Published: Sun, December 30, 2018
Sports | By Phillip Butler

Liverpool vs. Arsenal - Football Match Report

Liverpool vs. Arsenal - Football Match Report

Pep Guardiola described his Manchester City players as "heroes" and refused to point the finger of blame at them after back-to-back Premier League defeats, but he admitted good fortune "will not come from above" as they prepare to face Southampton.

Rampant Liverpool opened a nine point gap at the top of the Premier League table after thumping Arsenal 5-1 thanks to a hat-trick by Roberto Firmino on Saturday evening.

Just when Arsenal thought they might make it to the interval without further damage, after seeing attempts of their own from Maitland-Niles and Ramsey fly narrowly over in the closing minutes of the first half, a momentary lapse of concentration cost them dearly as stoppage time arrived.

Fifth-placed Arsenal are 16 points off the pace but the gulf here was even wider as they collapsed under the first sign of pressure despite having taken an 11th-minute lead.

The Blues have been hot on the trail of the United States global since the summer and it now appears that they have found a breakthrough with a £45m deal agreed with their Bundesliga counterparts for the attacker.

All three of Liverpool's frontline deserve honourable mentions, but Firmino was the standout for his link-up play, clever off-the-ball movement and three goals - the second of which being brilliant. If that was a statement of intent from Liverpool another arrived nearly immediately, Firmino popping up with his second after Sadio Mané dispossessed Lucas Torreira in midfield.

Sadio Mane put daylight between Liverpool and Emery's men in the 32nd minute making it 3-1 with an easy finish in the centre of the six-yard box after a cut-back from Mohamed Salah who broke free on the right channel. As the second half of the season started on Saturday, the Reds made another one. The pair combined devastatingly for Liverpool's third, Salah prodding Andrew Robertson's long pass across goal for Mane to score.

On this evidence, Liverpool have the stamina to produce more of the same, and there seems little prospect of them losing focus, either.

"The situation is normal for a lot of players but simply I did not like the way he [Jurgen Klopp] has treated me, you can say that". We have three days to prepare. Arsenal clear from a corner but are too slow to get out.

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