Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino scored while Andrew Robertson impressed as Liverpool beat Arsenal 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League.
Liverpool made a bright start to the contest and could have taken the lead very early on through Virgil van Dijk, but it was not to be. From that point on, Arsenal grew into the game and put their visitors under pressure, with Gabriel Martinelli, in particular, causing all sorts of problems down the left flank. At the same time, the Gunners also ensured that Jurgen Klopp’s side were kept quiet at the back.
However, neither team could manufacture clear-cut opportunities as the first half ended without a goal. Liverpool, though, upped their game after the break and made a breakthrough in the 54th minute when Diogo Jota beat Aaron Ramsdale at his near post to make it 1-0. This happened moments after Alisson Becker had made a sprawling stop to deny Martin Odegaard a certain goal.
Liverpool doubled their tally eight minutes later as Roberto Firmino produced a brilliant finish to divert Andrew Robertson’s cross into the net. Arsenal huffed and puffed to force their way back into the game but were unable to threaten the Reds’ goal as their five-game winning streak in the Premier League came to an end.
Liverpool, meanwhile, picked up their ninth consecutive victory in the league and reduced the gap to leaders Manchester City to just one point with this crucial win over the Gunners. Here are our player ratings for both sets of stars after a fascinating clash at the Emirates Stadium.
Aaron Ramsdale: 5/10
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) March 17, 2022
Coming into the game after a fine showing against Leicester, the Englishman was caught out at his near post by Diogo Jota for the opener and was then outfoxed by Firmino’s deft finish.
Cedric Soares: 6/10
The Portuguese right-back enjoyed a positive first half as he pressed Liverpool well and provided a good outlet going forward while defending solidly. However, he left a lot of space between himself and Ben White in the lead-up to Jota’s goal and was again caught out for the second.
Ben White: 6/10
Like Cedric, White too enjoyed a good first 45 minutes when he kept Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz under wraps and helped keep Liverpool quiet in the final third. However, both the goals in the second half came from his side, even though he was not directly at fault for them.
Gabriel Magalhaes: 6/10
Solid in the opening period, doing his job to keep Sadio Mane & co. quiet even though he was caught under the ball on one or two occasions. Gabriel was somewhat at fault for the second goal as he allowed Firmino to run past him and get on the end of the cross.
Kieran Tierney: 7/10
A solid outing from the Scotsman, who played his part in keeping Liverpool quiet in the first half while also offering width going forward on occasions. Tierney held things together on his flank in the second half as well, even as Liverpool upped the ante.
Thomas Partey: 8/10
Thomas Partey vs. Liverpool
81% Pass Accuracy
5/8 Accurate Long Passes
4/4 Dribbles Completed
3/3 Tackles Won
9 Ground Duels Won
10 Ball Recoveries.
Bad result doesn't equal bad performance. We have been crying out for a midfielder like this❤ pic.twitter.com/bdzEEIgh7E
— UpYourArsenal🔴⚪🔴⚪♥️ (@UPYOURARSENAL04) March 17, 2022
The former Atletico Madrid man put in another fine performance in the middle of the park. Partey held his composure under Liverpool’s press and always made the right decision when in possession, while his off-the-ball work rate was also impressive, especially in the first half.
Granit Xhaka: 6.5/10
Not as influential as his midfield partner, but Xhaka did what was asked of him on the night and kept things ticking along while also looking to push forward whenever an opportunity presented itself.
Bukayo Saka: 6/10
The Arsenal academy product had a largely quiet outing apart from one or two bursts against Andrew Robertson in the first period. Saka lost the ball poorly, leading to the move that saw Liverpool score their second goal.
Martin Odegaard: 6/10
The Norwegian has been one of Arsenal’s most in-form players recently, but Liverpool did well to keep him quiet on Wednesday night. He did have some moments and had a great chance to score with the scoreline at 0-0 in the second period but could not beat Alisson.
Gabriel Martinelli: 8/10
Gabriel Martinelli's game by numbers vs. Liverpool:
100% take-on success
6 touches in the opp. box
6 x possession won
4 passes into the opp. box
4 duels won
3 take-ons completed
1 chance created
Jürgen Klopp was right. 🤩 pic.twitter.com/xsLzYZUVAn
— Squawka (@Squawka) March 16, 2022
The brightest Arsenal player on the pitch at the Emirates, Martinelli, terrorised Trent Alexander-Arnold with his pace and close control, getting into promising positions regularly, but it did not always come off for him. The Brazilian came agonisingly close to scoring in the second half, with his effort drifting just wide.
