Roberto Firmino’s powerful finish earned Liverpool a draw in an incredible Premier League encounter that had seen Arsenal score three goals in just five second-half minutes. The Gunners had been trailing 2-0 after Philippe Coutinho scored his first headed league goal in England before Mohamed Salah added a second early in the second half with a deflected strike. But Arsenal suddenly came alive as Alexis Sanchez headed in Hector Bellerin’s cross from close range before Granit Xhaka’s thumping strike was too powerful for Simon Mignolet’s weak save. Barely two minutes later Mesut Ozil put Arsenal ahead with a neat clip over Mignolet.
Play swung from one end of the pitch to the other at blistering pace, with both sides looking capable of scoring with every attack. But it was Liverpool who had the final say in one of the most thrilling Premier League encounters in years as Petr Cech could only take the sting out of Firmino’s shot and the ball bounced over the line. The point meant Liverpool held onto fourth place, with Arsenal remaining fifth – a point behind the Reds. This had looked like being a routine win for Liverpool after a dominant first half. They led through Coutinho’s clever header and should have had more but for some uncharacteristically wasteful finishing by Sadio Mane and Salah. However, it was not long until the Premier League’s top scorer had his 15th of the season, and so began an incredible six minutes…
52 mins: Salah races on to Firmino’s superb pass and makes it 2-0 with a deflected finish. Arsenal, who have not had a single shot on target, look beaten.
53 mins: Out of nowhere, Arsenal are back in it. Sanchez is well placed to nod in Bellerin’s cross from close range.
56 mins: What’s going on!? Arsenal are level! Xhaka tries his luck from 25 yards and the ball fizzes through Mignolet’s hand.
58 mins: Goals! Goals! Goals! Arsenal are ahead as Ozil is on to Alexandre Lacazette’s backheel before clipping the ball over Mignolet.
The Gunners were no doubt helped by Liverpool’s poor defensive performance, but Arsene Wenger praised the character of his side to stage such a fightback.