Story of the game
As a result of the Gunners’ extended 2019/20 season, they only returned to full training a couple of days ago and despite their short spell back, Mikel Arteta’s side displayed tremendous levels of energy and were soon rewarded for their efforts.
On the 12th minute mark, a fluid Arsenal counterattack saw 18-year-old Bukayo Saka pick out a perfect cross-field ball to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who was able to drive at the Liverpool backline and curl an effort into the top right-hand corner from 20 yards out.
On the hour mark, Jürgen Klopp introduced Naby Keita and Takumi Minamino onto the field of play and it was the latter who got the Reds on level terms 10 minutes later. The Japanese international was able to see the ball bounce off Cedric inside the box, ricochet into his path and finish coolly past Martinez in net to bag his first goal for the Reds.
That proved to be the last piece of action of note and subsequential the tie entered into a penalty shootout which was won by Arsenal after Rhian Brewster, who entered the field of play two minutes prior to the final whistle, missed his kick.
Arsenal: Nelson (GOAL), Maitland-Niles (GOAL), Cedric (GOAL), David Luiz (GOAL), Aubameyang (GOAL).
Liverpool: Salah (GOAL), Fabinho (GOAL), Brewster (MISSED), Minamino (GOAL), Jones (GOAL).
Key takeaway from the match
Is Neco Williams Ready?
Neco Williams, at only 19-years of age, has been promoted as deputy to Trent Alexander-Arnold for the upcoming Premier League season after only featuring in three league games last season.
Judging from today’s game, Klopp may well have dropped the Welshman in the deep end, and it would not be a shock whatsoever if we see new signing Kostas Tsimikas feature on the right for the Reds at times this season.
Williams showed his inexperience in not showing Aubameyang onto his weaker left foot multiple times today, not least for the opening goal.
The Gabon captain is one of the best goalscorers in the world but as far as starts to the new season go, it could have gone much, much better for Williams.
Man of the Match
Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)
The 18-year-old showed a cool head in a game in which the London side were under immense pressure for the majority of the game.
His ball for the opening goal of the game was superb and proved that age is merely a number in the professional game.
Since the start of last season, only Kevin De Bruyne (22) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (15) have more assists in all competitions among Premier League players than Saka.
What's next for Liverpool?
Jürgen Klopp’s side open their league campaign at home to newly promoted Leeds United in 14 days time as they look to defend their Premier League crown.
Barring any injuries during the international break, Klopp will have a mostly fit squad for the tie with the only potential absentee being captain Jordan Henderson.
The time away from his squad will give the manager a chance to plan out his assault on the Premier League and potentially delve into the transfer market for the second time this summer.
What's next for Arsenal?
The North London club kick off their Premier League season against Scott Parker's Fulham who play their first competitive game since their win in the Championship Play-Off Final against Brentford.
During the upcoming international break, Arsenal fans across the world will have everything crossed that their captain and top goalscorer, Aubameyang will sign his new contract.