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Dublin: 13 °C Saturday 26 May, 2018


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Hello, and welcome to today’s liveblog.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the game. E-mail, tweet @the42_ie, post a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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Kick off is at 4.00pm.

Here are the teams…

Liverpool: Karius, Gomez, Lovren, Matip, Moreno, Henderson, Emre Can, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mané.

Subs: Ward, Klavan, Alexander-Arnold, Grujic, Milner, Solanke, Sturridge.

Arsenal: Cech, Kolding, Koscielny, Monreal; Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Sanchez, Welbeck

Subs: Ospina, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Coquelin, Walcott, Lacazette, Giroud

Some big changes in both starting XI’s on last weekend’s fixtures where Liverpool ran out 1-0 winners against Crystal Palace thanks to a Sadio Mane strike while Arsenal suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat to Stoke.

Jurgen Klopp has decided to rest Simon Mignolet and in the process give German goalkeeper Loris Karius his first start of the season, while Joe Gomez replaces Alexander-Arnold in defence.

For Arsenal, Danny Welbeck starts ahead of record-signing Alexandre Lacazette while Laurent Koscielny makes his first start of the season alongside Rob Holding and Nacho Monreal in a back three.

Of course, the other big piece of team teams is the return of Alexis Sanchez to the Arsenal starting XI.

The Chilean has been linked with a move away from the Emirates all summer long, however it now seems all but likely he will remain where he is for at least another season.

The other player itching for a move away remains ruled out with a back injury, however.

Philippe Coutinho has still not managed to push through a move to Barcelona, but he remains out of Jurgen Klopp’s match-day squad for a third week in succession.

Just a few short minutes to go before we kick-off as the teams make their way onto the Anfield turf. This should be a good one.


A fantastic atmosphere just before kick-off as a booming rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone wraps around Anfield.

A capacity crowd and two sets of teams that should serve up a game worthy of the occasion and the build-up.

Two nervous defences could also mean goals, goals, goals. Looking at you Alberto Moreno. We shall wait and see.


Early half-chance for Liverpool as Mohamed Salah makes a menace of himself with speed and quick feet.

He gets behind Nacho Monreal with ease before offering a deep cross. It finds Moreno who swings it back towards Salah at the far post, but the balls drifts wide.


Arsenal make themselves known as Danny Welbeck receives the ball inside the penalty area.

A real chance was on but the striker’s first touch is very poor — however to be fair the ball played behind his feet by Alexis Sanchez not making it any easier.

Welbeck makes the most of it but nevertheless balloons his shot over Karius’ crossbar.


Good tempo to this game. Up one end, then back down the other — no need for midfield. Emre Can tries to find Salah — who Monreal is really and truly finding it hard to keep a hold of — but the German midfielder’s lobbed ball is overhit.


CHANCE! Oh goodness that really should have been 1-0. Salah peels away unmarked for the third time inside ten minutes and it looks like all he has to do is tap it into an empty net.

Salah composes himself but hits the ball right at Petr Cech, who did brilliantly to make up the ground across his goal line.

He had the whole goal to aim for but put it right at the goalkeeper. An outstanding save from Cech but a real sitter from the Liverpool winger it has to be said.


Liverpool maintaining the upper hand inside an action-packed opening 15 minutes. It is relentlessly end-to-end but were the scores to remain as tight as they appear now, Liverpool could really live to regret that miss from Salah.


And there’s the goal.

Some slow and patient build-up play from Liverpool sees Bobby Firmino head home easily from close range following a one-two on the left flank before a fine cross from Joe Gomez.

Arsenal looked to be soaking up pressure but they have been breached after just 17 minutes.


Henderson with a chance to double Liverpool’s lead as Arsenal fall apart at the back again. This before a nervous looking Loris Karius makes an almost-disastrous mistake.

The German goalkeeper has been brought in in place of Simon Mignolet but fluffed his lines there. That will not settle nerves following some similar mishaps last season.


Yellow card: Danny Welbeck is booked for Arsenal for a foul on Alberto Moreno.


Yellow card: Joe Gomez is booked for Liverpool for a foul on Aaron Ramsey.


A pair of bookings inside 60 seconds sums up the relentless pace and bizarre nature of this game. Some real moments of quality mixed between some catastrophic lapses in concentration from both teams. More goals could be on the cards very soon.


Another chance! Nobody is getting close to Mohamed Salah and Nacho Monreal is having a torrid evening.

The winger takes possession on the right flank and cuts inside. He gives himself time and space and aims for Cech’s bottom corner, but the Arsenal goalkeeper gets down well and pushes the ball away well.


The tempo has died down a little bit as both sides take a much-needed breather. It was all Helter Skelter for half an hour, with Liverpool kicking themselves they are not ahead by a bigger margin.

Having said that Arsenal do sense that there is a result in this game for them. Liverpool looked largely on top against Watford on the opening weekend before throwing their lead away.

With Welbeck, Sanchez and Ramsey all willing and able to run directly at a nervous Liverpool backline they will more than fancy their chances at getting something out of this if Liverpool don’t double their lead soon.


Another very, very nervous piece of play from Arsenal as Xhaka attempts to backheel the ball to his own goalkeeper while on his own touchline. “I can’t believe what I’ve just seen,” sighs Gary Neville, who has had quite enough of Arsenal’s shenanigans today.


Arsenal supporters not impressed with what they have seen so far.

