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Arsenal beats Liverpool in thriller as incredible start continues

Bukayo Saka's late penalty put Arsenal back ahead for good as the Gunners finally conquered Liverpool and went back atop the table with a thrilling 3-2 win at the Emirates.

LONDON -- Arsenal beat Liverpool in a five-goal thriller at the Emirates Stadium as Mikel Arteta’s young side went back to the top of the Premier League.

What. A. Game.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Gabriel Martinelli scored within the first minute and that set the tone for a crazy end-to-end clash as Darwin Nunez made it 1-1 then Bukayo Saka put an out of sorts Arsenal 2-1 up right on half time.

Roberto Firmino made it 2-2 early in the second half but then Saka scored the winner from the penalty spot as a pulsating clash saw Arsenal beat Liverpool for just the second time in their last 15 Premier League clashes against Jurgen Klopp’s side.


With eight wins from nine to start the season, Arsenal’s fans are dreaming of a title challenge and the raucous atmosphere at the Emirates summed up the confidence flowing through the youngest current team in the Premier League.

With the win they go back to the top of the table and have 24 points from a possible 27, as they are now 14 points ahead of Liverpool who have won just two of their first eight games this season as they continue to labor under Klopp.

What we learned from Arsenal vs Liverpool

Stretched Liverpool go for 2015, early-Klopp vibes: His decision to go back to a 4-2-3-1 formation was supposed to be about defensive solidity. That didn’t work at all at Arsenal. Henderson and Thiago Alcantara were playing 25 yards deeper than the front four of Diaz (who was replaced by Firmino), Jota, Nunez and Salah. There was nothing in-between. When Liverpool got the ball forward early and were direct it worked. When they didn’t they were overrun in midfield and the topsy-turvy nature of this clash reminded me of when Klopp first arrived in 2015 and his high-octane, heavy-metal football was exciting to watch but Liverpool had no balance (especially defensively) whatsoever. Klopp’s side can’t match the intensity they’ve been hailed for over the last few seasons and Arsenal’s youngsters swarmed their defense and midfield in the second half to show that Klopp has to change something drastically or Liverpool will be out of the title race. If they aren’t already.

Arsenal’s center back pairing creaking: This was a warning sign for the future for Mikel Arteta. Tottenham didn’t make the most of dragging Saliba and particularly Gabriel out of position on the counter last weekend. But Liverpool did. Gabriel’s mistake for the first goal and Saliba being caught out of position for Liverpool’s second proved that Arsenal still have a mistake in them. They can improve as a duo and individually but that is the only area of weakness which looks like being exposed. If Saliba and Gabriel can limit their big mistakes, Arsenal may well sustain this title push.

Saka, Martinelli step up to help Jesus: For much of this season Gabriel Jesus has rightly received huge praise for the way he has led the line and knit this exciting Arsenal attack together. But on Sunday it was Martinelli and Saka who stole the show. Lauded by the home fans at the Emirates, it’s easy to forgot this duo are still just 21 years old. Their direct running scared the heck out of Liverpool and Martinelli racing free and having the composure to cut inside and find Saka to slot home was a beautiful illustration of their industry and quality. The way they pointed to one another in the goal celebration told us the love and appreciation they have. The understanding throughout this young Arsenal team is growing and so is the belief. The Gunners are going places.

Tactical focus

Arsenal vs Liverpool

Liverpool’s 4-2-3-1 was basically a 4-2-4 as Thiago and Henderson were totally cut off from the attack. Klopp wanted to play two holding midfielders to help Liverpool’s attack but it actually led to the opposite happening. Arsenal held firm and focused on getting the ball to Saka and Martinelli as often as they could. They targeted Alexander-Arnold and Tsmikas and it worked a treat out wide.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Reaction from Jurgen Klopp: ‘We put in a proper fight’

“Arsenal are doing really well and in the situation I think we played a good game. Conceding the three goals, it had nothing to do with the game really. We have to win challenges in these moments. They should not get in these situations but it happened. I saw a team with the right attitude and put in a proper fight and play football and first half we did but in the second half I didn’t see these football moments as much. I think the game is a draw but today we have nothing.” - Jurgen Klopp to BBC Sport

[ MORE: Klopp gives injury update on Trent Alexander-Arnold, Luis Diaz ]

Reaction from Mikel Arteta on the atmosphere: ‘I’ve never seen it like this’

“Thank you so much to the boys and the supporters. That is why we are here. I really enjoyed it... I’ve never seen it like this. You unite everyone.” - Mikel Arteta to reporters

Stars of the show

Gabriel Martinelli: Set the tone with his superb run and finish and set up Saka after another brilliant run.

Bukayo Saka: Scored two and gave Liverpool so many issues with his direct runs.

What’s next?

Arsenal head to Bodo/Glimt for their Europa League group stage clash on Thursday, Oct. 13 before heading to Leeds United next Sunday, Oct. 16. Liverpool travel to Glasgow Rangers on Wednesday, Oct. 12 before hosting Manchester City in a huge game on Sunday, Oct. 16.

How to watch Arsenal vs Liverpool live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 11:30 am ET, Sunday
TV channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via

Arsenal vs Liverpool live analysis! - By Joe Prince-Wright at the Emirates Stadium

  • Arsenal go 1-0 up inside the first minute
  • Martinelli’s goal is the first Arsenal have scored vs Liverpool in over 6 games in all comps
  • Nunez equalized after a fine cross from Diaz
  • Saka scores right on half time to make it 2-1
  • Firmino makes it 2-2 early in the second half

STOPPAGE TIME! This is tense.

