SOUVENIR PROGRAMME

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 23, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the first equalising goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal: Salah stunner, but Reds stay 2nd for Christmas

Liverpool must wait until Boxing Day for another chance to top the Premier League, after playing out a tense, close 1-1 draw with Arsenal on Saturday.

Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal

Premier League (18), Anfield
December 23, 2023

Goals

Gabriel 4′
Salah 29′ (assist – Alexander-Arnold)


Urged on by Jurgen Klopp in midweek, the Anfield crowd was in fiery form as they bellowed Liverpool on hoping to shake off any nerves of a top-of-the-table tie.

But there was an early blow as Gabriel Magalhaes headed Arsenal in front within four minutes, beyond a hapless Alisson – and after a tight offside check with VAR, the setback was confirmed.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 23, 2023: Arsenal's Gabriel Magalhães scores the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Still the Kop – and its connected stands – roared, and Mohamed Salah went close to levelling in the 14th minute after Cody Gakpo nodded on Wataru Endo‘s clipped pass.

Liverpool were somehow denied an obvious penalty as Martin Odegaard dribbled in the box like he was in the NBA, stopping Salah from going clear through on goal, with VAR David Coote reportedly letting him off due to a slip.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 23, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah scores the first equalising goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There was no stopping Salah’s stunning equaliser, a brilliant pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold putting the No. 11 one-on-one with the piss-poor Oleksandr Zinchenko, who was easily sidestepped as parity was restored with a brilliant finish.

A worrying shoulder injury for Kostas Tsimikas, which saw him collide with Klopp after a shove from Bukayo Saka, forced the Reds into an early change as Joe Gomez came on.

HT: Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 23, 2023: Liverpool's Curtis Jones during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool kept up the momentum in the second half, encouraged by a number of mistakes at the back from Arsenal, with Zinchenko in particular struggling in possession.

But the Reds failed to turn half-chances into real openings, with Luis Diaz‘s scuffed effort wide a glaring example, while a lack of movement around him left Salah frustrated.

The midpoint of the half brought a triple change as Diaz, Gakpo and Curtis Jones all came off and Harvey Elliott, Ryan Gravenberch and Darwin Nunez came on – the latter, notably, as a left winger.

An Arsenal corner cleared led to a five-on-one counter for Liverpool, with Salah leading the charge, but as the Egyptian found the overlapping Alexander-Arnold, the right-back could only smash the bar.

That proved to be the last big chance, with both sides left to settle for a point that leaves Arsenal top of the table for Christmas.


TIA Man of the Match: Ibrahima Konate

Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Tsimikas (Gomez 34′); Endo, Szoboszlai, Jones (Gravenberch 68′); Salah, Diaz (Elliott 68′), Gakpo (Nunez 68′)

Subs not used: Kelleher, Quansah, Bradley, McConnell, Clark

Arsenal: Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Rice, Odegaard, Havertz; Saka, Martinelli (Trossard 68′), Jesus (Nketiah 77′)

Subs not used: Ramsdale, Cedric, Kiwior, Jorginho, Elneny, Smith Rowe, Nelson

Next match: Burnley (A) – Premier League – Tuesday, December 26, 5.30pm (GMT)