Liverpool goal rush stuns flakey Arsenal

  • Reuters, London
  • Updated: Aug 15, 2016 00:52 IST
Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho scored a superb freekick to level the scores, before adding a second as the Reds went on to win 4-3 against Arsene Wenger’s men. (REUTERS)

Liverpool put down an early marker as Premier League title contenders by scoring four times in 17 minutes to win 4-3 at Arsenal in a thrilling match on Sunday.

They had fallen behind to last season’s runners-up when Theo Walcott, having just had a penalty saved by Simon Mignolet, scored in the home team’s next attack.

Arsenal, with three central defenders missing, then fell apart in conceding to Philippe Coutinho (twice), Adam Lallana and debutant Sadio Mane between the 45th and 62nd minutes.

Substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain immediately pulled one goal back and Calum Chambers added another but that was not enough to prevent only a second Liverpool win away to the London side in 21 visits.

It was greeted by boos from the home crowd, many Arsenal supporters again being dissatisfied with the lack of new players Arsene Wenger has recruited in the close-season.

One of them, Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka, appeared as a second-half substitute second half and the other, young defender Rob Holding, played from the start in the absence of injured trio Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel.

A Liverpool win seemed unlikely when they went into added time at the end of the first half with Arsenal ahead despite the penalty miss.

That followed a clear foul by full back Alberto Moreno on Walcott, who stood up to take the kick but had his poorly placed shot saved.

The England winger immediately made amends, however, putting a low drive where the penalty should have gone, just inside Mignolet’s post.

Coutinho equalised with a superb free kick from 25 metres before the interval and in little more than quarter of an hour Liverpool had what seemed an unassailable lead.

There were outstanding team goals from Lallana, Coutinho and Mane while Petr Cech had to make an excellent save to deny Coutinho a hat-trick.

Boos from the home supporters turned to something more supportive within two minutes as Oxlade-Chamberlain beat Mignolet to make it 4-2 and 10 minutes later defender Calum Chambers headed in Santi Cazorla’s free kick.

There was quarter of an hour to force a repeat of the 4-4 draw between the teams at Anfield in 2009 but the Liverpool defence held out comfortably.

“The manager had a few words for us at halftime and we responded brilliantly,” Lallana said.

“We got a bit complacent at 4-1, but Arsenal are a top team.”

They did not look it in the crucial period of the game on Sunday.

“We paid for a lack of experience at the back,” Wenger said, adding that he was “working very hard to get one or two players in”.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp was understandably buoyant, despite admitting “We can defend much better.”

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