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Liverpool sweep aside Arsenal 3-1; Gunners fail to capitalize on early chances

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Liverpool leapt to the top of the Premier League table, maintaining a cent percent win record from their three fixtures so far in the 2019-20 season after an emphatic 3-1 win over Arsenal at Anfield. The visiting Gunners who came to Anfield as the only other side to win their first two games had two clear opportunities to move ahead of the hosts in the first half with £72m signing Nicolas Pepe failing to beat Adrian, shooting one straight to the Liverpool goalkeeper and the other when the custodian rushed outside the box leaving his goal completely exposed to a lob from the young French winger that fortuitously went over. Liverpool took control when Joel Matip put them ahead with a powerful header from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner four minutes before half-time. The Gunners were even then creating moments of threat through the pace and menace of Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and looked like starting the proceedings post-interval with hope. But all that was snuffed out by a moment of gross stupidity from £8 million Chelsea-import David Luiz. Luiz made Arsenal’s vibrant counter-attacking game count for nothing when he thought the best way to deal with Mohammed Salah’s 49th-minute raid into the penalty area was to blatantly drag him back by the shirt, an infraction that did not even require the intervention of the video assistant referee (VAR).  Despite some wild protests from Luiz, Salah drilled in his spot-kick to make it 2-0 for Liverpool in the 49th minute.

The talismanic Egyptian forward again outwitted Luiz just outside the touchline at the start of a dazzling run that ended with a low, curling finish into the bottom corner of the net in the 58th, putting the game beyond the Gunners’ reach. With that, Salah has now been directly involved in more Premier League goals against Arsenal than against any other side (eight; 6 goals and 2 assists). He has scored in all four of his home games against them.

Arsenal substitute Lucas Torreira pulled one back late on in the 85th minute to make it 1-3 for the North London club, but nothing could prevent Liverpool from marching to their 12th successive League victory.

Since Jurgen Klopp took over in October 2015, Liverpool have scored 26 goals in 8 Premier League games against Arsenal – the most one side has netted against another in the competition in that period. Not just that, Arsenal haven’t won a single of their nine encounters with the Merseyside club in that time frame, having lost five and drawing four these of those. The Gunners’ last success at Anfield was way back in September 2012 when they won 2-0.

A delighted Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said ““Our identity is intensity and that’s how we showed up today. I would have loved to have had a clean sheet today, but Arsenal is a quality side. They didn’t have that many chances. We were really in charge and won the game comfortably.”

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