A flurry of mistakes proved costly as Liverpool relinquished an early lead to fall to a 2-1 defeat at Arsenal, ensuring the all-time points record is no longer in reach.
Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool
Premier League (36), Emirates Stadium
July 15, 2020
Mane 20′ (assist – Robertson)
A trip to the capital this season has been a happy hunting ground for Jurgen Klopp‘s men, but the final visit is one they will wish to immediately put out of sight.
Opting to restore the first choice back-line and hand Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain a start to counter the hosts’ five-man defence, Liverpool’s intentions looked clear from the off despite the luxury of their position at the summit.
Arsenal were handed their first warning when Roberto Firmino found the outside of the upright after closing down Emiliano Martinez, with the Reds successfully penning the hosts in their own half.
And the reward would come merely minutes later as Sadio Mane finished off a sumptuous defence-splitting move kickstarted by the industry of Andy Robertson, his 17th league goal of the season.
But the feel-good factor soon dissipated for those of the Liverpool persuasion as Klopp’s men soon turned out to be in a giving mood, gifting Arsenal two goals in the space of ten minutes to make it 2-1.
First, a rare mistake from Virgil van Dijk, who felt he had been impeded, on the edge of the area gifted possession to Alexandre Lacazette who rounded the ‘keeper to slot home, and the Frenchman would soon turn provider for Reiss Nelson as the Gunners punished Alisson for a wayward pass.
HT: Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool
- Mane’s early goal cancelled out after two sloppy mistakes at the back
- The Reds have now only won two games away from home in their last eight in all comps
- Breaking or equalling the all-time points record no longer possible, with max points now 99
A jaw-dropping turn of events for Klopp and Co. as they proved to be the masters of their own demise, which left everything to do in the second half.
And chances would arrive in a flurry at the start of the second but to no avail, with Mohamed Salah only able to see his effort tipped over the bar despite being gifted time to take an extra touch to tee up his favoured left foot from close range.
At the other end, the defence were left on standby as the Gunners practised the art of patience by waiting for another mistake to pounce on.
And with the weight of possession favouring Liverpool, the boss was quick to look to the bench as he introduced both Takumi Minamino and Naby Keita, both of whom injected energy and forward drive in equal measure – the former of whom had a reasonable shout for a penalty waved away.
But it was to be all bark and no bite from Liverpool as the game struggled to kick out of second gear, with Mane remaining the brightest spark having come closest to pegging the hosts back with minutes remaining only to be knocked off balance at the crucial moment.
The result, of course, means Liverpool can no longer equal or break the all-time points record as they are now capped at 99 points with only two games remaining, but all eyes will now be on the title-lift after the Chelsea game in seven days’ time.
TIA Man of the Match: Sadio Mane
Referee: Paul Tierney
Arsenal: Martinez; Holding, Luiz, Tierney; Cedric (Maitland-Niles 76′), Torreira (Ceballos 57′), Xhaka, Saka (Kolasinac 85′); Pepe, Nelson (Willock 57′), Lacazette (Aubameyang 57′)
Subs not used: Macey, Bellerin, Sokratis, Mustafi
Liverpool: Alisson; Trent, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum (Shaqiri 83′), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Keita 61′); Salah (Origi 83′), Mane, Firmino (Minamino 61′)
Subs not used: Adrian, Williams, Lovren, Elliott, Jones
Next Match: Chelsea (H), Premier League – Wednesday, July 22, 8.15pm (BST)