Liverpool secured their first win of the 2016/17 Premier League season with a 4-3 victory away to Arsenal on Sunday.
Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool
Premier League, Emirates Stadium
Sunday, 14 August 2016
Goals: Walcott 30′, Oxlade Chamberlain 64′, Chambers 76′; Coutinho 45+1′, 56′, Lallana 49′, Mane 63′
Opening their campaign away to Arsenal on Sunday afternoon, Jurgen Klopp‘s Liverpool looked to get 2016/17 to a bright start.
Naming a positive lineup including three debutants in Ragnar Klavan, Georginio Wijnaldum and Sadio Mane, Klopp set his side up to frustrate the Gunners with a high-intensity game on and off the ball.
With Simon Mignolet in goal, Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren and Alberto Moreno joined Klavan in defence, while Wijnaldum linked up with Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana in a three-man midfield behind Mane, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino.
This provided the Reds with a strong base to build at the Emirates, and after a slow start, this showed.
Flooding his midfield with bodies, Klopp saw Liverpool start quickly but lack the incision required, with a number of sloppy passes hampering momentum in the opening stages.
But they soon began to find openings, with the bursting runs of Lallana in particular providing able support to the attacking line.
Arsenal enjoyed the best of the opportunities, however, with shoddy defensive work from Moreno gifting the likes of Hector Bellerin and Theo Walcott space down the right-hand side.
It was Moreno who almost gave Arsenal their opening goal, with the Spaniard conceding a penalty for a foul on Walcott, but the No. 14 saw his effort saved by a sprawling Mignolet.
But Walcott made no mistake with his next attempt, sending a low shot into the bottom corner with Mignolet stranded.
With the minutes ticking down before the break in north London, Wijnaldum was handed a great opportunity, but the Dutchman sidefooted his effort into the clutches of Gunners captain Petr Cech after great work from Coutinho and Firmino.
Coutinho, who had been quiet for much of the opening 45 minutes, produced a moment of magic shortly after, with the Brazilian curling an excellent free-kick into the top corner just before the break to make it 1-1.
Klopp made no changes to his side at half-time but it was clear that the German had saved some choice words for the changing room, as the Reds started to second 45 much quicker.
This saw Lallana net Liverpool’s second after just four minutes, taking the ball down and powering past Cech following lovely play from Coutinho and Wijnaldum, with the latter laying on an inch-perfect cross.
With Klopp screaming them forward at every opportunity, Liverpool’s positive attacking play continued, and Coutinho made it 3-1 just before the hour mark, touching home Clyne’s low cross.
The No. 10 almost had his third minutes later, but Cech was there to make the save before Lallana dinked the rebound wide.
Liverpool were two goals ahead and cruising, and Mane soon made it 4-1 with an incredible goal, dancing through the Arsenal defence before swinging a left-footed shot into the top corner.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who replaced Alex Iwobi on the hour, grabbed one back soon after, however, steering his first effort beyond Mignolet.
This was followed by another blow as Coutinho pulled up with a hamstring problem, with the playmaker forced off the field as Lallana moved into his place in attack, while Calum Chambers set up a hairy finish with a header on 76 minutes.
The Reds managed to hold on, however, sealing their first three points of the season in emphatic style.
TIA Man of the Match: Philippe Coutinho
Arsenal: Cech; Bellerin, Holding, Chambers, Monreal; Coquelin, Elneny (Xhaka 67′); Walcott, Ramsey (Cazorla 61′), Iwobi (Oxlade Chamberlain 60′); Sanchez.
Substitutes: Ospina, Gibbs, Wilshere, Xhaka, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Akpom
Liverpool: Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Klavan, Moreno; Wijnaldum (Stewart 87′), Henderson, Lallana (Origi 76′); Coutinho (Can 68′), Mane, Firmino
Substitutes: Manninger, Matip, Alexander-Arnold, Grujic, Stewart, Can, Origi