopp will be satisfied. Keita’s job is to present the boss with a mighty dilemma when all of his midfielders are fit.
Mohamed Salah – 7
Salah had been held at arm’s length by Tierney in recent meetings, but crucially got the better of his man leading to the first goal, utilising his superb strength. Bernd Leno would palm out his shot for Mane to tap-in.
He ought to have notched a second assist when he slid an incisive pass into Jota, only for the Portuguese to fire into the side-netting. He was so unimpressed that he tried to take the ball off him when the next chance rolled around.
As Gary Neville noted in commentary, it was one of those few occasions when Salah’s greed rears its ugly head. Still, he had a very good game for the most part.
Roberto Firmino – 6
There was a neat piece of play from Firmino ahead of the equaliser as he intelligently delayed his pass into the path of Alexander-Arnold.
That would prove to be his best attacking work, with a couple of through balls thereafter lacking precision.
His only shot of the game deflected narrowly wide.
Sadio Mané – 8
I briefly feared for Mané’s participation when he rather carelessly thrust out an arm to block off Tierney in the early stages, but a yellow card was a good call.
He was the right kind of menace thereafter, smelling blood as Arsenal flirted with danger at the back. There are few players in Europe trickier to deal with.
On hand to score a simple goal, he tried his luck on four more occasions before he was left dismayed by his withdrawal. It could have been back-to-back braces had his unique, swivelled attempt from Firmino’s pass nestled in the corner.
Substitute: Diogo Jota – 8
Jota found so much joy in so little time as he exploited Arsenal’s growing attacking urgency. Three times he found himself in goalscoring positions, and it was his most difficult chance which brought a dream start.
I can’t be certain if he meant to his volley quite like that, but I know that Leno was left without a prayer.
Perhaps nerves got the better of him when he squandered his first opening, and Salah’s attempt to snatch the ball away might easily have left a dent in his confidence. But no, he sealed the three points two minutes from time to spark living-room joy.