Arsenal 2 Liverpool 1

Lacazette 32, 44 Nelson, Mane 20

Arsenal came from behind to stun Liverpool at the Emirates stadium with a dogged but deserved  2-1 win over the new Premier League champions. It was the kind of game which Arsenal have been familiar with in recent seasons, dominant in possession but not getting the win. However for Mikel Arteta, and for Arsenal that narrative was in his favour this time as his players won a game with a resilient intelligence that has often been sacrificed in the name of flair in the past.

Liverpool had plenty of flair to go with their near seventy per cent possession and from the moment, Sadio Mane tucked away Andy Robertson’s cross from the left, after 20 minutes, it appeared that another win for the Reds would be on the cards. The Gunners couldn’t fire and were being swamped in all areas of the expansive Emirates pitch as they tried to break free. But we have seen the way in which Arteta asks his players to chase down with a high energy pressing game, and that became crucial here, leading to errors from two of the unlikeliest of sources.

Reiss Nelson hurried Virgil van Dijk as the Reds attempted to play out from the back. Normally so composed in such circumstances, van Dijk was forced into playing a tame back pass towards Fabinho,  which Alexandre Lacaztte flew onto and in doing so, rounded Alisson to strike home for the Arsenal leveller. Goals change games as the saying goes, but still everyone anticipated that Liverpool would just go through the gears and get their reward. However, just before the break, Alisson’s error enabled Arsenal to take the lead.

The Brazil ‘keeper looked to return the ball to Robertson from a thrown-in, but Nelson’s busy presence again made for an under-cooked return pass back to the Scotland defender. Lacazette had spotted where he could regain the ball and he sprinted to do just that. The France striker then produced a perfect cross for Nelson to guide in for his first Premier League goal and an Arsenal lead.

It was then a case of would Liverpool be able to re-gain parity. Roberto Firmino had earlier saw an attempted Emiliano Martinez clearance come back off him to clip the outside of the upright, but that lapse would be a rarity for the Gunners Argentine goal-keeper who again produced some fine saves. Firstly he tipped over the bar after Mohamed Salah’s quick feet confused David Luiz, and then one from Trent Alexander-Arnold to keep his side in the lead. Alexander-Arnold can count himself fortunate to not have been shown a red card for a studs up challenge on Bukayo Saka, in the same manner as led to Eddie Nketiah’s red card against Leicester City.

Mane’s cross for Salah seemed to surprise the Egypt striker who tamely headed to Martinez, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles pressure on Mane as he raced onto Robertson’s ball on the left ensured his effort was off target. Arsenal had another chance to put further distance between them and Liverpool, when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s cross fell to Joe Willock, but with the goal opening up in front of him, Willock couldn’t find the best connection and his effort flew just wide of target.

All in all, a good defensive performance from Arsenal, and one which we could get used to when the circumstances demand it.

Next up for the Gunners is a trip to Wembley for their FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City on Saturday.