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Arsenal benefit from defensive errors for once as they stun Liverpool in 2-1 win

In a strange turn of events it is Arsenal that have benefitted from costly defensive errors as the Gunners have stunned Premier League champions Liverpool with a 2-1 win.

Mikel Arteta’s side were never expected to pull off this kind of result against Jurgen Klopp’s men, they’ll now be hoping that they showed this kind of fight earlier in the season whilst a Champions League spot was still up for grabs.

Here’s how the two sides lined up:

Arsenal, 3-4-3/5-2-3: Martinez, Holding, Luiz, Tierney, Soares, Torreira, Xhaka, Saka, Nelson, Lacazette, Pepe.

Subs: 57′ Ceballos on for Torreira, 58′ Aubameyang and Willock on for Lacazette and Nelson, 76′ Maitland-Niles on for Cedric.

Liverpool, 4-3-3: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mane.

Subs: 61′ Keita and Minamino on for Oxlade-Chamberlain and Firmino, 83′ Shaqiri and Origi on for Wijnaldum and Salah.

First-half:

There was no surprise as the reigning champions dominated the opening period of the match, the Gunners were fortunate to not fall behind just 10 minutes in.

Roberto Firmino chased down Emi Martinez and the goalkeeper’s clearance was blocked by the ace and rattled against the post.

Klopp’s side didn’t have to wait much longer to break the deadlock, the Reds hit the back of the net in the 19th minute after some lovely build-up play.

Andy Robertson showed his brave heart as he leapt up to win a header, sparking a chance for Liverpool, Firmino then slipped the ace in and the full-back played it across goal for Sadio Mane to slide in.

Arteta’s men drew level around 12 minutes after after a rare error from Virgil van Dijk as the stalwart attempted to play the ball across his box.

Alexandre Lacazette showed his quick reactions to latch onto the loose ball before expertly rounding one of the world’s best keepers in Alisson and slotting the ball into the empty net.

The Gunners shocked as they took the lead just a couple of minutes before halftime in a similar manner, this time Alisson was the one making the costly error and Lacazette was the provider.

The Frenchman thanked Reiss Nelson for sparking the mistake that led to his goal less than 15 minutes before by drilling a low cross into the ace, the winger tucked the ball into the goal with a tidy finish.

Second-half:

The second-half proved to be a much less eventful period of play, which is fair considering some of the shocks twists and turns of the opening 45 minutes.

Trent Alexander-Arnold was very fortunate to escape with just a yellow card after a dangerous high challenge on Arsenal starlet Bukayo Saka.

The Reds didn’t create many chances in the second-half, but Takumi Minamino called for a penalty in the 66th minute after being brought down by Kieran Tierney from about six yards out.

Contact was fairly minimal and it would’ve been extremely controversial for the referee to award a spot-kick for the incident.

Alexander-Arnold rattled the post with a deflected effort from outside the box in the final minute of the encounter, this would’ve caused some controversy if it went owing to the ace’s early challenge.

Game stats:

Arsenal vs Liverpool stats

Courtesy of Sky Sports.

Post-match thoughts:

Uncharacteristic is the best word to describe Liverpool coming out of the game, the Reds are never this error-prone – and no one would’ve ever guessed Arsenal would be the side to take advantage.

Arsenal showed a rare clinical touch in a big game by converting both of their shots on target, the Gunners can really learn from this display – they were on the back-foot but came away with the win.

All across the pitch, Arteta’s side looked much more cohesive and fans will be kicking themselves, a performance like this earlier in the season against top competition would’ve kept them in the race for a Champions League spot – now they aren’t even certain to win a place in the Europa League.

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