Arsenal and Liverpool draw in six goal thriller
Arsenal and Liverpool drew 3-3 in their Premier League clash at the Emirates Stadium tonight.
The point means Liverpool hold onto fourth place in the Premier League table, with Arsenal remaining fifth – a point behind the Reds.
Arsenal have conceded seven goals in two league games against Liverpool this season – in only one other Premier League campaign have they conceded more against an opponent (10 against Man Utd in 2011-12).
The Gunners fought back from two goals down to lead 3-2, but Jurgen Klopp’s men rallied to score again and take a point.
Arsene Wenger made 11 changes to the starting 11 that began in the win over West Ham United in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday.
He persisted with playing a back four, but the Gunners were distinctly second best in the first half.
They looked nervy defensively and weren’t able to get to grips with Liverpool’s pressing style.
The visitors were full value for their 1-0 lead at the break. If they had been more ruthless in front of goal they would have led by more goals.
In contrast Arsenal didn’t have one shot on target in the opening half.
Roberto Firmino should have put Liverpool ahead, but headed just wide with Petr Cech beaten.
Philippe Coutinho though scored his first headed league goal in English football in the 26th minute to put Liverpool ahead. Coutinho has been involved in 16 goals in 11 away matches in all competitions (nine goals, seven assists).
Mohamed Salah should have added a second goal before the break, but was denied by Cech. The ball fell to Sadio Mane who volleyed over the crossbar.
Salah though did get the second goal for the visitors in the 52nd minute, with a shot that deflected past Cech into the net.
Arsenal then rallied to score three goals in five minutes.
Alexis Sanchez headed in Hector Bellerin’s cross from close range in the 53rd minute.
Three minutes later Arsenal were level Granit Xhaka beat Simon Mignolet with a shot from 25 yards out.
Two minutes later Arsenal were remarkably ahead.
Mesut Ozil raced onto Alexandre Lacazette’s backheel before clipping the ball over Mignolet to give the Gunners the lead.
Liverpool though rallied and Cech could only parry Firmino’s left-footed shot, which bounced over the line into the net. Firmino has been involved in eight goals in his past five Premier League appearances against Arsenal (five goals, three assists).
The match highlighted perfectly the strengths and weaknesses of the two teams. Both are capable of sublime attacking football, but are equally each frail defensively.
It’s likely that Arsenal and Liverpool will once again be competing at the end of the season for a top 4 finish – along with Tottenham Hotspur.
Manchester United and Chelsea have the chance to put some daylight between themselves and the chasing pack as they look to secure second and third places in the Premier League table – as they chase runaway leaders Manchester City.
Arsenal are next in action on 28 December when they travel to Crystal Palace in the Premier League (8:00pm kick off UK time).
Arsenal: Cech 6, Bellerin 6, Koscielny 6, Monreal 5 (Mustafi 6), Maitland-Niles 8, Xhaka 6, Wilshere 7, Iwobi 6(Welbeck), Ozil 7, Sanchez 7 (Walcott), Lacazette 6