Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp's side hold on to secure thrilling win
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By Oliver Yew at the Emirates
Last Updated: 15/08/16 12:21am
Liverpool resisted a late Arsenal fightback to secure a thrilling 4-3 victory at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsene Wenger's side started brightly and they were rewarded in the 29th minute with a penalty after Alberto Moreno brought down Theo Walcott, but the England international saw his spot-kick saved.
He made amends just 68 seconds later, drilling a low effort into the far corner to hand the hosts the lead, but Philippe Coutinho's superb free-kick levelled proceedings in first-half stoppage time, before goals from Adam Lallana (49), another from Coutinho (59) and a stunning solo effort from Sadio Mane (63) turned the match on its head.
Arsenal responded a minute later through substitute Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain before Calum Chambers' header cut the deficit once more with 15 minutes remaining, but it was Jurgen Klopp's side who held on to secure a deserved victory on a breathless afternoon in north London.
With Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel all absent, Wenger handed summer signing Rob Holding his Premier League debut alongside Chambers at the heart of Arsenal's defence and the inexperienced duo were hardly tested in the opening stages as Arsenal dominated the ball.
Alexis Sanchez, starting in attack in the absence of Olivier Giroud, was involved early, flicking the ball off for Aaron Ramsey in the box but the Wales international could only poke his shot straight at Simon Mignolet.
Ramsey, playing in the more advanced role he performed so well in for Wales during Euro 2016, was becoming more and more influential, latching onto Alberto Moreno's poor headed clearance but the Spanish full-back recovered with a sliding tackle.
Moreno was in the thick of the action again in the 29th minute but this time he was punished for another rash tackle, lunging in and catching Walcott just inside the penalty area.
It left referee Michael Oliver with no choice but to point to the spot. Up stepped Walcott, but Mignolet, diving to his right, palmed the ball away to safety to keep the scores level.
Just over a minute later, though, the Gunners were in front and it was a moment of redemption for Walcott, who made amends for his penalty miss, drilling a low right-footed shot into the far corner after being picked out by Alex Iwobi.
It was no more than Wenger's men deserved for their dominance but the scores should have been level when Georginio Wijnaldum latched onto Coutinho's cut back, only to pick out Petr Cech with a rather tame effort.
They were level though in injury time at the end of the first half and it was a moment of magic from Coutinho, who curled a free-kick from 30 yards over the wall and into the top corner.
The turnaround was complete immediately after the break when Lallana brought down Wijnaldum's cross before firing a low finish past Cech and into the net.
Whatever Klopp said to his players at the break seemed to work and they extended their advantage in the 56th minute with Coutinho converting Nathaniel Clyne's low cross.
Arsenal responded by bringing on Oxlade-Chamberlain in place of the injured Iwobi and Santi Cazorla for Ramsey, who also appeared to pick up a knock, but Liverpool continued to pile forward with pace.
And it was four in the 63rd minute as Mane outran Chambers before cutting inside and brilliantly picking out the top corner with a left-foot shot.
The action wasn't finished there as Oxlade-Chamberlain's deflected shot sneaked past Mignolet , before the hosts cut the deficit again as Chambers glanced Cazorla's free-kick past the dive and Mignolet into the far corner to breathe life into the comeback with 15 minutes remaining.
But Liverpool, who went close through Firmino in the closing stages, held on for a memorable victory.
Arsenal: Cech (6), Bellerin (6), Holding (6), Chambers (6), Monreal (6), Coquelin (6), Ramsey (7), Walcott (6), Alexis Sanchez (6), Iwobi (6).
Subs used: Oxlade-Chamberlain (5), Cazorla (6), Xhaka (5).
Liverpool: Mignolet (6), Clyne (7), Klavan (6), Lovren (6), Moreno (5), Wijnaldum (7), Henderson (6), Lallana (7), Coutinho (8), Mane (7), Firmino (7).
Subs used: Can (6), Origi (5), Stewart (N/A).
Man of the Match: Philippe Coutinho