It was very much a tale of Liverpool running riot at Anfield as they thrashed Arsenal 4-0, with the attacking trio of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah all on the score sheet, with substitute Daniel Sturridge also adding to a miserable defeat for the Gunners.
It was, however, the Senegal international Mane who stood out with an electric performance, scoring the second goal of the game while leaving the field with a passing accuracy of 90.6% as he tormented the away side all afternoon.
Mane looked lively very early on in the highly-anticipated fixture, and was a constant out-ball for the home defence as they looked to counter attack at every opportunity. With his incredible first touch and wonderful turn of pace, the lethal Mane terrified a nervous Arsenal defence and created glorious opportunities for fellow forwards Firmino and Salah on countless occasions.
With direct runs at both Arsenal full-backs and dangerous runs in behind, Mane’s moment of brilliance arrived five minutes before half time as his whipped shot from just inside the box out left curved past Petr Cech in the Arsenal goal, leaving the experienced goal keeper with no chance of stopping the vicious and extremely accurate strike.
It was always going to be a high-scoring affair at Anfield, but perhaps both the fans and the Arsenal players did not expect such a disastrous defeat, with the Gunners receiving their heaviest defeat since a 4-0 loss to Southampton on Boxing Day 2015. The visitors simply couldn’t handle the pace and precision of Mane, who was a constant threat across the shaky defence of Arsenal, who gladly received the final whistle as Liverpool searched for a humiliating fifth goal.
With all their attacking threat, emphasis was also placed on their lacklustre defence and goalkeeper Loris Karius, who thankfully ensured that Liverpool have now kept four home cleans sheets in a row in the Premier League for the first time since September 2013.
The rapid Mane is now only the third Liverpool player to find the net in the first three Premier League games of a season, following in the footsteps of club legend Robbie Fowler (1994/95) and current team mate Daniel Sturridge (2013/14). The tricky forward has also scored in all three of his Premier League appearances for the Reds against Arsenal, who will be extremely happy to see the back of Mane until he arrives at the Emirates for the return fixture a few months from now.
The Reds now face a very tricky away test to Manchester City after an international break where any injuries cannot be afforded as Liverpool look to topple another top four contender in electrifying fashion