The Gunners took a surprise lead after 25 minutes, when Alexandre Lacazette capitalised on an Andrew Robertson mistake, converting well with a slightly scuffed scissor kick. However, Liverpool soon rallied, getting themselves back on level terms thanks to wonderful link-up play between Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, the latter finishing superbly. The home side added a second just before the break, with Robertson atoning for his error by finishing well at the far post.
Arsenal will surely feel as if this was a missed opportunity, after Lacazette squandered two one-v-one chances in the space of a few minutes. His poor shooting was further punished on the stroke of full-time, when Diogo Jota struck his first goal for his new club, rounding off the win for the Reds.
Arsenal looked very threatening on the break, beating the Liverpool offside trap on numerous occasions, often to little avail. Had Lacazette been able to punish the home side, a famous victory could have been on the cards. For large spells, Arsenal also crowded out the Liverpool front three fairly effectively. Keeping the deficit down to one goal gave their attack a fighting chance, so credit must go to David Luiz & Co.
Arsenal will rue missed opportunities as poor finishing and a lack of composure in the final third cost the visitors a point at the very least. This was compounded by the ease with which Mane and Salah beat Arsenal defenders, which was particularly noticeable for both of Liverpool’s first-half goals. Mikel Arteta’s side tried to play out from the back, but customarily intelligent pressing from the hosts’ front three often trapped them inside their own penalty box.
Manager rating out of 10
7 — Tactically, the defensive game plan almost paid off spectacularly, with the away side taking the lead early on through an excellently timed counterattack. Overall, effective team selection was undone by a handful of individual errors.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
DF Hector Bellerin, 5 — Was caught out positionally a few times, with Liverpool generally getting more joy down his right-hand side of the pitch.
DF Rob Holding, 6 — The former Bolton man got off to a slow start but grew into the game as it progressed. With that being said, he did leave Bellerin exposed at the back post a little too often.
DF David Luiz, 6 — A mixed evening from the veteran. Despite some great early clearances, and a handful of excellent through balls, errors again plagued his game. Salah breezing past him for Liverpool’s second will frustrate Arteta.
DF Kieran Tierney, 5 — Endured a very tricky game up against Salah on the left side. He was caught flat-footed on a number of occasions, after being dragged out of position by some intelligent Liverpool movement.
MF Ainsley Maitland-Niles, 7 — Provided great energy from the left of midfield, even managing to play a key role in Lacazette’s opener. Given the calibre of opponent he was up against, his defensive contribution was solid.
MF Granit Xhaka, 6 — Was visibly frustrated with the effort levels of some of his teammates. Despite being positionally wayward for Liverpool’s second goal, he certainly led by example in terms of sheer work rate and commitment.
FW Willian, 6 — The former Chelsea man worked hard in defence, managing to bail his side out of trouble well when Bellerin was outnumbered at the back post. However, his influence at the other end of the pitch was minimal, leading to a second-half substitution.
FW Alexandre Lacazette, 7 — Showcased intelligent movement for his opener, pouncing perfectly on Robertson’s mistake. His scuffed finish was undermined slightly by two poor one-v-one finishes, which were hit straight at Alisson.
FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 6 — Linked up well with Lacazette and improved as the game wore on, following a slightly quiet first half.
MF Dani Ceballos, 6 — Came on with half an hour to play, largely failing in his attempt to inject some impetus into Arsenal’s midfield. Picked up a yellow card.
FW Nicolas Pepe, 6 — Struggled to get into the game after replacing the similarly quiet Willian.
FW Eddie Nketiah, 6 — Never quite had an opportunity to add to his impressive goal tally so far this year.