Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal: Sadio Mane stars in crucial win for Reds
By Patrick Surlis
Last Updated: 05/03/17 7:37am
Liverpool moved up to third in the Premier League table with a 3-1 win over Arsenal at Anfield on Saturday evening.
The Gunners, who started Alexis Sanchez on the bench for tactical reasons, were 2-0 down at half-time after goals by Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.
Sanchez, on as a half-time substitute, set up Danny Welbeck to reduce the deficit but a stoppage-time strike by Georginio Wijnaldum sealed victory for Liverpool.
They move up to third having played two games more than fourth-placed Manchester City, who face Sunderland on Nissan Super Sunday.
Arsenal drop to fifth and take on Bayern Munich next in the Champions League last-16 on Tuesday trailing 5-1 on aggregate from the first leg.
The win means Liverpool are now unbeaten in their nine league games this season against the current top six.
Jurgen Klopp made one change from Monday's 3-1 defeat by Leicester City, shuffling his defence as Ragnar Klavan replaced Lucas Leiva.
Wenger, without Mesut Ozil due to illness, raised eyebrows by naming Sanchez on the bench and the Gunners managed just one shot on target in a lethargic first-half display.
They fell behind when Firmino converted Liverpool's first chance of the match, hammering high into the net from Mane's cross.
The hosts' famed pressing, absent against the Foxes, kept Arsenal penned inside their own half and Klopp's side deservedly doubled their lead before the break.
Firmino was again involved, teeing up Mane at the back post after good work by James Milner and Wijnaldum. The Senegal international took a touch to compose himself and smashed his low strike past Petr Cech.
The Reds almost made it three on the stroke of half-time through Philippe Coutinho, who had earlier drawn a smart save from the Arsenal goalkeeper.
He should have done better when Lallana's deflected pass fell fortuitously into his path but the Brazilian miscued his shot straight at Cech.
Wenger introduced Sanchez at the interval and the Chilean made an immediate impact, providing the pass for Welbeck to lift his finish over Simon Mignolet after 57 minutes.
Mignolet had made a fine save from Olivier Giroud's header prior to the goal and the Liverpool 'keeper was on hand to gather when the Frenchman's effort then came off the crossbar.
Arsenal pressed in the closing stages and Emre Can was fortunate to avoid a second yellow card for his late tackle on Theo Walcott, but Liverpool remained a threat to score a third.
They went close when substitute Divock Origi rose well to meet a Milner free-kick but the forward's header came off the base of the post.
Liverpool did wrap up victory in stoppage time with a quick break as Arsenal searched in vain for an equaliser.
Joel Matip blocked Sanchez's goal-bound effort and Liverpool counter-attacked through Lallana, who found Origi with the Belgian in turn teeing up Wijnaldum to sweep home.
Liverpool face Burnley next Sunday live on Sky Sports, while Arsenal follow their game against Bayern with an FA Cup quarter-final against non-league Lincoln City at the Emirates on Saturday.
Liverpool: Mignolet (7), Clyne (7), Matip (7), Klavan (7), Milner (7), Wijnaldum (8), Can (7), Lallana (9), Coutinho (8), Mane (9), Firmino (8)
Subs used: Alexander-Arnold (6), Leiva (6), Origi (7)
Arsenal: Cech (7), Bellerin (7), Mustafi (6), Koscielny (6), Monreal (6), Coquelin (5), Xhaka (5), Welbeck (7), Oxlade-Chamberlain (6), Iwobi (5), Giroud (6)
Subs used: Sanchez (7), Perez (6), Walcott (6)
Man of the match: Sadio Mane