Arsenal v Liverpool: Premier League – live! | Football
39 min: Corner for Liverpool down the left. Robertson sends it deep. Mane, pulling clear of the bunch in the middle, meets it with a header, but sends it harmlessly over the bar.
38 min: Suddenly passes aren’t sticking for Liverpool. Salah shanks one straight out of play into the stand. Frustration betrays him as he snaps his head back and yells, a Pez dispenser of frustration.
36 min: Ah yes, here’s Klopp, and he’s allowing himself a wry grin. That’ll no doubt translate into the hairdryer treatment at half time. Mane tries to get sloppy Liverpool going again with a dribble down the left, but his deft flick inside evades Salah.
34 min: To be fair to Van Dijk, he’s got plenty of moral credit in the bank. So has Fabinho, but now he gives the ball away cheaply in midfield, allowing Pepe to dribble with great purpose upfield. He’s eventually chased down, but Jurgen Klopp won’t be happy with this at all. Liverpool were in total control, but have carelessly let Arsenal find their feet in this match.
GOAL! Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool (Lacazette 32)
Van Dijk has his arm tugged, the ball at his feet on the edge of his own box. It’s a light intervention from Nelson, never a foul, but the defender wants one because he rolls a dreadful backpass straight to Lacazette, who rounds Alisson on the right and rolls into the empty net! What a preposterous goal to give away. VAR has a look at Van Dijk’s complaint, but there’s no way that’s being overturned.
31 min: Some more Arsenal possession in the Liverpool half. Torreira finds Lacazette down the inside right, but the flag goes up for offside. No matter, though, because …
30 min: Cedric crosses from the right, forcing Alexander-Arnold to hoick out of play near the corner flag. Some rare possession for Arsenal in Liverpool’s final third. They shop possession, but then so does Mane, and Xhaka returns the ball down the inside-right channel. Nelson gets on the end of it, and is unfortunate when it ricochets off Robertson, back onto him, and out for a goal kick. Better from the hosts.
28 min: Oxlade-Chamberlain shoots from distance this time. Xhaka, sliding across, blocks just in time. Salah brings a looping ball down with ease and prepares to shoot, inside the box, but the flag goes up correctly for offside; he’d gone before Oxlade-Chamberlain took aim.
26 min: Oxlade-Chamberlain thinks about shooting from distance, but slips a pass wide right to Alexander-Arnold, who curls with the outside of his boot towards Salah in the box. Any contact would surely deflect the ball past Martinez, but Salah can’t quite extend a leg. Arsenal breathe again.
25 min: And that, ladies and gentlemen, is time for isotonic beverages.
23 min: Liverpool launch another attack, Mane attempting a diagonal curler from the left that’s blocked. They win a corner down the right; the goal-hungry Van Dijk heads straight at Martinez. Then they win another on the left. That one’s a non-event. But Liverpool will be more than happy at the minute. They’re pretty much in complete control.
21 min:Arsenal nearly bounce back immediately, Nelson racing after a long pass down the right. He might be offside, he might not. We’ll never know conclusively, because Nelson reaches the box but can’t decide between crossing and shooting, and does neither.
GOAL! Arsenal 0-1 Liverpool (Mane 20)
Mane very nearly closes down Martinez’s free kick. Not quite, but the ball comes straight back at Arsenal, Firmino and Robertson combining easily down the left. Robertson slips a simple ball across the face of goal, and Mane slams home. Too easy, whichever way you look at it.
18 min: Van Dijk, in his more familiar role as quarterback, sprays a fine pass down the left that nearly releases Wijnaldum. Not quite. Arsenal are still struggling to impose themselves on this game, though Martinez hasn’t had a serious save to make yet.
16 min: Torreira is fortunate not to go into the book, having brazenly handled the ball, then kicked it away in a fit of pique upon being penalised for it. It looks as though he thought play was going to be stopped for something else and became confused, which is probably why the referee has let him off. From the resulting free kick, Lacazette intercepts and draws a clumsy foul from Van Dijk, who appears to be on some sort of goal hunt this evening, if the amount of time he’s spent in the Arsenal box already is anything to go by.
14 min: It’s all Liverpool at the minute, with the game almost entirely being played in Arsenal’s half. The hosts are struggling to get out, finding it hard to string more than a couple of passes together. So much for playing Liverpool at their own game, then.
12 min: Holding clatters into the back of Mane. Free kick, just to the left of centre, 25 yards out. Alexander-Arnold shapes to flip it into the top left, but dummies. Robertson takes it instead, floating harmlessly into the arms of Martinez. But then Arsenal nearly pay dearly for playing out from the back. The ball’s knocked back to Martinez, whose clearance is charged down by Firmino. It clips the base of the left-hand post and out for a goal kick. So close to a farcical opening goal.
