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Dublin: 9 °C Saturday 23 February, 2019


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Hello, and welcome to The42′s live coverage of Liverpool vs Arsenal in the Premier League. Don’t get a nosebleed, Reds, but after Spurs made an absolute bags of it against Wolves today, victory for Jurgen Klopp’s men this evening will see them go nine points clear at the summit, and 10 clear of champions Manchester City (who will have a game in hand).

Arsenal, meanwhile, can overtake Chelsea in the Champions League spots — at least for the moment — if they can leave Merseyside with three points.


Managers’ thoughts

We are under way at Anfield!


Liverpool on top straight away and Leno, under pressure with the ball at his feet, passes it out for a throw-in for the hosts near the corner flag. Anfield faithful go wild.


Arsenal move smoothly through midfield and work the ball cleverly into Aaron Ramsey inside Liverpool’s box but the Welsh midfielder can’t quite collect the pass and it skews out for a goal-kick despite his best efforts.


Sloppy pass from Firmino after a poor touch, and Alex Iwobi charges into the Liverpool area before forcing a save from Alisson at his near post. Really poor from Liverpool’s Brazilian forward, there, who played the ball without looking.

Flag 13Mins


GOOOOOALLL! Liverpool 0-1 Arsenal: Ainsley Maitlan-Niles turns it home after a sumptuous cross from Iwobi, who had threatened moments before. Gunners one up!

Flag 14Mins


GOOOOALLL! Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal: It’s Roberto Firmino! Salah works the ball into the Arsenal box and after some horrendous pinball at the back, Firmino taps into an empty net following a ricochet off Granit Xhaka.

Liverpool v Arsenal - Premier League - Anfield Firmino bags an immediate leveller for the hosts. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Flag 16Mins


GOOOOOALLLL!!! Liverpool 2-1 Arsenal: WHAT IS HAPPENING? IT’S FIRMINO AGAIN!!! He beats one, he beats two, he beats three, and he bags his second goal in as many minutes! Stunning goal! Liverpool lead!


The game has returned to Earth after a brief spell in orbit, there, for the three goals. A lot of moves breaking down in midfield and in the final third for both sides, and not a great deal to write home about.


Andy Robertson gets a yellow card for hauling down Maitland-Niles, who was about to burst in behind him to collect a looping pass down the right flank.


You’d have to say for Arsenal, they don’t look particularly fazed for having had a winning position turned on its head so quickly and spectacularly. They’re playing the same way as they were at 0-0: looking to pounce on loose balls and transition into counter-attack immediately.

Flag 32Mins


GOOOOOALLL! Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal: Robertson’s crossfield ball is steered first-time across the area by Mo Salah into the path of Sadio Mané, who finishes high into the net. The Senegalese international bags his ninth of the season in some style, but that was woeful Arsenal defence. Long way back for them, now.


Good, combative play by Iwobi who wins a corner for Arsenal on the left-hand side, but Alisson punches clear from the resulting corner.


Lovely turn by Maitland-Niles about 25 yards from Alisson’s sticks but he fires high, wide and handsome. Moments later, Mané concedes possession and the same Arsenal player again crosses to Ramsey who controls and volleys over. Mané gets an absolute rollicking from Jurgen Klopp. Maitland-Niles has been impressive.


Penalty Liverpool!

Sokratis attempts to challenge Salah from behind and appears to clip the Egyptian’s heels. Ref points to the spot.

Flag 45Mins

Goal Liverpool!

GOOOOALLLL! Liverpool 4-1 Arsenal: Salah dusts himself down and converts from the spot. Leno got a touch but it was too hot to keep out. All of Liverpool’s forwards have scored in the first half.

Stick a fork in this one.


Half-time: Liverpool 4-1 Arsenal


Arsenal all over the shop to start the second half. Beautiful pass by Shaquiri puts Salah in on goal but a poor touch allows Leno to gobble it up.


Koscielny is on for Mustafi, by the way, and has taken the captain’s armband. Still, Unai Emery’s change doesn’t seem to have done much to settle his side, who must surely be thinking of damage limitation at this stage.


Liverpool threaten again after some lovely link-up play between Shaqiri and Salah, but the latter’s cross is cut out by the outstretched Leno.


Jordan Henderson is preparing to come on for the hosts.


Mané bursts forward for Liverpool after some good defensive work from Van Dijk, but Alexander-Arnold’s effort at the end of the counter is deflected over the bar.


That attack was the last action for goalscorer Sadio Mané, who is replaced by Henderson — perhaps with Thursday’s massive fixture against Man City in mind.


Beautiful back-flick from Salah at the edge of Arsenal’s area puts Fabinho into a yard of space, but his driven shot is saved well by Leno to his left-hand side.


Penalty Liverpool!

Lovren is bundled over by Sokratis, and Liverpool have their second spotter.

Flag 64Mins


GOOOALLL! Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal: Firmino completes his first-ever Liverpool hat-trick from the spot, sending Leno the wrong way! Liverpool have scored five against Arsenal for the second time in four years. They’ve never scored six.


Alexandre Lacazette on for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who might as well have stayed in London given the lack up service up to him this evening.


Sting is gone out of this, now. And it’s just as well for the visitors. Liverpool rolling it around at a leisurely pace. Not really sure what Arsenal are doing, but I think one or two of their players have already made a B-line for the bus.


Lovely ball by Robertson finds Lallana, who leads Arsenal on a merry dance before spreading one out wide-right to Alexander-Arnold. The right-back squares it to Henderson but a side-footed effort flashes comfortably wide of Leno’s goal. Lovely move.

‘Allez Allez Allez’ rings out at Anfield.


Salah creeps in on the right-hand side of the Arsenal area but bereft of options, he toe-pokes it toward Leno’s near post and the ‘keeper saves it. Sokratis has been abysmal but actually did well, there, cutting off the angle on Salah’s left, where you could tell he was dying to cut in.

Full-time: Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal

The Reds extend their lead atop the Premier League table to nine!

That’s all she wrote, folks. Perhaps not for the title race as a whole quite yet, but Liverpool are in a seriously commanding position now with a trip to the Etihad to come on Thursday.

Arsenal will have to lick their wounds but there might be solace to be found in the number of absentees they had at the back today. Still, it’ll take until about Wednesday until the sting of that one wears off for the Gunners.

Thanks for joining us, and enjoy your New Year’s celebrations, wherever you are!

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