Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said his side “have to learn” after the champions’ hopes of setting a new Premier League points record ended as they suffered only their third defeat of a stellar campaign at Arsenal. Jurgen Klopp’s side – who will receive the trophy after the game with Chelsea at Anfield next week – needed to win all of their remaining games to eclipse the tally of 100 points set by then champions Manchester City two seasons ago. And they looked on course when Sadio Mane gave Liverpool a fully deserved lead after 20 minutes as he slid home Andrew Robertson’s cross.
Arsenal were then allowed back into the game before the interval after uncharacteristic errors by two of Liverpool’s most reliable performers, Alexandre Lacazette taking advantage of a dreadful back-pass by Virgil van Dijk to equalise before goalkeeper Alisson’s poor clearance gave Reiss Nelson the opportunity to score with a composed finish. The second half was almost an exercise in attack against defence as Liverpool laid siege to Arsenal’s goal but Mikel Arteta’s side showed real resilience and determination to close out the win and receive a real morale boost before this weekend’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City at Wembley.
Arsenal’s defensive frailties have continued to plague their latest manager, Arteta, and they were demonstrated again in the north London derby defeat at Tottenham on Sunday. Here, however, Arsenal dug deep to survive a second-half siege from Liverpool in which they existed almost entirely in their own half. Liverpool had almost all the possession but Arsenal’s much-criticised rearguard remained organised and put their bodies on the line in desperation to preserve the lead given to them by the generosity of the champions.
When Liverpool did get through they found Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez in commanding form once more. He has been a real revelation since stepping in for the injured Bernd Leno and was excellent again here, dominating his area and also producing a fine save from Mohamed Salah in the second half. This was not an artistic Arsenal performance but Arteta will have been delighted with the sheer industry and resilience on show, especially as they face another team who will want to dominate possession as they prepare to confront Manchester City at Wembley on Saturday to battle for a place in the FA Cup final.