10 min: Now it’s Liverpool’s turn to showcase a corner routine of their own, Firmino having won one out on the right. Alexander-Arnold elaborately plays it up and down the flank and swings infield. Arsenal half clear. Van Dijk tries to trap and shoot from the edge of the box, but can’t sort his feet out, and the danger is over.
8 min: Arsenal press Liverpool hard, playing the opponents at their own game. Gomez, under pressure, clanks a clearance off Fabinho and out for a throw, near his own box. Nothing comes of it, but from an Arsenal point of view that’s an encouraging sign. Arteta’s methods slowly sinking in.
6 min: Some fireworks snap, crackle and pop outside the ground. A few London-based Liverpool fans in celebratory mode, no doubt. Amid the banging, Saka wins the first corner of the game down the left. The set piece is worked all the way round to Cedric, on the right, but he freezes a little with the ball at his feet in the Liverpool box, and can’t find a team-mate with his panicked cross. A nice training-ground move, though.
3 min:Liverpool sweep forward, Robertson racing down the left and curling low into the box towards Salah. Nelson manages to intercept just in time and clear, but for a second Arsenal looked a bit ragged at the back.
2 min: A quiet start as both teams take a turn to have an early touch. Plenty of time to get another ten-goal thriller unfolding yet.
Liverpool get the ball rolling … but only after everyone has taken a knee. Black lives matter.
The teams are out! Arsenal, in their famous red shirts with white sleeves, form a guard of honour for the new champs Liverpool, who sport third-choice black with aqua trim. We’ll be off in a minute!
Mikel Arteta’s turn. “We have made some changes. The players who are in the starting XI deserve to play. We have played a lot of minutes, so we need everybody. It is about who is in the best condition to start the game today, who is in the best condition to give something from the bench. And it’s the balance between players who haven’t been given much game time and really deserve to start. They always keep pushing in training and demanding, so today is an opportunity.”
Jurgen Klopp speaks. “We have this game against a really strong side. They are especially good at counter attacking. It will be intense. I was honestly really happy against Burnley, for 70 to 75 minutes we were outstanding. We should have scored more, but that’s the nature of football that makes the game so exciting. Burnley was ready and deserved the point in the end. So we didn’t change a lot, we go again, we will give it another try.”
Arsenal make five changes to the XI named ahead of the 2-1 defeat at Tottenham on Sunday. Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi, Saed Kolasinac, Dani Ceballos and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are all benched, making way for Rob Holding, Cedric Soares, Lucas Torreira, Reiss Nelson and Bukayo Saka. This weekend’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City perhaps very much in mind there.
Liverpool make two changes to the team sent out to draw with Burnley on Saturday. The youngsters Neco Williams and Curtis Jones drop to the bench, stepping aside for the not-particularly-older Trent Alexander-Arnold and, returning to his old stomping ground, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
It’s fair to say these two clubs know how to put on a show. Since the pair drew 0-0 at the Emirates in August 2015, they’ve met nine times, and here are the final scorelines: 3-3, 4-3, 3-1, 4-0, 3-3, 1-1, 5-1, 3-1, 5-5. And so a cry goes up from the millions of neutrals without any skin in this particular game: “More, please!”
Arsenal fans may demur. They’ve played their part in all those matches, but haven’t managed to win any of them. Their last victory against today’s opponents came in April 2015, when a sensational eight-minute, three-goal, first-half blitz dispatched a Liverpool side coming apart at the seams. Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez were the heroes for Arsene Wenger’s side that day; Brendan Rodgers was struggling to get a tune out of Alberto Moreno, Joe Allen and Lazar Markovic. Times change, huh.
Jurgen Klopp’s champions elect are favourites to win tonight. They’ve won all four of their previous matches in London this season, and will be desperate to complete the set, given they need to win all three of their remaining games to surpass Manchester City’s all-time record 100-point total. But there’s desperate, and there’s desperate, and how Arsenal need a win if they’re to finish above north-London rivals Tottenham, and perhaps still secure some European football next season. A strong finish under new boss Mikel Arteta, including a statement victory over the new champions of England, would give them great heart going into 2020-21.
So this Arsenal and Liverpool showdown might not have the super-high, winner-takes-all, up-for-grabs-now stakes of 1989, Alan Smith, Michael Thomas, all that. But there’s still plenty to play for. And it’s fair to say these two clubs know how to put on a show. More, please! It’s on!