Liverpool made it three Premier League wins from three with a convincing 3-1 win over Arsenal at Anfield.
Despite going behind to an Alexandre Lacazette goal, the Reds rallied and sealed the win with strikes from Sadio Mane, Andrew Robertson and Diogo Jota to seal a deserved win, which, on another night, could have been by a far bigger margin.
From the outset, it was clear that Arsenal’s playbook would mirror the one they employed last season and in the community shield; sit deep and look to hit Liverpool on the break.
But with outstanding ball retention and, on the rare occasion they had the ball, counter pressing and pressing, the Reds dominated and kept the visitors at bay.
After a slew of corners, Trent Alexander-Arnold, via a deflection off Hector Bellerin, drove a shot off the crossbar and Liverpool — who also forced an excellent save from Bernd Leno from a Mané shot — were frustrated in their attempts to prize open the Gunners.
On the one occasions the visitors played through the hosts press, they scored. A miscued Robertson clearance bounced fortuitously for Lacazette and the Frenchman’s scuffed effort bounced over Alisson and in.
Not feeling sorry for themselves, though, Liverpool soon levelled. The impressive Naby Keita took the ball between the lines and drove on. The Guinean was fouled and from the advantage Mohamed Salah powered past Kieran Tierney. The Egyptians shot was parried by Leno but Mané — ever the opportunist — tapped in the rebound.
The momentum was all with the home team and they made their dominance tell when Robertson, making amends for his earlier mistake, controlled Alexander-Arnold’s cross and calmly finished low past Leno for a deserved lead.
Arsenal escaped to half time only one goal in arrears, something they would have considered fortunate.
The second half started in a similar fashion with Liverpool dominant and the Gunners looking to frustrate and counter.
Despite the Reds ascendancy, Arsenal had the best opening of the new half. Dani Ceballos, a substitute, supplied a slide rule pass to send Lacazette in on goal. But Alisson, ever aware, narrowed the Frenchman’s angle and saved.
Normal service resumed and Liverpool began to turn the screw and only bad decisions from Salah and League debutant Jota kept Arsenal afloat. From a counter attack, the number 11 slid a pass through to Georginio Wijnaldum. The Dutchman then played it through to Jota who, when he just about to pull the trigger, saw Salah take the ball and fumble his touch and ruin the chance.
The Portuguese attacker didn’t have to wait long for a goal, though, when he volleyed home accurately after collecting David Luiz’s clearing header at the edge of the box. Alexander Arnold’s cross was headed out by the Brazilian and Jota — the recent arrival from Wolves — controlled before firing low on his right foot and past Leno into the bottom left corner.
Team: Alisson, Alexander Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Keita, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Replacements: Milner for Keita, Jota for Mane, Minamino for Firmino.