Diogo Jota’s powerful header of a perfect Trent Alexander-Arnold started a barce as Liverpool burst through for a deserved 3-0 defeat of Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, picking up a win on the day their title defense was formally ended by a Man City win at Leicester.
Mohamed Salah also scored for Liverpool, who can only claim 73 points this season, and City’s on 74.
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The Reds had dominated the Gunners to that 64th-minute goal but had nothing to show for it in a complete display against an attack-minded Arsenal.
Liverpool has timed its top-four charge just right, though, and is two points back of fourth-place Chelsea. West Ham and Spurs can pass the reigning champions on Sunday.
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The Reds now have to deal with a trip to Real Madrid for a Tuesday first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals before hosting Aston Villa on Saturday.
Arsenal remains ninth with 42 points, four points behind Everton and six back of Tottenham despite playing fewer matches than both.
STREAM ARSENAL – LIVERPOOL FULL MATCH REPLAY
Three things we learned from Arsenal – Liverpool
1. Klopp is adapting, but health of Fabinho and Jota more helpful: Liverpool has sorted out its defensive woes, at least for now, keepers of three-straight clean sheets in wins over RB Leipzig, Wolves, and now Arsenal. The Reds, who’ve been quite unlucky this season in both bounces and fortune, entered the day allowing 8.5 shots-per-game. Only Man City has allowed fewer.
But a deep dive into the statistics will be a worthwhile endeavor to dig into just how Klopp has sorted out his defense despite injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and Joel Matip.
The growing chemistry Ozan Kabak and Nathaniel Phillips has helped a bunch, the center backs teaming up the aforementioned wins, but the midfield in front of them has taken so much pressure away from the youngsters. Thiago Alcantara was sensational against Leipzig, winning 7-of-10 ground duels, but Fabinho has been a force in the other two. On Saturday, he won 11-of-14 duels while making six tackles. Danger? Snuffed out.
2. Arsenal not a factor: The match was an hour old when Cedric Soares stung a shot at Alisson Becker, Arsenal’s first of the second half and second of the game. Here are some notable Arsenal’s statistics at that moment:
- 34 percent possession
- Zero corner kicks
- 278 passes (compared to 528 for Liverpool)
- 3-of-12 dribbles completed
- 20 clearances
This despite starting Nicolas Pepe, Martin Odegaard, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Alexandre Lacazette.
3. Super sub Jota delivers the goods (again): A half-hour brace brings Diogo Jota’s Liverpool totals to 12 goals and an assist in 1,271 minutes for the Reds. Four of his 12 goals have come off the bench, and it’s notable that both Jota and Fabinho returned to the team from long injury absences at about the same time.
Man of the Match: Fabinho
Yes, Jota scored two but Fabinho has authored a change in how Klopp’s team has operated this season. Forced to play center back for much of the season, the Brazilian has only played seven full matches at defensive mid. The Reds have won four, keeping three clean sheets, drawing one, and losing two. One was the blowout loss to Villa but the other was a 1-1 with Arsenal in the Community Shield that ended in penalties.
Arsenal – Liverpool recap
The Gunners were second-best all day, but held firm through Liverpool’s energetic first half and only allowed one clear-cut chance to James Milner.
That resilience didn’t last as Trent Alexander-Arnold shook free of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and whipped a perfect cross to the back post for Jota to power off Leno and into the goal,
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Salah made it 2-0 got his league-best 18th goal with a smooth finish after dribbling through the Arsenal box.
Leno kept the Arsenal deficit at two with a powerful charge to save Salah in the 74th.
But the Reds kept coming and Jota pounced on a loose ball to smash home their third goal of the day.