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Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool: Gunners come from behind to end champions’ record hopes

Alexandre Lacazette rounds Alisson to score

Liverpool’s hopes of setting a new points Premier League record ended when the champions suffered only their third defeat of a stellar campaign at Arsenal.

Jurgen Klopp’s side – who will receive the trophy after the game with Chelsea at Anfield next week – needed to win all of their remaining games to eclipse the tally of 100 points set by then champions Manchester City two seasons ago.

And they looked on course when Sadio Mane gave Liverpool a fully deserved lead after 20 minutes as he slid home Andrew Robertson’s cross.

Arsenal were then allowed back into the game before the interval after uncharacteristic errors by two of Liverpool’s most reliable performers, Alexandre Lacazette taking advantage of a dreadful back-pass by Virgil van Dijk to equalise before goalkeeper Alisson’s poor clearance gave Reiss Nelson the opportunity to score with a composed finish.

The second half was almost an exercise in attack against defence as Liverpool laid siege to Arsenal’s goal but Mikel Arteta’s side showed real resilience and determination to close out the win and receive a real morale boost before this weekend’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City at Wembley.

Arsenal show true grit to defy champions

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Arsenal’s defensive frailties have continued to plague their latest manager, Arteta, and they were demonstrated again in the north London derby defeat at Tottenham on Sunday.

Here, however, Arsenal dug deep to survive a second-half siege from Liverpool in which they existed almost entirely in their own half.

Liverpool had almost all the possession but Arsenal’s much-criticised rearguard remained organised and put their bodies on the line in desperation to preserve the lead given to them by the generosity of the champions.

When Liverpool did get through they found Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez in commanding form once more. He has been a real revelation since stepping in for the injured Bernd Leno and was excellent again here, dominating his area and also producing a fine save from Mohamed Salah in the second half.

This was not an artistic Arsenal performance but Arteta will have been delighted with the sheer industry and resilience on show, especially as they face another team who will want to dominate possession as they prepare to confront Manchester City at Wembley on Saturday to battle for a place in the FA Cup final.

Liverpool lack their usual edge

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Liverpool will be disappointed to miss out on that Premier League points record but it is almost inevitable a crucial edge would be taken off their game after securing the club’s first title in 30 years with seven games still to play.

And it showed here in those awful errors by Van Dijk, so careless when he is normally so precise, and goalkeeper Alisson, who was sloppy with a clearance to allow Nelson to score.

There was no shortage of effort or determination from Jurgen Klopp’s side but even up front they did not possess the ruthless streak that has been such a part of their success, with Salah heading tamely at Martinez when free at the far post and other good positions escaping them.

Liverpool have now lost three league games in winning the title when they only lost one in finishing second to Manchester City last term, that sole defeat coming against the eventual champions at Etihad Stadium – and while one piece of history will not be theirs they can still look forward to receiving the trophy on a special podium erected on the Kop when they play Chelsea next Wednesday.

Man of the match – Emiliano Martinez (Arsenal)

Emiliano Martínez

Klopp suffers first league defeat by Gunners – the stats

  • Arsenal defeated Liverpool in the Premier League for the first time since April 2015, while it is the first time Jurgen Klopp has lost against the Gunners in the competition after winning five and drawing three previously.
  • Liverpool suffered their first league defeat in a game in which they opened the scoring since April 2017, ending a run of 83 consecutive league games without losing after scoring first.
  • This was Arsenal’s first Premier League win against the team starting at the top of the table since February 2016, losing each of their previous five.
  • Liverpool have conceded 10 goals in their last five Premier League away games – as many as in their previous 19 league games on the road.
  • Sadio Mane has scored six goals against Arsenal in the Premier League, only scoring more against Crystal Palace (nine).
  • Arsenal’s equaliser came from the first error made by Virgil van Dijk that has led to a goal in the Premier League since March 2019.
  • Alexandre Lacazette has been directly involved in four goals in three Premier League appearances against Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium, scoring twice.
  • Reiss Nelson netted his first Premier League goal for Arsenal, becoming the fifth different player aged 20 or under to score for the Gunners in the competition this season along with Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli and Willock.

