Arsenal 3-2 Liverpool: Player ratings as Arsenal return to Premier League summit

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Arsenal returned to the top of the Premier League table with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium.

Jurgen Klopp unleashed all his forwards in a bid to revive the Reds’ season, but defensive lapses were their undoing as Mikel Arteta’s men took the points and leapfrogged Manchester City in the standings.

After failing to score in any of their four games last season, Arsenal took the lead exactly a minute from time at the end of a quick counter-attack when Martin Odegaard beat Gabriel Martinelli and slotted past compatriot Alisson.

Liverpool were denied in the 15th minute when Gabriel touched the ball with his arm, but was cleared of a foul after a lengthy VAR review.

The Reds continued to search for an equalizer and came close to finding it when Darwin Nunez found a bit of space just inside the 18-yard box to unleash a fearsome shot, but Aaron Ramsdale made a strong instinctive save to palm it away.

The England stopper had to be alert to stop William Saliba turning the ball into his own net soon after Liverpool’s new look put Arsenal through.

Mohamed Salah was next to try his luck after dancing past makeshift left-back Takehiro Tomiyasa, although his shot was deflected and went harmlessly wide.

And Liverpool found a deserved equalizer when Luis Diaz pounced on Gabriel’s deflected deflection and squared Darwin Nunez to score his first goal since the opening day of the season.

After a break at the end of the first half, Arsenal went back in front at the end of another break, this time Martinelli turning to Bukayo Saka to tap home.

The home side came close to adding a third just after the break when Liverpool failed to deal with Martinelli’s low cross, with both Odegaard and Saka having their shots blocked.

Odegaard went again soon after with a shot from 18 yards, but his low drive was straight at Alisson.

But Arsenal were made to pay for not scoring in this frantic period as Diogo Jota’s through ball to Roberto Firmino was inch perfect and the Brazilian picked out a superb finish into the far corner.

Despite this setback, Arteta’s side regained control of the game, although they spent most of the next 15 minutes playing on the edge of Liverpool’s box without much penetration.

Arsenal were awarded a penalty in the 73rd minute when Thiago kicked the calf of Gabriel Jesus and moments later Saka slotted home to put the Gunners ahead for the third time.

Harvey Elliott tried to win a late penalty from Kieran Tierney with the clock ticking, but neither referee Michael Oliver nor VAR were impressed.

Jesus wanted a spot-kick of his own after getting between Virgil van Dijk and Alisson, although a corner was awarded instead.

Arsenal survived beyond five minutes of stoppage time to secure their eighth win in nine Premier League games so far this season, while Liverpool have won just two of their opening eight.

Arsenal vs Liverpool player ratings

1. Arsenal (4-2-3-1)

GK: Aaron Ramsdale – 6/10 – Not much he could have done about either goal.

RB: Ben White – 6/10 – Both Diaz and Jota had fun down the left flank, though that wasn’t necessarily White’s fault.

CB: William Saliba – 6/10 – Had to do a lot of the heavy lifting for Gabriel. Eventually that was going to end in Liverpool scoring a few goals, however.

CB: Gabriel – 3/10 – Looked very ropey throughout and Liverpool eventually took advantage of this.

LB: Takehiro Tomiyasu – 6/10 – Brought into the team to stop Salah. Slowed him down but was fortunate that the Egyptian’s shooting boots were missing more than anything.

CM: Thomas Partey – 5/10 – Pulled to-and-fro by Thiago. Didn’t know whether to stay or go, to press or sit.

CM: Granit Xhaka – 6/10 – By his own standards this season, this was a slightly disappointing game for the imperious Xhaka.

RM: Bukayo Saka – 9/10 – Wasn’t involved too much but when he was he made Liverpool pay and ultimately finished with a brace.

AM: Martin Odegaard – 8/10 – Stepped up and got involved plenty when his side were in possession.

LM: Gabriel Martinelli – 9/10 – Klopp has long talked up Martinelli’s ability and his worst fears were realised. One goal, one assist, plenty of nightmares for Liverpool defenders.

CF: Gabriel Jesus – 7/10 – Liverpool were hesitant in getting tight with Jesus but his touch was a little off all afternoon.

Manager: Mikel Arteta – 6/10 – Arsenal responded well to a poor first half by their own standards despite going in ahead.

SUB: Kieran Tierney (82′ for Odegaard) – N/A

SUB: Eddie Nketiah (90′ for Jesus) – N/A

SUB: Fabio Vieira (90′ for Saka) – N/A

2. Liverpool (4-2-3-1)

GK: Alisson – 6/10 – Made a number of saves but Liverpool’s woeful defending meant he was always going to concede goals.

RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold – 3/10 – Didn’t cover himself in glory for either of Arsenal’s first-half goals. Hooked at the break after picking up an ankle problem though could just as easily have been performance-related.

CB: Joel Matip – 5/10 – Caught napping on several occasions. Subbed for Konate.

CB: Virgil van Dijk – 4/10 – Played Martinelli miles onside for the early opener. Wasn’t his worst performance of the season from there on in.

LB: Kostas Tsimikas – 6/10 – Did all he could to keep Saka quiet and yet he still scored twice.

CM: Jordan Henderson – 4/10 – Endeavoured to gift Arsenal something in the engine room. Off the pace.

CM: Thiago – 5/10 – Led Arsenal a merry dance in midfield in the first half but was sloppy in the second.

RM: Mohamed Salah – 4/10 – Had some sights at goal but failed to make much of an impact.

AM: Diogo Jota – 8/10 – Dropped into midfield but also beyond Nunez when required in the first half. Shifted to the left after Diaz came off, but no matter where he played Arsenal couldn’t stop him.

LM: Luis Diaz – 7/10 – Tortured Arsenal in his 42 minutes on the pitch before being substituted with injury.

CF: Darwin Nunez – 8/10 – His enthusiasm and runs caused plenty of headaches for Arsenal.

Manager: Jurgen Klopp – 5/10 – The chaotic system change worked. The lack of defensive coaching did not.

SUB: Roberto Firmino (42′ for Diaz) – 8/10 – Suits Liverpool’s new system to a tee.

SUB: Joe Gomez (46′ for Alexander-Arnold) – 6/10 – Dealt with Martinelli much better than Alexander-Arnold.

SUB: Ibrahima Konate (69′ for Matip) – 5/10

SUB: Fabinho (69′ for Salah) – 5/10

SUB: Harvey Elliott (81′ for Jota) – N/A

Player of the Match – Gabriel Martinelli

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