Liverpool kicked off the new Premier League season with a big win as they came from behind to beat Arsenal 4-3 at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
- Arsenal 3 Liverpool 4
- Walcott fires Gunners in front
- Coutinho equalises from free-kick
- Further goals from Lallana, Coutinho, Mane
- Oxlade-Chamberlain pulls one back
- Chambers wraps up thrilling contest
After Theo Walcott saw his first-half penalty saved, he beat Petr Cech moments later from regulation play with a fine finish to put the Gunners in front.
But Philippe Coutinho restored parity on the stroke of half-time with a sweetly-struck free-kick before Adam Lallana gave Jurgen Klopp’s side the lead early in the second half with a well-taken goal.
Coutinho and Sadio Mane quickly extended the Reds’ lead, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain pulled one back for the hosts within seconds and Calum Chambers further reduced the deficit to set up a tense finale in the capital.
The opening 45 minutes was an evenly-contested affair, although Liverpool struggled to keep possession while Arsenal saw a lot of their moves break down in the final third.
The hosts did manage to create an early chance when a slick move from the left flank found Alexis Sanchez, whose clever reverse pass from inside the area picked out Ramsey, but his low shot went straight to Simon Mignolet in the eighth minute.
Ramsey went for the spectacular midway through the first half after spotting Mignolet off his goalline, but the Welsh midfielder overcooked his shot from all of 45 yards out as the ball sailed over the crossbar.
The Gunners were presented with a perfect opportunity to open the scoring on 28 minutes when Walcott was brought down inside the area by Alberto Moreno, but Mignolet chose the right way as he saved the England’s winger’s resulting penalty at full stretch.
However, Walcott made amends just two minutes later as he latched onto Alex Iwobi’s pass inside the box and flashed his shot across Mignolet into the far bottom corner of the net.
The Reds looked to respond and crisp passing in the final third led to a chance for Roberto Firmino, who dragged his shot wide of the keeper’s right post from outside the area on 35 minutes.
Georginio Wijnaldum then drew a comfortable save out of Petr Cech after the visitors broke upfield, with Coutinho and Firmino linking up well to set up the Dutchman.
The Merseyside giants hit back on the stroke of half-time, however, when Coutinho won a soft free-kick 28 yards out and the Brazilian took it himself, sending the ball curling into the top corner with Cech well beaten.
The second half was barely four minutes old when Liverpool struck again, Coutinho’s flicked pass finding Wijnaldum inside the area and he turned before sending in a cross which was chested down by Lallana, who picked out the far corner of the net from an acute angle on the right.
The Reds had their tails up and another swift attack saw Coutinho extend their lead on 56 minutes as he converted Nathaniel Clyne’s right-wing cross from close range, while the Brazilian almost scored again moments later from Firmino’s cross but Cech kept him out from 10 yards with a sharp save.
Things got worse for the Gunners five minutes later as Lallana released Mane down the right flank and the Senegalese winger turned on the power to go past Chambers before cutting onto his left foot and thump a shot past Cech from 10 yards out.
But Arsenal replied instantly as Oxlade-Chamberlain jinked his way into the box from the left and fired off a shot which took a deflection off Dejan Lovren to beat Cech at his near post.
Chambers then gave his team hope of rescuing the game when he got on the end of Santi Cazorla’s free-kick from the left to steer his flicked header inside the keeper’s left post with 15 minutes to go.
Still Liverpool went in search of more goals in the closing stages and Firmino went close with a firm strike from the edge of the area that found the side-netting after Mane picked him out from the right flank on 85 minutes.
But they did enough to come away from the capital with all three points after taking advantage of the Gunners’ inexperience at the back.