Rampant Reds put four past Arsenal at Anfield

Match reportRampant Reds put four past Arsenal at Anfield

Published 20th November 2021

A performance of class and authority saw Liverpool beat Arsenal 4-0 at Anfield on Saturday evening.

Sadio Mane’s header in the closing stages of the first half put the Reds ahead and the hosts duly shifted through the gears after the interval, with goals by Diogo Jota, Mohamed Salah and Takumi Minamino ensuring their dominance was rewarded.

Indeed, only a terrific display by Gunners goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale prevented the final scoreline from being even more convincing, but the comprehensive victory sees Jürgen Klopp’s side move up to second place in the Premier League. 

Team news

Thiago Alcantara and Kostas Tsimikas came in to the Liverpool starting line-up, with Jordan Henderson on the bench and Andy Robertson ruled out altogether due to injury. Divock Origi was absent through illness.

First half

A relatively sedate opening 25 minutes was characterised by Liverpool – prompted chiefly by the metronomic Thiago – popping the ball around as Arsenal sat in their defensive shape.

Slowly but surely, the Reds upped the tempo and intensity of their work and Ramsdale was called into action three times in quick succession while a touchline disagreement between Klopp and Mikel Arteta ignited the atmosphere.

First, the Arsenal goalkeeper repelled a Thiago volley before the ball was scrambled wide as Mane lurked, before Ramsdale denied Salah after Tsimikas had found the No.11 with a cut-back from the byline.

A rising, left-footed drive by Trent Alexander-Arnold then needed to be tipped over by Ramsdale but, after Fabinho had produced a marvellous last-ditch tackle to kill off a two-on-one counter-attacking opportunity for Arsenal, the Reds’ burgeoning pressure told.

Alexander-Arnold’s cross from a free-kick was delivered with textbook accuracy, with Mane peeling off to the back post and directing his header back across Ramsdale and into the far corner.

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Second half

An outstanding piece of defending by Virgil van Dijk, who recovered and slid in to thwart Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, helped preserve a lead that would soon increase thanks in no small part to Arsenal’s commitment to playing out from the back.

The visitors failed to heed numerous warnings as Liverpool failed to convert after stealing possession, but Jota gratefully accepted Nuno Tavares’ wayward pass prior to dancing his way past Ben White and Ramsdale and slotting into the empty net.

Ramsdale made another save to palm Mane’s hooked attempt away as Klopp’s buoyant team threatened to put the game beyond any doubt, though Alisson Becker – previously a nigh-on spectator – was required to stop an Aubameyang effort with his legs.

However, that was as good as it got for the Gunners, as Liverpool pressed their foot down on the accelerator with two more goals in the space of four minutes.

The first of the double salvo was Salah’s, the Egyptian capitalising on an unselfish Mane cross to convert at the back post after the No.10 had raced clear having been played in by a clever Jota touch.

And Minamino’s first Anfield goal arrived quickly, the substitute finishing off a rapid-fire team move with his first touch of the match when Alexander-Arnold found him at the back post with a drilled, low delivery.

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No more goals followed, but there was a moment to remember for Academy midfielder Tyler Morton, who made his Premier League debut by replacing Thiago late on.

Attendance: 53,092

Published 20th November 2021