- Arsenal takes early lead
- Firmino scores two, the second a wonderful solo goal (video)
- Salah with goal, assist
Liverpool ran roughshod over Arsenal, continuing to buttress its championship credentials behind a Roberto Firmino hat trick and a 5-1 win over the Gunners at Anfield on Saturday.
The win gives Liverpool a nine-point lead on second-place Spurs, while Arsenal is two points back of fourth-place Chelsea.
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It was a thrilling first 20 minutes at Anfield, with Arsenal taking a surprise lead off a Virgil Van Dijk giveaway. Maitland-Niles lost his mark and poked a seeing-eye cross from Alex Iwobi past Alisson.
But the Gunners were down one within minutes, both times due to Firmino.
The goals were not equal. His first came when a Mohamed Salah pass made several turns before the hustling Firmino was alone with the loose ball inside the six.
The second came moments later, as the Brazilian made his way through the entire Arsenal defense to beat Leno.
Mane made it 3-1 in the 32nd, blasting a sublime first touch pass from Salah beyond Leno off a long distance pass from Andrew Robertson.
The fourth goal came from Salah, who went down rather easily after slowing his run behind Sokratis. No matter, he capped the Reds’ outstanding half in style from the spot. 4-1. Goodnight, Unai.
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Lucas Torreira attempted more tackles (5) than any other Arsenal player in the first half against Liverpool.
He did not win a single one. 😳 pic.twitter.com/TgV1ce0Cmq
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 29, 2018
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Fabinho was denied a bid to make it 5-1 in the 63rd minute when Leno dropped low to make an arm save.
Sokratis then conceded a penalty when Dejan Lovren hit the deck, and Firmino used the penalty spot to complete his hat trick.