Liverpool thrust themselves firmly back into the battle for a place in the Premier League’s top four as they outclassed abject Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.Chelsea’s shock thrashing at home to West Brom earlier in the day opened the door for Liverpool – and Jurgen Klopp’s men burst straight through it in style with a victory that leaves them in fifth, only two points behind Thomas Tuchel’s side. The only surprise was that it took dominant Liverpool so long to make their superiority count. They finally got the breakthrough they deserved after 64 minutes when Diogo Jota headed Trent Alexander-Arnold’s brilliant delivery past Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno moments after he replaced Andy Robertson.
It was not only the decisive moment of the contest but also a timely reminder of the quality Alexander-Arnold possesses at a time when England manager Gareth Southgate feels he can do without him. Liverpool doubled their lead four minutes later when Mohamed Salah took advantage of poor defending by Arsenal’s Gabriel then slid a cool finish through Leno’s legs. Jota was the beneficiary of more good work from Alexander-Arnold when he slammed home his second from close range with eight minutes left – by then, though, the game had become a formality. The only positive about this Arsenal performance was the fact they kept Liverpool out for 64 minutes – although that was more down to the Premier League champions’ lack of cutting edge up than especially good work by the Gunners.
The hosts were dreadful and fortunate not to be beaten far more heavily. This was miserable stuff from Arsenal. The only work Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson, complete with extravagant new moustache, had to do all night was clutch a straightforward shot from substitute Cedric Soares in the second half. Yes, Arsenal lost influential left-back Kieran Tierney right on half-time, but that was no excuse for what Mikel Arteta’s side served up. They offered no punch in attack, no fight in midfield and were eventually overwhelmed in defence. Arsenal saved themselves by coming from three goals down to earn a point in their last league game at West Ham but there was never the slightest hope of a comeback against Liverpool. They sit in ninth place, four points adrift of Everton having played two games more, and much now rests on their Europa League quarter-final against Slavia Prague.