1-0, Min.41, Matip, 2-0, Min.49, Salah (Pen), 3-0, Min.58, Salah, 3-1, Min.85, Torreira.
Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal: Relentless Reds maintain perfect start to brush aside impressive Gunners 
Photo: Getty Images - John Powell

Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal: Relentless Reds maintain perfect start to brush aside impressive Gunners 

Liverpool ensured their 100 percent start was maintained with an impressive victory against Arsenal to remain at the summit of the Premier League table.

joshuakerr97
Joshua Kerr
Liverpool F.C.Adrián, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum (Milner 59), Henderson, Mane (Oxlade-Chamberlain 77), Salah, Firmino (Lallana 86).
ArsenalLeno, Maitland-Niles, Socrates, Luiz, Monreal, Guendouzi (Mkhitaryan 86), Xhaka, Ceballos (Torreira 61), Willock (Lacazette 81), Pépé, Aubameyang.
INCIDENTSPREMIER LEAGUE MATCHWEEK 3 CLASH BETWEEN LIVERPOOL AND ARSENAL AT ANFIELD.

For Arsenal, this wasn't a performance to lament over or a cause for serious concern. In the context of their quite frankly embarrassing record in this stadium, this was a much-improved display to recent years. 

Ignore the scoreline, the picture painted on a glorious evening on Merseyside was one that we already knew. Liverpool on their day are able to operate at a level that virtually no team - bar Manchester City - can bare to live with and the Gunners were the latest travelling party to fall victim to the cauldron of Anfield.

Unai Emery's side were gunned down from start to finish, immediately from the opening whistle Liverpool hunted the visitors down like relentless wolves who had just had their first taste of blood. After a ponderous start that saw their rhythm interrupted by lack of quality in the final third, the Reds eventually found their notorious confidence in front of goal and from then on there was only going to be one outcome.

Mohamed Salah enjoyed a devastating afternoon tormenting the likes of David Luiz who failed to cope with the threat and fell into an all-too-familiar malfunction mode in the second half where the gap in quality between the two teams became evident for all to see. 

Whilst Liverpool ensured they are the only remaining team in the league to maintain a 100 per cent record, Arsenal certainly showcased that with time the new signings from Emery could turn his team into a force to be reckoned with. 

However, there was the anticipated introduction to Luiz' infamous defensive fragility. This was something that was feared when the former Chelsea man arrived in north-London and it was the difference today. 

Make that 15 goals scored by Jurgen Klopp's European champions against Arsenal in their previous four visits to Anfield. New faces couldn't paper over the cracks that have been exposed for a time now. Among them was of course last season's joint-Golden Boot winner Salah who reminded the country once again how hard Liverpool will be to stop this season.

However, it is safe to say that at the other end of the field Arsenal have an almighty level of firepower in their attacking region. The imperious Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip occasionally had their feathers ruffled by the oncoming Arsenal storm. For the build-up and hype of attacking forces on display, it was the difference at the back that settled the verdict this time around.

Despite returning to the Premier League summit, the defensive solidarity of last season is still finding it's time to return to effect. The Reds still seek a first clean sheet following Lucas Torreira's consolation late strike. 

It mattered little though to Klopp, who got to enjoy Salah scorching past defenders like they were lost school children and it was a sight that was all too fearsome and familiar.

The defeat, ultimately showcased how much work remains to be done for Emery and co. Like Norwich at Anfield, they certainly had their chances in the first half, when debutant Nicolas Pepe, making his first Premier League start, proved a constant threat but lacked the clinical instinct that could have proven the difference on another day.

An evening at Anfield is a true test of any team's guts and guile and for an Arsenal team that has shipped 12 goals in their last three visits, it hasn't gotten easier with time. 

The story of the match

The Gunners head coach could have been forgiven for taking a more pragmatic and cautious approach against a team that put them to the sword just eight months ago following that chastening 5-1 defeat back in January. 

There was no Alexandre Lacazette in the XI whilst Mesut Ozil was left out of the squad altogether. Arsenal's club-record signing Nicolas Pepe finally got the baptising he'd been craving and the former Ligue 1 prodigy played with a boldness to be admired. Despite being thrown up against arguably the best left-back and central defender in world football, the teenager exuded class and tenacity throughout.

Arsenal courageous, yet also naive, attempted to play out from the back against the Red's trademark high-energy pressing. Liverpool smelled blood whenever the ball touched an Arsenal foot and seized play back at every waking opportunity given to them with a choreographed menace. 

The two full-backs, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson were at times pushed towards the box every time Bernd Leno prepared to take a goal kick. It worked to devastating effect as Arsenal failed to get out of their own half and the two full-backs continued to whip in swirling crosses that just eluded the reach of Roberto Firmino in the opening few minutes.

Sadio Mane was later denied after a gift from Dani Ceballos fell into the forward's path before he rocketed a shot straight at Leno that was pushed out for a corner.

The red wave of attack continued to gain pace but there was still nervy moments for the hosts with Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang providing so much pace on the counter. It helped Emery's team find a stronghold in the game and without the security of the injured Alisson Becker, there was a vulnerability beginning to creep into the air.

Following his howler only seven days ago against Southampton, the kicking of replacement goalkeeper Adrian has become a cause of concern for Klopp and it was nearly exposed again today. A poor clearance from the interim shot-stopper fell straight into the path of Aubameyang, whose lobbed effort dropped just a yard from the post. 

It caused an unfamiliar sense of panic around the fortress known as Anfield and the pace of a certain Ivorian winger was beginning to cause problems for Liverpool. Pepe curled a decent effort wide before being sliced through the home defence with his electrifying pace where even Van Dijk was left hapless to requirements. Only a dreadfully uncomposed finish was the difference between Arsenal gaining the lead. 

A manager as experienced as Emery will know that's where matches at the top level hinge on and the look in his face proved evident when Matip delivered a cruel reminder thumping a header into the top corner following an Alexander-Arnold corner. It was the quality of the delivery that proved impossible for Arsenal to stop and only bear witness to as Matip scored his first league goal in just under 12 months. 

Half-time seemed to come at a good moment for Arsenal after Mane let the visitors off the hook following yet another exquisite delivery from Alexander-Arnold on the far-right. Any tactical plans from Emery were soon rendered irrelevant when Salah's shirt was hacked down following some unforgivable defending from Luiz. The pull-back was so blatant and warmly welcomed by the Liverpool frontman who thundered his resulting penalty into the top corner.

Arsenal to their credit continued to take the game to Liverpool and were once again denied following some last-ditch defending from Matip who rushed back to shut out Aubameyang. Liverpool once again poured forward like red lava seeping through the Arsenal cracks and the third goal came soon enough. 

It was a goal of pure class after Salah nonchalantly rolled the ball past Luiz leaving the Brazilian in his wake, as he burnt past Monreal before rolling a low finish into Leno's bottom corner. A hard lesson for the Arsenal contingent who are still finding their feet before any major improvements from last season can be justified. The final game four minutes from the end after substitute Torreira rewarded the visitors attacking play by stroking a shot comfortably past Adrian. Once again, however, it was the defending that decided the contest for the Gunners. 

 

VAVEL Logo