Well I guess we all knew we were going to see an open attacking game, but we didn’t expect Arsenal to get on the scoresheet first. The start of the game was very scrappy from both sides but suddenly Iwobi got in a great cross and Maitland-Niles had an easy task to put it into the net, and Liverpool were behind at home for the first time this season.
Arsenal fans must have been screaming but our ecstasy was very short-lived as Liverpool cranked up a gear and after a a series of crazy rebounds the ball trundled wide of Leno and Firmino made no mistake from a just a yard out. But there was nothing lucky about Firmino’s second just two minutes later as he left three Arsenal defenders sprawling on the floor as he danced around them and put a perfect shot into the bottom right corner. 2-1 behind after just 16 minutes and it was looking like all the punters predictions were going to come true.
15 minutes later the inevitable third arrived after Mane got the wrong side of Sokratis and was on hand to take the cross from Salah and smash it into the top of the net. Sokratis was at fault again when he let Salah beat him to the ball in the box, and crazily cut him down and Michael Oliver had no choice but to point to the spot. Salah took it himself and Leno dived past it and the game was all but over by half-time. 4-1 and no way back for the Gunners.
The second half started with Koscielny on for Mustafi (yet another defensive injury?), and Liverpool on the attack again. Luckily Sokratis got a challenge on Salah right this time and denied the Liverpool striker when he was clear, and Salah was in the box again just a minute later, but a poor touch from him allowed Leno to get the ball. Arsenal really just have to try and save face, but the game is all over regarding the points won.
Arsenal started showing a bit of promise and 8 minutes in Arsenal got a rare attack. Ramsey’s great shot that just went wide of the best was attempted by Aubameyang to connect but our top scorer was offside. At least Arsenal were getting out of their half a bit and Klopp started thinking about their game against Man City on Thursday and took Mane off for Henderson to make sure of a relaxed last half hour. And it mattered little as 5 minutes later Liverpool got another penalty after a clumsy challenge from Kolasinac. Firmino stepped up and got his first hat-trick for the Reds.
Now there are just over 20 minutes left and I think I have decided that I don’t want to write any more as I only seem to be reporting on Liverpool’s goals, but I will hang on a little as Arsenal have now brought on Lacazette for Aubameyang, but he is even going to get the ball?
Lacazette did get into the box and was tripped up, but as usual he was denied an obvious penalty. It would have been little consolation. Arsenal actually ended up with slightly more possession in the end, but with just two shots on target.
So Chelsea can open up a 5 point gap over us tomorrow, and Liverpool are going to go into 2019 with at least a 7 point lead if City win tomorrow. If they don’t lose to City on Thursday I think the title race is all but over. Please don’t let them be unbeaten all season….