They would have expected the return of Koscielny to bring more stability and reassured confidence to a brittle backline this season, however the Gunners simply look lost and bereft of ideas of how to deal with Liverpool in attack.

Salah and Mane have been running riot, with Firmino always dangerous in that central role.


What a sublime, sublime goal from Sadio Mane. It’s his third Premier League goal in as many games this season.

He takes possession free as a bird on the left flank, beats Rob Holding with ease before curling the ball emphatically into the far bottom corner.

Cech never stood a chance with the power and precision behind that strike, and Liverpool have doubled their lead as we approach the break.


The home supporters are rocking, but Arsenal really do look worried. They are strumming the ball side to side but look shook to their core.

Liverpool look dangerous any time they get the ball with the emphatic speed they have on the break, but the Gunners are really not helping themselves with some really, really poor defending.

The travelling supporters have fallen deadly quiet.


Well, that was something. We anticipated goals and we got goals, but that was so one-sided it was almost sad to see a Premier League titan like Arsenal reduced to such a pitiful first-half performance.

Unless something dramatic changes in this second half they will looking down the barrel of two defeats from their opening three Premier League games, with no clean sheets, and Arsene Wenger will have to face the music.

It could get worse before it gets better, mind, with even Thierry Henry and Graham Souness utterly shell-shocked at that opening 45 minutes. Henry said he saw it coming, while Souness bemoans the lack of a commanding midfield presence for the Gunners.


Substitution for Arsenal: Aaron Ramsey is replaced by Francis Coquelin.


Arsenal start promisingly — an early goal and anything can happen in this game, they will feel. Arsene Wenger makes just the one change at the break, while also reverting to a back four for the second half.


Alexis Sanchez is running in at goal anytime he sees possession. He cuts inside with a quick jink but his powerful strike from range is blocked down. That’s a lot better from Arsenal who have come out swinging after the break.


Yellow card: Mesut Ozil is booked for Arsenal.


Another error from Karius. He receives a poor back-pass but the German attempts to take a touch which is far too heavy. Danny Welbeck closes Karius down before the shot stopper attempts to dribble the ball by him — before it goes out for a goal kick.

Jurgen Klopp’s decision to draft in Karius was a curious one, but the goalkeeper still does look slightly nervous when in possession of the ball as the camera pans to Simon Mignolet sitting in the stands.


Two chances in succession for Liverpool at the other end. Salah peels away from Monreal but his shot is right at Cech. Jordan Henderson runs for a follow-up effort but it flies over the crossbar as the Liverpool captain was always leaning back.


Oh that is brilliant from Salah. Arsenal have a corner but are caught out completely on the counter. No one is back and no one has the pace to catch the Egyptian.

He sprints at a furious pace from inside his own half and, with options left and right, picks a corner of the goal and slots the ball into it. Too easy for Liverpool at the moment.


This man has just scored his first goal at Anfield.

Watford v Liverpool - Premier League - Vicarage Road Source: PA Wire/PA Images


Substitution for Arsenal: Alexis Sanchez is replaced by Olivier Giroud.


Substitution for Arsenal: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is replaced by Alexandre Lacazette.


Chants of “we want Wenger out” are being heard inside Anfield, as the camera pans to a dejected Alexis Sanchez sitting with his head down on the Arsenal bench after he was substituted off.


Wenger has made his changes but many will argue that it is far, far too late. Three points is beyond them now and it seems to be all about salvaging pride at the moment.

There is still 25 minutes to go including stoppage time and a bigger scoreline could cause some serious physiological damage so early in the new campaign for Arsenal.


Chance! It was so nearly 4-0 there, Sadio Mane skipping by inside the box before releasing a fine effort which had Cech beaten and almost trickled over the line, before it was booted clear by Bellerin at the last second.


Substitution for Liverpool: Sadio Mane is replaced by Daniel Sturridge.


Sadio Mane receives a standing ovation from the Anfield crowd as he is replaced by Daniel Sturridge. As in every other game this season Mane has excelled with his outstanding agility, stamina, vision and goal-scoring ability.

Three Premier League goals already this season for the 25-year-old.


Goal, goal, goal! It’s 4-0 and Daniel Sturridge bags his first goal of the season.

Yet another brilliant break from Liverpool, the ball is fed to Salah who is free on the left wing and he pings a pinpoint cross to Sturridge completely unmarked at the back post — with the England striker heading home from close range with ease.


Substitution for Liverpool: Roberto Firmino is replaced by James Milner.


The camera pans to Alexis Sanchez who offers a giddy smile on the bench. It then pans to Arsenal supporters in the way end of Anfield, who look utterly dejected.

A fitting contrast, but the question stands as to will the forward be at the Emirates following the closure of the transfer window?


Substitution for Liverpool: Emre Can is replaced by Marko Grujić.


Arsenal are pushing on until the bitter end, Danny Welbeck forcing a corner. But it’s just a matter of seeing out the clock now. For Arsene Wenger, there can be no positives to take from this performance. Just under five minutes to go.


There will be three minutes of injury time as Jordan Henderson stokes the ball back and forth in the middle of the park, Arsenal happy to sit back and soak up pressure. Only, unlike in the opening 15 minutes when they tried the same tactic, they are now 4-0 down and utterly lifeless.


These two have run riot this evening. A goal each and Salah is Sky Sports’ Man of the Match, with yet another assist to boast too.

Liverpool v Arsenal - Premier League - Anfield Source: Peter Byrne

About the author:

Aaron Gallagher


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