Jurgen Klopp’s men were in rampant form against a hapless Arsenal side as Liverpool score five with Roberto Firmino scoring a hat-trick.
Liverpool took a significant step towards cementing their top spot on the Premier League table with a 5-1 thrashing of Arsenal. Heading into Matchday-20, Liverpool were already six points clear at the top, and second place Tottenham’s loss earlier in the day has helped Klopp’s men to increase the gap to nine points now.
Arsenal were the bright starters and were rewarded with a goal in the 11th minute. In response to that opener, Roberto Firmino took advantage of some sloppy defending in the box by Arsenal to score the equalising goal within the next two and a half minutes. In even quicker time, Firmino found himself inside the box after some excellent work to beat most defenders and score his second.
With Liverpool in the lead and the Gunners attack out of sorts, yet another awkward moment in defence for Arsenal resulted in Mo Salah squaring the ball up to Sadio Mane to score an easy goal and give Liverpool a 2-goal cushion. To make matters worse for the Gunners, Mo Salah was tripped inside the box which resulted in a penalty, and the Egyptian dispatched his goal to equal his season’s tally with Aubameyang.
The second half was a little quieter than the first, although it was all Liverpool and the Reds did find the net courtesy of another penalty. This time, however, it was Roberto Firmino who took the spot-kick to complete his hattrick. Salah could have taken it himself to get ahead of Aubameyang in the scoring charts, but in all, it was a terrific victory for Liverpool and adds much significance to the title race now.
Here’s how Liverpool players rated during their emphatic win over Arsenal at Anfield.
Alisson – 8
Made some decent saves early on, especially the one from Iwobi. Alisson had no chance to prevent the Arsenal goal but did his best for the rest of the game to command the box and ensure he conceded no more. His attacking skills were also on display as it showed when his terrific ball set up the penalty for the fourth.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7
Only recently back in the squad, Alexander-Arnold’s rustiness was visible as Iwobi posed some problems for him. It was his side that the first goal for Arsenal came from. However, as the game went on, he looked like his usual self, commanding and in control of his position.
Virgil Van Dijk – 7
It was a different game from Van Dijk if not uncharacteristic from the Dutchman. Found his positioning questioned many times during the game, but luckily for him, nothing was made out of it. In one way he was not seen making a mistake, but other in-form attacking sides would have taken advantage of him otherwise.
Dejan Lovren – 7
It was Lovren’s error through a misjudged pass that set Arsenal in motion early on for the opener. Since that moment he showed his stronger side and ensured he commanded the defence correctly. For that earlier error, he made amends by winning the penalty in the second half which Firmino converted for his hattrick.
Andy Robertson – 7.5
Maitland-Niles gave him plenty of troubles many times during the game. The Arsenal attacker broke the deadlock using Robertson’s sloppiness in tracking him. However, Robertson was continually running down the pitch and was his usual self in the attack. Like Lovren, he made amends by creating the third goal with a diagonal pass.
Fabinho – 7
A mixed-bag game for the Brazilian in central midfield. His early sloppiness on a pass gave Iwobi a chance to score, but since then he showed some strength to control the midfield. Got the better of Torreira in their battle and almost scored with his shot only for Leno to deny him.
Gini Wijnaldum – 9
Wijnaldum played a starring role in Liverpool’s win. The Dutchman was everywhere in front of his defence, ensuring Arsenal did not get a whiff at their goal. Tidied up attackers whenever something was about to happen. His first half tackle on Ramsey in the box was everything about his game today, and that tackle saved a potential penalty for Arsenal.
Xherdan Shaqiri – 7
Shaqiri put in a good shift as Liverpool’s attacking outlet in midfield. He sent in some probing passes to fellow forwards and also made sure his side kept ticking for most times. Additionally, he also gave a hand in defensive duties in what looked like a good midfield performance from the Swiss star.
Roberto Firmino – 9.5
A brilliant evening for Firmino scoring his first Anfield goals of the season. For the equalising strike he might have been a little lucky, but for the second it was all his work. Set up Salah on course for the first penalty and scored one himself in the second half to complete his hattrick. Top class performance!
Sadio Mane – 9
It was Mane’s pressing style that really put plenty of pressure on Arsenal’s defence. Additionally, he executed his task of beating Lichtsteiner on the evening and was rewarded with a goal which was Liverpool’s third. Superb, overall performance from Mane.
Mohamed Salah – 8.5
Not his brightest game but still ended the evening with a goal and an assist to his name. He also won the penalty for the fourth, but it was the second half in which he actually came to life when he was afforded the space he needed.
Jordan Henderson – 7
Brought on during the second half to shore up things in midfield. He did exactly that and also at times went a little wild to see himself getting into the attacking act.
Adam Lallana – 6.5
Came on for the brilliant Gini Wijnaldum and ensured things were tight for his side.
Nathaniel Clyne – 6
Came on for Robertson and would be happy he got some more minutes under his belt. The substitution of Robertson was more to give some breather to the full-back as well as some time on the pitch for Clyne. Both plans worked out well.