Liverpool emerges the winners on penalties in a ten-goal thriller at Anfield.
Well, have to be honest, I never saw that coming. Where to start?
The opening ten minutes of the first half saw some sloppy Arsenal play, especially in defence.
It only took Liverpool six minutes to get their noses in front courtesy of a Shkodran Mustafi own goal. I see no sense in blaming Mustafi solely, he was simply unlucky, he was certainly not helped out by some poor defending from Kolasinac down the left allowing Alex Oxlade Chamberlain to get his cross in.
Liverpool dominated possession for the first 20 minutes without really dominating the actual game. Arsenal stayed patient and did not let their heads drop after that opening goal.
On the 19th minute, Arsenal got their equalizer through a well-worked Lucas Torreira goal. The equaliser was a thing of beauty, to be honest, orchestrated by none other than Mesut Ozil. Torreira was beautifully placed to pick up the ball from the German and stick the ball away.
Arsenal then went on a little bit of a rampage, scoring two more goals in a ten-minute spell.
Liverpool got themselves in a right old tangle on the 26th minute and up popped Gabriel Martinelli to take advantage. Basically a bit of a scramble and the young Brazilian hammered it home from close range.
Arsenal’s third came ten minutes later and it was the sensational 18-year-old once again. Ozil started it off with a dink of a pass to Saka who squared it to Martinelli to duly slot home.
So, 36 minutes and 3-1 to Arsenal, who would have thought that at the beginning.
The two-goal lead didn’t last long though. Liverpool was awarded a dubious penalty which James Milner converted.
Now that was a first half to watch.
Thing is, the second half was even better from an entertainment point of view.
It took Arsenal just nine minutes from kick-off to score their fourth following an error from Milner. Maitland-Niles picked up Milners poor back pass to goalkeeper Caoimhín Kelleher, however, he ran the ball wide before Ozil saved it from running out of play and we got some magic from the German. He backheeled the loose ball back to Maitland-Niles who smacked it into the back of the net.
Game over you would have thought, right?
Well, no, Liverpool still had a lot to say and within a frantic four-minute spell they were level with goals from Oxlade-Chamberlain and Divock Origi.
It has to be said that Ox’s goal was outstanding and he celebrated with class, by not celebrating.
This was now manic, 4-4 after just 62 minutes.
Forward the clock just eight minutes and we have another goal, an Arsenal goal and what a beauty it was.
Joe Willock picked up the ball a good 30 yards out and he blasted it right into the top corner. It was simply brilliant and 5-4 it was.
Things slowed down a little after that, there were numerous stoppages for subs and the game kind of closed itself down.
Liverpool stepped up their attacks without really threatening an equaliser and Arsenal still posed a threat themselves.
The game ended much quieter than it started, until deep into injury time that is.
Divock Origi was the Liverpool hero grabbing a 94th-minute equaliser. Crazy, absolutely crazy, 5-5 it ended and on to penalties we moved.
Arsenal went first and Bellerin converted his spot kick with ease. Milner then stepped up and did the same for Liverpool.
Matteo Guendouzi took Arsenal’s second penalty and duly converted, just. Lallana scored his penalty and 2-2 it was.
The third Arsenal spot-kick was taken by young Martinelli who obviously scored. Brewster also scored for Liverpool and 3-3 it was.
Ceballos was next for Arsenal and sadly, his penalty was saved. Advantage Liverpool as Origi then made it 4-3.
Maitland-Niles walked up knowing he had to score to keep Arsenal in it, which he cooly did.
So, it was now on Curtis Jones for Liverpool and the young Red scored to knock Arsenal out.