Arsenal shock Liverpool with narrow victory
- Credit: PA
Premier League: Arsenal 2 Liverpool 1
Arsenal managed to pull off a shock upset as they defeated the Premier League champions Liverpool 2-1 to keep their hopes of a Europa League spot alive.
Liverpool opened the scoring through attacker Sadio Mane but the Gunners levelled the score thanks to Alexandre Lacazette before putting their noses in front with a Reiss Nelson goal to seal the three points at the Emirates Stadium.
Manager Mikel Arteta made five changes to the side that lost 2-1 to north London rivals on Sunday as he brought in Rob Holding, Cedric Soares, Lucas Torreira, Bukayo Saka, and Reiss Nelson.
The quintet took the places of Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi, Sead Kolasinac, Dani Ceballos, and Pierrer-Emerick Aubameyang.
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It was a slow start for both teams with the visitors dominating majority of the possession in the early proceedings.
Jurgen Klopp’s side almost found the back of the net by luck in the 12th minute as the hosts goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez went to fire the ball clear, but Roberto Firimo got in the path of his effort, which saw the ball bounce off the striker and hit the left post.
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Liverpool did then break the deadlock eight minutes later as Brazilian Firimo held the ball up, played the ball out left for left-back Andy Robertson, who spun his man and drove the ball across the goal where Sadio Mane was on hand to slot the ball home.
Arsenal then had to search for a reaction, but most of their passages were resulting in offsides, and they didn’t really trouble the Premier League champions.
Until the Reds skipper Virgil Van Dijk made a rare mistake as he scuffed the ball in an attempt to play it back to goalkeeper Alisson with pressure from youngster Reiss Nelson.
French striker Alexandre Lacazatte intercepted the bad pass and rounded the Brazilian shot-stopper before slotting a shot into the bottom left corner to level the score in the 32nd minute.
On the stroke of half-time 29-year-old Lacazette once again intercepted a mistake from the visitors as Alisson went to pass the ball out to the left.
The former Lyon striker then picked out English youngster Reiss Nelson inside the box who picked out the bottom corner to give the Gooners a 2-1 lead heading into the break.
The Reds were on a mission to hunt down an equaliser while the hosts sat more deep and they could well have found themselves level if it wasn’t for Argentine Martinez.
The 27-year-old tipped a Mohamed Salah shot over the bar after the Egyptian was picked out by England International Alexander-Arnold who raced down the right flank to deliver the cross.
In the 75th minute Netherlands International Van Dijk glanced a header wide of the post after towering up over his opponent following a good link-up play between Robertson and Alexander-Arnold from a corner.
They continued pressing forward but had no joy and it was in fact Arsenal who went close in the 89th minute as the ball fell to substitute Joe Willock who curled the ball wide.
But it was very nervy towards the end as Liverpool won numerous corners in injury-time and Martinez was forced to pull off a save to deny a deflected shot from right-back Alexander-Arnold.
Arsenal: Martinez, Cedric (Maitland-Niles 75), Holding, Luiz, Tierney, Torreira (Ceballos 57), Xhaka, Pepe, Saka (Kolasinac 84), Nelson (Willock 57, Lacazette (Aubameyang 57).
Unused subs: Macey, Bellerin, Sokratis, Mustafi.
Liverpool: Alison, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum (Shaqiri 82), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Keita 61), Mane, Salah (Origi 82), Firimo (Minamino 61).
Unused subs: Adrian, Lovren, Jones, Elliott, Williams.