It wasn’t Trent Alexander-Arnold’s characteristic game. Not in a bad way.
He usually leads the Liverpool squad in touches (actions) after a game, but against Arsenal, three players were ahead of him, with goalkeeper Alisson just one behind him.
From Alisson to Virgil van Dijk to Thiago, most of the ball moved through the centre of the pitch to the flanks, with Joel Matip also getting more touches than the right-back.
A quiet first half
Arsenal had a good start, creating the game’s opening few chances, owing in part to some unusual misplaced passes from Liverpool’s midfield.
The Reds took around 15-20 minutes to get their game flowing. Arsenal appeared to target Sadio Mane, and deservedly so. In the first thirty minutes, the winger was causing all sorts of problems to the Arsenal backline.
Aaron Ramsdale’s superb saves were the only thing keeping Arsenal afloat as Liverpool threw everything at Arsenal. The Vietnamese fans could have placed their bets on bongdalu, one of the most popular sports sites in Vietnam while The odds for the match kept fluctuating, as the keeper kept frustrating the hosts.
Thiago got a shot off first, and then Mane failed to score on the rebound. Ramsdale produced a brilliant, instinctive stop to deny Mohamed Salah minutes later. In the 37th minute, Oxlade-Chamberlain passed to Thiago, who then passed to Trent Alexander-Arnold. Alexander-Arnold unleashed a thunderbolt of a shot, but Ramsdale deflected it over the bar for a corner.
Klopp and Mikel Arteta had to be held back by match officials after a touchline confrontation following a tackle by Mane, with the referee booking both managers. What we didn’t know was how the near-confrontation would spark life into an otherwise dull contest.
After 40 minutes, the breakthrough was made. It was Mane who headed past the brilliant Ramsdale from Alexander-Arnold’s lofted ball from a corner to make it 1-0.
A different second half
Jota made it 2-0 for the Reds in less than 10 minutes after the restart to remind the Arsenal faithful of what Anfield was all about. Nuno Tavares made a startling mistake in front of his own goal, giving the ball straight back to Jota, who danced past two defenders and Ramsdale to put the ball into an empty net.
Jota would get out of a risky situation a few seconds later. He went after a 50-50 ball with Ramsdale, but ended up colliding and falling awkwardly instead. Both men were passed fit to continue after a quick evaluation.
Alisson was forced into a rare save after 65 minutes, deflecting a shot from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the break with the tip of his toe.
Michael Oliver surprisingly booked Mo Salah after it was clear the Egyptian had been shoved to the ground, only for the league’s top scorer to score Liverpool’s third goal a few minutes later.
It all started with Jota sending a beautiful headed pass to Mane, who had plenty of room in front of him. Mane crossed it to Salah’s path in front of goal, and there was only one outcome. Liverpool led 3-0.
Minamino replaced Jota three minutes later and made an instant impact. Salah received the ball from an outstanding Mane, found Trent on the overlap, who quickly crossed it to Minamino to make it 4-0.
The job was all done for Klopp who gave 19-year-old Tyler Morton his Anfield debut. Morton came on for Thiago to a priceless Anfield cheer.
The win sees Liverpool move back to second, 4 points behind Chelsea, leapfrogging West Ham who lost to Wolves, and Manchester City, who host Everton on Sunday.