Arsenal 3-1 Liverpool: Rampant Gunners beat Klopp's Reds

Arsenal beat Liverpool 3-1 to move within two points of the Premier League leaders after an enthralling match at the Emirates

Arsenal 3-1 Liverpool: Rampant Gunners beat Klopp's Reds

Gabriel Martinelli scores Arsenal's second goal during the 3-1 victory over Liverpool. CREDIT: Charlotte Wilson / Offside

Arsenal 3-1 Liverpool: 

It was a tale of two mix-ups on a passionate Sunday afternoon in North London, as Arsenal emerged victorious in front of a raw, baying crowd of 60,374 after a fierce test to blow the Premier League title race wide open.

Gabi Martinelli's second half goal - following an almighty mix-up between Reds keeper Alisson and captain Virgil van Dijk - helped Arsenal on their way to win this utterly captivating clash.

In front of a raucous home crowd, energised by the 22-year-old from Brazil’s strike - following an equally disastrous Arsenal defensive error late in the first half that led to Gabriel's own goal - the Gunners moved to within two points of Jurgen Klopp's table toppers.

In an enthralling contest from start to finish, Arsenal, who played with a high level of intensity throughout - prompted by the peerless Jorginho and supplemented by the vigour of Declan Rice in the heat of battle - took a 1-0 lead through Bukayo Saka on 14 minutes.

With both sides creating a number of chances during a wildly entertaining game, Leandro Trossard exploited the space and made it 3-1 late on, after Ibrahima Konate was sent off for a second yellow card.

Speaking after the match a delighted Mikel Arteta said: “It was an extraordinary game, I think it was an incredible performance from the players and our people, the atmosphere that we generated in the stadium is the best I’ve seen this season.”

Liverpool had claimed 19 points from losing positions so far this season. With four straight away wins since they last dropped points at Manchester City back in November, no wonder Klopp looked unruffled at going 1-0 down.

Just as Arsenal could perhaps have gained more than a point during the 1-1 draw at Anfield before Christmas - and most certainly should have knocked out Klopp's side during the team's FA Cup third round clash in early January, only to be beaten by two sucker punches - Liverpool indubitably equalised Saka’s opener moments before half time.

The equaliser leaving Arsenal fans once again deeply frustrated by their side's inability to make their dominance count against Klopp’s mighty Merseysiders.

The dispiriting leveller for the home crowd came after William Saliba, in a bid to hold off Luis Diaz, attempted to allow the ball to run to keeper David Raya. Alas, the former Brentford keeper was slow to react to danger, as the ball ricocheted off the French centre-back and Gabriel, who had the final touch as it crossed the line to make it 1-1.

A galling blow for Gabriel, who was credited with an own goal, as yet again Arsenal failed to make their superiority count.

How would Arsenal react? 

Arteta’s powerful 4-2-3-1 formation certainly helped, but to concede a second goal – and more than likely the three points to Liverpool – would have seen the visitors move an unthinkable eight points ahead of Arteta’s side. A chasm which surely would have left in tatters any lingering hopes of a title challenge from the North Londoners.

A Mohamed Salah-less Liverpool showed their intent immediately after the break, when Curtis Jones cut inside to curl a low shot narrowly past Raya's far post. That was before Konate was booked by referee Anthony Taylor – who had a good game - for tangling with Kai Havertz

Centre-back Gabriel tried to make amends for his unfortunate aberration that let Liverpool back into the game, but his header from Martin Odegaard's free-kick went wide of Alisson's far post.

However, on 67 minutes, Martinelli put the Gunners 2-1 ahead to make it three in three after two in his previous 18, not to mention already totting up five career goals against Liverpool.

The lively Brazilian was the beneficiary of a blunder between the pair of normally reliable defensive behemoths in Van Dijk and Alisson, as the ball fell to the predatory Martinelli, who capitalised on the crucial calamity by making no mistake in slotting the ball into an empty net for 2-1. Sending the home support into raptures in the process.

With seven minutes remaining substitute Jakub Kiwior – on for Oleksandr Zinchenko at half time to bring more defensive stability - headed straight at Allisson with the entire goal at his mercy following Martin Odegaard’s cross.

As the clock ticked down, the careless Konate found time to earn a second yellow card from Taylor, again for hindering Havertz, as Trossard fired the ball through Alisson and into the net for 3-1 shortly afterwards – sparking joyous scenes.

Amid the understandable post-match celebrations – after all, Liverpool have been absolutely majestic for the vast majority of the soon-to-be departing Klopp’s reign - the release of emotion had absolutely nothing to do with taking the future for granted, more simply savouring a moment of joy.

The charismatic Klopp, magnanimous during his packed post-match press conference – which saw the largest turnout for a debrief in Arsenal’s cavernous media theatre for a very long time – said: Congratulations to Arsenal. We were not good enough today, we can admit that Arsenal deserves the three points.”

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