Gunners downed by champions at Anfield
By Charlie Stong
Arsenal’s 100 per cent start to the season came to an end this evening when they were beaten 3-1 by Liverpool at Anfield.
Goals from Sadio Mane and Andrew Robertson put the home side ahead at the break after Alexandre Lacazette had given the Gunners the lead against the run of play, before Diogo Jota sealed it two minutes before the end.
But despite their early dominance the home side were fortunate not to be down to 10 men after just three minutes.
Mane challenged Kieran Tierney for a ball down the Arsenal left and planted what appeared to be a fist into the Scotsman’s face as he did so.
It was a surprise that referee Craig Pawson did not even take a second glance at the monitor before brandishing a yellow card. It was one which could, and should, have been red.
But after that let-off Liverpool took control. They had numerous chances to take the lead before the Gunners scored.
First, on 12 minutes, a cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold from the right was headed back across the goal by Virgil van Dijk, but David Luiz was on hand to clear in the nick of time.
Then just second later Mane’s shot was deflected wide by Rob Holding, before Alexander-Arnold’s 25-yard shot was deflected on to the crossbar by Hector Bellerin.
But the Gunners took the lead after 25 minutes with their first attack.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ cross from left should have been dealt with by Robertson, but his attempted clearance was awful, and looped into the path of Lacazette, who swivelled and scuffed his shot past Alisson in the Liverpool goal.
The lead lasted just two minutes, however. Mohamed Salah powered past Tierney down the Liverpool right and got a shot away - Bernd Leno’s parry falling into the path of Mane who couldn’t miss.
And on 34 minutes Liverpool were ahead. Alexander-Arnold’s cross deflected off the head of a central defender and into the path of Robertson, who took a touch before poking the ball past Leno for 2-1.
Arsenal were better and more adventurous in the second half.
They pushed from the start of the half and should have been level within two minutes of Mikel Arteta introducing the creative Dani Ceballos on the hour.
Ceballos’ clever through ball found Lacazette free on goal but his first touch allowed Alisson to set himself and block the shot from his second.
At the other end Roberto Firminho saw a shot deflected wide by Tierney and substitute Diogo Jota missed a glaring chance when put through by Salah before Jota’s volley sealed it with a volley from the edge of the box at the end.
Arsenal: Leno, Tierney, Holding, Luiz, Bellerin, Elneny, Xhaka (Ceballos, 60), Maitland-Niles, Willian (Pepe, 68), Lacazette (Nketiah, 74), Aubameyang