What’s next?

Arsenal face Manchester City in their FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday (19:45 BST), before their penultimate Premier League game of the season against Aston Villa on Tuesday (20:15).

Liverpool have a week to recover before their next league match, against Chelsea on Wednesday (20:15).

Line-ups

Arsenal

  • 26Martínez
  • 16Holding
  • 23David Luiz
  • 3Tierney
  • 17Cédric SoaresSubstituted forMaitland-Nilesat 76′minutes
  • 11TorreiraBooked at 46minsSubstituted forCeballosat 57′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 34XhakaBooked at 81mins
  • 77SakaSubstituted forKolasinacat 85′minutes
  • 24NelsonSubstituted forAubameyangat 58′minutes
  • 9LacazetteSubstituted forWillockat 58′minutes
  • 19Pépé

Substitutes

  • 2Bellerín
  • 5Papastathopoulos
  • 8Ceballos
  • 14Aubameyang
  • 15Maitland-Niles
  • 20Mustafi
  • 28Willock
  • 31Kolasinac
  • 33Macey

Liverpool

  • 1Alisson
  • 66Alexander-ArnoldBooked at 48mins
  • 12Gomez
  • 4van Dijk
  • 26Robertson
  • 15Oxlade-ChamberlainSubstituted forKeitaat 61′minutes
  • 3Fabinho
  • 5WijnaldumSubstituted forShaqiriat 83′minutes
  • 11SalahSubstituted forOrigiat 83′minutes
  • 9FirminoSubstituted forMinaminoat 61′minutes
  • 10Mané

Substitutes

  • 6Lovren
  • 8Keita
  • 13Adrián
  • 18Minamino
  • 23Shaqiri
  • 27Origi
  • 48Jones
  • 67Elliott
  • 76Williams
Referee:
Paul Tierney

Match Stats

Home TeamArsenalAway TeamLiverpool
Possession
Home31%
Away69%
Shots
Home3
Away24
Shots on Target
Home2
Away8
Corners
Home2
Away13
Fouls
Home14
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, Arsenal 2, Liverpool 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Arsenal 2, Liverpool 1.

Foul by Divock Origi (Liverpool).

Kieran Tierney (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Emiliano Martínez.

Attempt saved. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Andrew Robertson.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Granit Xhaka.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Offside, Arsenal. Joseph Willock tries a through ball, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is caught offside.

Booking

Dani Ceballos (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Takumi Minamino (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Dani Ceballos (Arsenal).

Attempt missed. Joseph Willock (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Attempt saved. Naby Keita (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Andrew Robertson.

Attempt blocked. Sadio Mané (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Divock Origi (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Kieran Tierney (Arsenal).

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Attempt missed. Sadio Mané (Liverpool) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Andrew Robertson.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Sead Kolasinac replaces Bukayo Saka.

Hand ball by Divock Origi (Liverpool).

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Xherdan Shaqiri replaces Georginio Wijnaldum.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Divock Origi replaces Mohamed Salah.

Attempt blocked. Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Sadio Mané.

Booking

Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Naby Keita (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal).

Offside, Liverpool. Naby Keita tries a through ball, but Trent Alexander-Arnold is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Ainsley Maitland-Niles replaces Cédric Soares.

Attempt missed. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) header from the right side of the six yard box misses to the right. Assisted by Andrew Robertson with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Cédric Soares.

Foul by Takumi Minamino (Liverpool).

Nicolas Pépé (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Takumi Minamino (Liverpool) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Georginio Wijnaldum.

Attempt saved. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Sadio Mané with a cross.

Foul by Takumi Minamino (Liverpool).

Nicolas Pépé (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Rob Holding.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Granit Xhaka.

Takumi Minamino (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

goal

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