Reiss Nelson scores Arsenal’s second goal against Liverpool
The Gunners had not beaten Liverpool in their last nine league meetings but a 2-1 win at the Emirates Stadium, their goals coming from their only shots on target, left Mikel Arteta’s side ninth – only three points behind sixth-placed Wolves.
When Sadio Mane gave the visitors the lead it looked to be the same old story for Arsenal against their so-called top-six rivals, but Alexandre Lacazette and Reiss Nelson pounced on costly mistakes to turn the game around before the interval.
Virgil Van Dijk and Alisson were the guilty parties, with the defeat meaning Jurgen Klopp’s runaway side will now fall short in their attempt to end the campaign with their points tally in three figures.
Arteta, making five changes with an eye on Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City, opted to drop the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Dani Ceballos and Hector Bellerin to the bench.
The hosts survived an early scare as goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez’s clearance was charged down by Roberto Firmino, with the ball hitting the base of the post before squirming behind.
Liverpool did not have to wait too long to break the deadlock, Firmino and Andy Robertson combining down the left to tee up Mane, who finished off the move with ease.
Van Dijk has rightly been praised for his performances at the heart of the Liverpool defence but he gifted Arsenal their equaliser.
The Holland international was pressed by Nelson and passed the ball straight into the path of Lacazette, who was left with a simple finish to haul Arsenal level with his third goal in his last four games.
Things went from bad to worse for the Liverpool defence before the break, with goalkeeper Alisson looking to play out from the back but only picking out an alert Lacazette, who played in Nelson to give Arsenal the lead.
Klopp was quick down the tunnel at the interval having silently fumed in his seat as the first half wore on.
His side continued to have the better of the ball after the restart and Mohamed Salah’s fine piece of skill left David Luiz on the ground, but Martinez was equal to the Egyptian’s strike, tipping it over the crossbar.
Arteta responded with a triple change, introducing captain and top goalscorer Aubameyang as well as Ceballos and Joe Willock.
It was Liverpool’s own substitute, Takumi Minamino, who shot wide soon after he had come off the bench, while Salah fluffed his lines with a back-post header that ended up straight in the hands of Martinez.
Arsenal were doing well to limit Liverpool to occasional chances and even had an opportunity to wrap up the points in the last minute, only for Willock to slash his shot wide.
Arsenal still saw out the contest, Arteta getting the better of Klopp and seeing his side bounce back from derby defeat at Tottenham, courtesy in the main to Liverpool’s lax defending.
- Arsenal have beaten Liverpool for the first time in the Premier League since April 2015 (4-1), with this being the first time Jurgen Klopp has suffered defeat against the Gunners in the competition (W5 D3 L1).
- Liverpool suffered their first Premier League defeat in a game they opened in the scoring in since April 2017 (1-2 v Crystal Palace), ending a run of 83 consecutive league games without losing after scoring the opening goal.
- This was Arsenal’s first Premier League win against the team starting the day top of the table since February 2016 (2-1 v Leicester), having lost each of their previous five such games before tonight.
- Liverpool have conceded 10 goals in their last five Premier League away games (W1 D1 L3), as many as they had in their previous 19 league games on the road.
- Arsenal’s equaliser came following Virgil van Dijk’s first error leading to a goal in the Premier League since March 2019 (for Liverpool v Fulham), while it was also the Gunners’ first shot of the game.
- Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette has been directly involved in four goals in three Premier League appearances against Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium (two goals and two assists).
- Reiss Nelson netted his first Premier League goal for Arsenal, becoming the fifth different player aged 20 or under to score for the Gunners in the competition this season (along with Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli and Willock).
- Liverpool’s Sadio Mané has scored six goals against Arsenal in the Premier League; only against Crystal Palace (nine) does he have more in the competition.