Alexandre Lacazette: 5/10
The Arsenal captain linked up play well on occasions and held the ball up at the top, but his movement inside the box left a lot to be desired, while he never really looked like posing a goal threat on the night.
Emile Smith Rowe: 5/10
On for Odegaard and slotted in as the No. 10, but could not cope with Liverpool’s pressing.
Nicolas Pepe: 5/10
Pepe replaced Saka in the 74th minute. He hardly made an impact.
Eddie Nketiah: N/A
Subbed on in place of Lacazette, Nketiah did little of note.
Alisson Becker: 8/10
Alisson Becker. pic.twitter.com/ssL6SEeA08
— Central LFC Brasil (@central_lfc_br) March 16, 2022
The Brazilian was alert throughout and charged out of his line on several occasions to deal with long balls and collected crosses well. But his most important contribution came in the second half when he made a top save to deny Odegaard after a poor pass from a teammate had gifted Arsenal a great chance.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 6.5/10
The Liverpool right-back was given a tough time by the lively Martinelli on the flank and had a tricky time defending against the Brazilian. At the same time, he was also a good outlet going forward and set Mane up for a good chance.
Joel Matip: 7.5/10
The Cameroonian centre-half was a solid presence at the heart of the Liverpool backline. Matip tracked the runners well and was at hand to produce key clearances and interceptions whenever Arsenal threatened going forward. He even pressed forward well after the half-time break.
Virgil van Dijk: 7.5/10
The Dutchman came close to scoring early in the game only to be denied by Ramsdale. Defensively, he was solid as ever, covering for Robertson and tracking the runs of Saka when Arsenal decided to kick it long. His distribution was a bit off early in the game, but normal services resumed as time wore on.
Andrew Robertson: 8/10
— Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) March 17, 2022
The Liverpool left-back had a battle on his hands against Saka, in which he prevailed as he defended his flank solidly throughout, even making a few important clearances in the box on either side of half-time. Robertson did not shy away from any chance to get forward and got the assist for the second goal with a fine cross after forcing Saka into giving possession away.
Jordan Henderson: 6/10
The Liverpool captain did not have the best of starts as he was bypassed easily by Arsenal in the first period while he failed to offer protection to Alexander-Arnold on the right side. However, he improved after the break and provided much more in both attacking and defensive facets.
In the first half, he found it hard to assert himself as Arsenal were full intent and energy but slowly grew into the game and defended the edge of the box well. He was much more impressive in the second half in his defensive work and his distribution, helping Liverpool come out on top.
Thiago Alcantara: 6/10
Coming into the side in place of Naby Keita, the Spaniard saw plenty of the ball in the first half but could not make the best use of it and was uncharacteristically passive with his distribution. He then almost gifted Arsenal a goal in the second half with a terrible backpass and was bailed out by Alisson. Thiago made amends with a lovely through ball for Jota’s goal.
Sadio Mane: 5.5/10
A quiet outing for the Senegalese winger, who started on the right flank on the night. Apart from having a goal chalked off for offside, Mane did not offer much threat going forward. He looked like a bigger threat later on when the game opened up after Liverpool took the lead but still did not have an impact.
Diogo Jota: 6/10
Diogo Jota vs. Arsenal since joining Liverpool:
— B/R Football (@brfootball) March 16, 2022
Back into the lineup, Diogo Jota endured a torrid first half during which he was constantly let down by his touch, and his passing was poor throughout. But when his moment came in the second period, the Portuguese international made no mistake, beating Ramsdale to put Liverpool in front. He was taken off soon after his goal, though.
Luis Diaz: 6/10
A quiet outing for the January signing. Diaz showed a few glimpses of his quality on the ball but was largely defended well by Arsenal, who did well to keep him at bay on the night.
Roberto Firmino: 7.5/10
Firmino replaced Jota in the 56th minute. Immediately made a difference, scoring just four minutes in with a lovely flick.
— Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) March 16, 2022
Mohamed Salah: 6/10
He came on for Diaz in the 56th minute and was lively in the final third, causing problems to Arsenal with his pace and directness.
Curtis Jones: N/A
Late sub for Thiago.