Liverpool ease past Arsenal, new signing Diogo Jota nets debut Reds goal
Premier League, Anfield - Liverpool 3 (Mane 28', Robertson 34', Jota 88') Arsenal 1 (Lacazette 25')
Liverpool's Portuguese striker Diogo Jota (C) celebrates scoring his team's third goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on September 28, 2020.
Liverpool maintained their perfect start to their defence of the Premier League title with a 3-1 victory over Arsenal at Anfield.
The visitors took a shock lead after being dominated for the first 25 minutes, as Alexandre Lacazette swivelled to bounce a shot past Alisson. Liverpool were level within three minutes through a Sadio Mane tap-in, and then took the lead after Andy Robertson smartly brought down a deflected cross to tuck the ball home from six yards out.
Arsenal missed a great chance to equalise in the second half when Lacazette failed to beat Alisson one-on-one. With two minutes to go, substitute Diogo Jota sealed the victory with a debut goal when he swept a shot into the corner from the edge of the penalty area.
Diogo Jota of Liverpool scores the third goal making the score 3-1 to Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on September 28, 2020 in Liverpool, England.
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Both teams will return to Anfield on Thursday to play each other in the fourth round of the EFL Cup.
What will happen when Liverpool eventually start purring? There’s been a lot of positive talk about what Arteta is building at Arsenal, and rightly so, but tonight they were shown where the bar is at the top end of the Premier League. Not the bar of the highest level of a championship winning side, but the one beneath that can still get the job done anyway.
Liverpool only made sure of victory tonight in the 88th minute, when Jota’s goal finally put to bed a contest they had lorded since the first whistle. In their opening game with Leeds United they required a gifted late penalty to beat Marcelo Bielsa’s sprightly team and the victory against Chelsea last weekend, while thoroughly deserved, was only secured after their opponents were reduced to ten men.
) Andy Robertson of Liverpool scores the second goal making the score 2-1 and celebrates during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on September 28, 2020 in Liverpool,
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And therein lies the point. Liverpool are coasting at the moment, with three wins out of three while playing at perhaps 80% of their capacity. They have still to hit their very best form this season, and Champions League winner Thiago Alcantara will soon be assimilated to provide another attacking dimension to this devastating team. Once they hit their stride, what then? If they can routinely put the opposition away as they build up to that, they look ominously on course to dominate the league again this season.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
Liverpool’s right back offers so many different types of threat from his crossing. He can overlap and whip the ball across goal, or join an attack late to fizz the ball into areas so precisely that the goalkeeper and his defenders cannot deal with it. Much like Gareth Bale, Alexander-Arnold is surely too gifted to stay at full-back forever. While he does, Liverpool will continue to reap the benefits from this outstanding young player on their right flank.
Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson 6; Alexander-Arnold 8, Gomez 6, Van Dijk 6, Robertson 7; Fabinho 6, Wijnaldum 6, Keita 7; Mane 7, Firmino 6, Salah 7
25’ GOAL! Liverpool 0 Arsenal 1 (Lacazette 25) Arsenal break out of defence and suddenly Maitland-Niles is away down the right. He crosses weakly to the back post where Robertson should cut it out; instead, Robertson connects horribly with the ball and deflects it to Lacazette, playing him onside. Lacazette swivels like Gerd Muller, hits a hopeless shot into the floor but it bounces over the already diving Alisson and into the net. A comical goal, and Arsenal lead!
28’ GOAL! Liverpool 1 (Mane 28) Arsenal 1 Liverpool are level! Salah takes the scenic route around Tierney on the edge of the penalty area, muscling his opponent off the ball and surging into the box. He booms in a shot that Leno can't hold, and Mane is there to tap in the rebound. We're level!
Liverpool's Senegalese striker Sadio Mane celebrates scoring the equalising goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on September 28, 2020.
Image credit: Getty Images
34’ GOAL! Liverpool 2 (Robertson 34) Arsenal 1 Liverpool are ahead! Alexander-Arnold floats a cross into the area, which Bellerin can only glance into the patch of an unmarked Robertson coming in at the back post. Robertson gets it under control and scoops a lovely finish over the diving Leno to give Liverpool the lead.
63’ OH WHAT A CHANCE! Ceballos finds Lacazette with a slide rule ball that dissects the entire Liverpool midfield and back four. He's one on one and central but can only bang his shot straight into the midriff of Alisson. It's a good save, but it should be 2-2.
64’ CHANCE! Liverpool respond immediately, cutting through the heart of Arsenal's defence with a barrage of quick passes and finding Mane near the penalty spot. He spins and shoots but scuffs the ball a yard wide of the post.
68’ GOAL! Liverpool 3 (Jota 88) Arsenal 1 It's a debut goal for Jota, and all three points for Liverpool! Alexander-Arnold whips a nice cross into the area, which Luiz can only head out to Jota on the edge of the area. Jota controls it with his chest and then guides a shot just inside the post with Leno rooted.
Diogo Jota’s debut goal was Liverpool’s 400th in the Premier League under Jurgen Klopp.
Arsenal haven’t won at Anfield in their last nine Premier League visits.