Arsenal beat Liverpool to return to top of Premier League

Martinelli’s first-minute goal, Saka’s brace help Gunners go back to the top of the Premier League.

Arsenal defeated Liverpool 3-2 on Sunday in a breathtaking encounter that saw the Gunners reclaim their hold on the Premier League’s top spot.

Gabriel Martinelli scored an early goal, and Bukayo Saka added a brace to strengthen Arsenal’s title credentials this season.

Martinelli opened the scoring in the 58th second, timing his run on the left perfectly to slot Martin Odegaard’s through-ball past goalkeeper Allison Becker into the Liverpool goal.

Arsenal dominated the early exchanges, but Liverpool’s footprint on the game grew gradually, and they equalised through Darwin Nunez in the 34th minute.

The Uruguayan found space in the box to finish Luis Diaz’s cross from the right.

But Arsenal were not behind for long. In the fifth minute of added time, Martinelli marauded down the left, and Saka ghosted in behind Trent Alexander-Arnold and got an outstretched leg onto the sweeping cross at the far post.

Jurgen Klopp’s Reds showed their quality in flashes at the Emirates, but once again fell pray to the defensive frailties that have plagued their season so far.

[Reuters]

Arsenal carried their momentum into the second half, and Firmino’s equaliser in the 53rd minute came against the run of play.

Diogo Jota found Firmino on the edge of the box, and the Brazilian took a couple of touches to get past William Saliba and neatly found the bottom corner with a finish that looked a lot easier than it was.

Arsenal’s intensity on the game eased slightly, but they never let go of their hold over the match.

Roared on by a febrile Emirates crowd, Mikel Arteta’s men pushed for a winner.

Gabriel Jesus drew a foul in the box in the 76th minute, and after a lengthy delay caused by a scuffle between Granit Xhaka and Jordan Henderson, Saka coolly stroked his penalty home.

Since his miss in the Euro final against Italy last year, the Englishman has scored penalties against Chelsea, Manchester United and now Liverpool.

The final whistle could not come soon enough for Arsenal, and it was followed by an explosion of euphoria.

Arteta’s team have now won eight of their last nine matches and are a point above Manchester City on the table.

Their title challenge is beginning to find its feet.

“It doesn’t matter your age,” man of the match Martinelli said after the game. “It’s your heart and how much you want to achieve in football and life. That is the most important thing. We need to believe and go game by game trying to win all of them.”

Liverpool remain in 10th place and could slip into the bottom half of the Premier League by the end of the weekend.

The Reds have made their worst start to the Premier League season in 15 years, winning just two of their last five matches.

Alexander-Arnold’s woeful start to the season continued, and he was at fault for Saka’s goal in the first half.

Mohammed Salah’s form will be a cause of concern for Liverpool. The Egyptian has not scored in the Premier League since August, and Klopp’s decision to take him off in the 69th minute with the scores still level is reflective of his fallen performance.

“Couple of things went against us, but we are not blind,” Klopp said. “We see we could have done better in moments. In general, it was a good away game against a good side. We caused them a lot of problems but stand here with no points.”

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