Mikel Arteta has gone toe-to-toe with Jurgen Klopp on the touchline but there is still a gap between their teams on the pitch. Arsenal’s youth revival has been categorically stopped Liverpool, who inflict familiar agony to their visitors by stirring and necessary healing for themselves.
Anfield has been the site of recurring nightmares with Arsenal as of late, and despite the confidence that a string of defeats have generated with daring young talents up front, this was no exception. Liverpool made it six times in a row Premier League He beat Arsenal at home and kept his record by scoring at least three goals per goal.
Sadio Mane opened the scoring in the competitive first half. But the second goal was entirely one-sided, and the goals of Diogo Jota, Mohamed Salah and substitute Takumi Minamino reflected the heights Arteta’s side must be looking for, and still have to reach, before their development causes problems for the well-established elite in the Premier League. The only position and two points separating the two teams before kick-off looked illusory as Liverpool comfortably moved up to second in the table.
“When we had to increase the momentum at the start of the second half, we wasted the game,” Arteta said. “We threw the ball away under any pressure and got punished. They had all the momentum. They were the best team and that’s the level. They’ve been together for six years. We don’t have it. That’s the difference.”
It was a reflection of Liverpool’s supremacy that visiting goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale put in a superb display and yet continued to conceded four times. The breakthrough was coming as Mane snagged the new England international, but it took a 32nd-minute flare-up between the managers to spark a steady competition to life.
Klopp objected to Arsenal The substitutes demanded a card for Mane when they were penalized for fouling Takehiro Tomiyasu when they challenged with a header. Arteta was enraged, racing on the touchline and making a salvo of the Liverpool manager before being held back by his assistant coach Steve Round. Arteta kept trying to get to Klopp, who was blocked by his coaching staff, and both managers were booked once the altercation ended. The cup made clear his feelings for the former Everton midfielder. They should have thanked him, as Liverpool immediately upped their pace and took control.
About the incident, Klopp said: “It was a completely clean situation where two players jumped in the air but the Arsenal bench was working. So I said to them: ‘What do you want for that?’ It was like everyone wanted a yellow card and I’m sick of these moments when everyone goes to Sadio. It happened against Real Madrid as well as against Atlético Madrid when we had to take him off at halftime because he was given a yellow card. It’s not true.” Arteta said: “He was defending his class and I was defending me.”
Ramsdale denied Thiago Alcantara, as well as an impromptu bounce from Mane, before Salah fended off and upended Trent Alexander-Arnold’s tide as Liverpool – players and fans alike – ignited their efforts in the wake of the coaches confrontation. Cracks began to appear in Arsenal’s defense, and when Alexander-Arnold fired a free kick deep into the visitors’ area, Mane ran between Gabriel Magalhaes and Tomiasso to header past Ramsdale. In Arteta’s view, the concession was a poor target. Klopp may have appreciated the conversion from a free kick after the problems his team had with them defeat by West Ham.
With Ramsdale’s resistance broken and Arsenal offering little up front, Liverpool sought to press their supremacy right after the start of the second half. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had a long shot after Fabinho fired it inside the penalty area.
A fatal error from Arsenal left back Nuno Tavares gave the hosts the comfort of a two-goal lead. Tavares seemed to do his homework defensively when he won the ball from Alexander-Arnold but played a needless reverse pass straight to Jota. The Portugal international pounced with superb accuracy. At first he read White’s overcommitted challenge and stepped into the midfield half before Ramsdale’s foul turned into an empty net.
Klopp’s side would fly through Arsenal’s lines at will. But for Ramsdale, the guests would have faced an even greater defeat. The goalkeeper made a brave save at Jota’s feet when Salah played the ball clean. Jota denied again, this time with a good reaction only after Salah opened the Arsenal penalty area with a superb pass. When Arsenal finally broke the pressure, Alisson blocked Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with his feet.
Salah’s performance was rewarded with the goal he deserved when he hit Mane’s cross from close range. The move was initiated by Alisson’s removal from the defense for Konstantinos Tsimikas, who headed to Jota to send the Senegal international away. The other flowing team move came in fourth. Then Mane, Salah and Alexander-Arnold intuitively combined with Minamino to score at the back post with his first touch.
“We had to show a reaction and we gave a mixture of a very mature performance and a very exciting performance,” said Klopp, who lost Jota with a knee injury. “There were exciting goals and exciting press and it’s a very impressive result.”
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