Liverpool close to within a point of Manchester City with victory over Arsenal



Posted Thursday, March 17, 2022 by PA

Liverpool close to within a point of Manchester City with victory over Arsenal

Liverpool struck twice in eight second-half minutes to win at Arsenal and move to within a point of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.

With City held to a goalless draw at Crystal Palace on Monday night, Liverpool took full advantage, winning their game in hand 2-0 as Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino scored the goals.

The pair have history against the Gunners – this was Jota’s seventh goal in as many appearances against Arsenal for Liverpool, while Firmino now has nine goals against them, his best return against a single opponent.

Liverpool close to within a point of Manchester City with victory over Arsenal
Roberto Firmino’s goal sealed Liverpool’s win at Arsenal (John Walton/PA)

The meeting between City and Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on April 10 will now go a huge way to deciding whether Pep Guardiola’s side will retain their crown or the Reds make it two titles in three years.

Arsenal remain favourites for a top-four finish despite losing here and they held their own until Jota broke the deadlock after 54 minutes.

Mikel Arteta conceded on the eve of the game that his team are not quite at the level of those at the top of the Premier League and being clinical in front of goal appears to be one of the contributing factors, if these 90 minutes were anything to go by.

Early Liverpool pressure saw Virgil Van Dijk force a low save out of Aaron Ramsdale with a free header from a corner.

Liverpool close to within a point of Manchester City with victory over Arsenal
Diogo Jota opened the scoring for Jurgen Klopp’s side (John Walton/PA)

With rain pouring down it was a blood and thunder contest but the first half was one of few chances, Gabriel Martinelli and Thomas Partey shining for the hosts.

Liverpool’s forwards were getting very little out of the Arsenal backline but Sadio Mane missed a presentable chance to open the scoring on the stroke of half-time.

He also had the ball in the net soon after the interval but the celebrations were cut short as he was correctly adjudged offside.

While Arsenal had created little, they had a short spell of dominance which should a yielded a better return, Alisson Becker making a fine save from Martin Odegaard after an errant Thiago Alcantara back-pass had been collected by Alexandre Lacazette.

Bukayo Saka forced Alisson into another save from the resulting corner, with Jurgen Klopp seeing enough to ready Mohamed Salah and Firmino.

Before they had a chance to enter the fray, however, Liverpool hit the front as Thiago’s slide-rule pass found Jota, who finished low past Ramsdale – the Arsenal goalkeeper no doubt disappointed to be beaten at his near post.

The two substitutions still took place, Jota one of those to be replaced immediately after breaking the deadlock, but Klopp’s decision was soon vindicated.

Firmino cut a ball across the box which ultimately saw Salah denied by a combination of Gabriel Magalhaes and Ben White but Liverpool kept the pressure on and Firmino’s smart finish from Andy Robertson’s cross doubled the lead.

Arsenal had no response to the double as Arteta introduced Emile Smith Rowe, Nicolas Pepe and Eddie Nketiah from the bench.

Martinelli nearly capped a fine personal display with a late goal but bent a shot just inches wide of Alisson’s post as Liverpool saw out the closing stages to move up on the shoulder of City.

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