This is nuts. Liverpool almost equalize. 11 minutes to go.

GOALLL! Bukayo Saka slots home the penalty kick. Arsenal lead 3-2. Pandemonium here at the Emirates. Some of their fans couldn’t watch that penalty.

Penalty to Arsenal! The cross comes in and Gabriel Jesus has the back of his foot kicked by Thiago. Liverpool can’t believe it. There look to be contact there. That won’t be overturned.

Really strange tactical switch from Klopp as it looks like Liverpool have gone to a 4-4-2. I assumed they would go to a 4-3-3.

It’s all getting rather tense now. 23 minutes to go. Can either team grab a winner? This would be huge for either if they can.

It is the away fans making all of the noise at the Emirates now. Arsenal’s fans a little stunned by that goal. To be fair, I’d be pretty stunned by Saliba being caught out of position like that. The bloke has hardly put a foot wrong all season long.

GOALLL! And just like that it is 2-2. Jota tees up Firmino who runs behind Saliba and finishes. What a game this is.

Second half is underway! Arsenal have started really well and Martin Odegaard hits a tame effort right at Alisson. Big chance for the Gunners to make it 3-1.

Trent Alexander-Arnold off at half time with Joe Gomez coming on. Was that the ankle injury he suffered? Or maybe the questionable defending on both of Arsenal’s goals?

GOALLLL! Right on half time Arsenal go 2-1 up. A great counter led by Gabriel Martinelli sees him find Saka to slot home. The crowd go wild here. They can’t believe it. Liverpool totally caught out on the counter.

A few decent chances for Arsenal just before the break but they’re trying to walk the ball into the net. Odegaard and Xhaka just couldn’t get their shot away.

Arsenal are a bit all over the place after that goal. Luis Diaz is down injured and he is coming off. Roberto Firmino is coming on. Jota moves to left wing. Firmino will play just underneath Nunez.

GOALLL! After a very good spell from Liverpool, it’s 1-1. A long ball forward sees Gabriel make a mess of the clearance and Luis Diaz gets in. He races down the right and his cross for Darwin Nunez is perfect as he taps home. Game on. Klopp is loving it on the sidelines. Liverpool’s fans go wild in the away end. The away side are feeling it.

There is quite a large gap between Liverpool’s two central midfielders and their 4 attackers. It’s Henderson and Thiago, then 25 yards of space, then Diaz, Jota, Nunez and Salah. It’s all a bit disconnected right now.

While TAA was down, Arsenal’s fans amused themselves by singing back and forth from one side of the stadium to the other. It’s all very jolly (from an Arsenal perspective) here.

Liverpool have recovered a little and are having a lot of the ball. Arsenal sat back and looking dangerous on the counter with Bukayo Saka causing problems.

GOALLLL! Oh my word. The Emirates has gone bonkers. A lovely move from Arsenal sees Saka cut inside and he finds Odegaard who plays in Martinelli to sweep home. After a brief VAR check for offside the goal stands. “1-0 to the Arsenal” is the chant here.

KICK OFF: We are underway. What an atmosphere here. Optimism levels high among the home fans.

Who is ready? We are. The scene here in north London.

Here is the team news, with Liverpool unchanged and Arsenal’s only change from the win over Spurs is Tomiyasu coming in for Zinchenko at left back. Very attacking lineup from Liverpool with Salah, Jota and Diaz supporting Nunez. Salah against Tomiyasu will be a pivotal battle, you would think.

Hello and welcome to a beautiful early fall day here at the Emirates! There is a real buzz in the air as red-hot Arsenal host stumbling Liverpool. Can Mikel Arteta get the better of Jurgen Klopp and grab a big statement win early in the season?

Key storylines & star players

Last weekend’s north London derby was billed as a massive test of Arsenal’s early-season title credentials, and they passed with flying colors. Still the youngest team in the Premier League (average age of 24.5, tied with Southampton), the young Gunners have grown and improved far more quickly than was expected of them, now they must show they can beat a side of Liverpool’s caliber — even in their struggles, the quality and highs-stakes experience remain and incredible advantage — at the very top of the Premier League hierarchy, and a side so dominant in recent times. Gabriel Jesus’ arrival (and team-leading five goals to start the season) has lifted spirits and tide alike, getting the rest of the attacking unit (Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka) heavily involved in the goal-scoring, too. Nine different players have scored a PL goal, but the above quartet is responsible for 12 of 20 goals and 8 of 13 assists thus far.

As for Liverpool, scoring goals hasn’t been a problem (18 in seven games - 4th-most in the PL) and their nine goals conceded (tied-5th-fewest) is hardly appalling either, but their performances have largely matched the disappointing 9th-place start: uninspiring, unremarkable and a bit worrying. Last weekend’s 3-3 draw with Brighton was certainly thrilling, but the Reds not only slow out of the starting gates (2-0 down after 18 minutes), but also not up to the task of closing out an undeserved victory (conceded an 83rd-minute equalizer). Injuries have made things rather difficult for Jurgen Klopp, but the impending returns of Ibrahima Konate and Andrew Robertson are good cause for optimism as Liverpool try to reverse course and keep within touching distance of the top of the table.

Arsenal team news, injuries, lineup

OUT: Emile Smith Rowe (groin), Mohamed Elneny (thigh), Oleksandr Zinchenko (unknown)

Liverpool team news, injuries, lineup

OUT: Naby Keita (undisclosed), Arthur Melo (undisclosed), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring), Andrew Robertson (knee), Curtis Jones (calf)

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