On Saturday 4th of March Liverpool faced Arsenal in what promised to be a titanic clash for 4th place. Liverpool were trying to put a disappointing result against champions Leicester behind them, whereas Arsenal wanted to land claim against Liverpool for the top4 as they were all but out of the Champions League.
It was a shock that Arsene Wenger dropped his key weapon in Alexis Sanchez to the bench and decided to start with target man Oliver Giroud. Danny Welback got a start too for the ill Mesut Ozil.
Their counterparts Liverpool against made one change to their starting 11 with Ragnar Klavan replacing Lucas.
Liverpool flew out the blocks, absolutely hammering the Gunners in the first half. Liverpool applied their high press on the deep Arsenal back line. This pressing did pay off in the 9th minute as Sadio Mane threaded a ball through to Roberto Firmino who blasted his finish high past an experienced Petr Cech. 1-0 to Liverpool!
Liverpool were criticized for their dull performance against Leicester City but here against Arsenal they were looking anything but dull. Within moments Phil Coutinho fizzed a ball through the Arsenal bodies in the box but Matip wasn’t able to direct it goalwards.
There was a half attack for Arsenal when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s ball towards Oliver Giroud was hesitantly dealt with by Simon Mignolet, but only a smart save from Cech from Coutinho’s shot prevented Klopp’s side doubling their lead at half time.
Just about five minutes later who else but Mane added another to Liverpool’s lead as the Reds lead 2-0 at the break at Anfield.
The second half saw the much awaited introduction to Arsenal’s key man Alexis Sanchez and within minutes the Chilean’s impact was felt as Giroud’s header from the Sanchez cross almost found the back of the net.
Arsenal did get their names of the score sheet as a brilliant move from Alexis Sanchez saw Danny Welback slotting home Arsenal’s first of the game.
Arsenal were starting to look threatening with the Sanchez on the pitch and this was evident as Bellerin rushed down the right but his low cross evaded Giroud and in the end Liverpool got it clear.
Liverpool were struggling to match their intensity of the first half but it was Mane with the skills and flair who got Mustafi and co. do some last ditch defending.
Arsenal did bring on Theo Walcott and Lucas Perez for Oliver Giroud and Danny Welback to get an equalizer and potentially go on and nick the game.
Klopp brought on Divock Origi in the dying embers of the game and he almost scored with his header hitting the Arsenal post.
Arsenal continued to press in the Liverpool’s final third, Alexis Sanchez shot was blocked heroically by Matip which sprung a counter for Liverpool where Gini Wijnaldum slotted home Liverpool’s third a move that involved a brilliant pre-assist by Adam Lallana and assist from Divock Origi. Liverpool won 3-1 and were back in the Top 4 of the Premier League.