Sensational Salah stuns Anfield as Arsenal’s dismal record continues


Arsenal succumbed to a Mohamed Salah quick fire double as Liverpool maintained their grip over Arsenal at Anfield in a 3-1 victory.

The visitors deployed a diamond system with the primary aim to win the battle in the midfield. The Reds lined-up in their usual 4-3-3 formation with Jordan Henderson and Fabinho replacing James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from their last match against Southampton.

However, the main issue with the diamond was witnessed instantly when a switch of play allowed Andy Robertson to cross the ball, unmarked. Fortunately for the Gunners, Roberto Firmino was made to wait a little while longer for his fiftieth goal in a Liverpool shirt as the delivery went just beyond his outstretched right boot.

Despite Liverpool’s early dominance, Adrian gave Arsenal an excellent chance to take the lead. A nothing ball was played over the top and it looked for all the world that Virgil Van Dijk would take care of the danger. But Adrian didn’t think so; he rushed out of goal and his strayed clearance fell to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who attempted to dink the scrambling Spaniard. The effort went just wide as the Reds’ temporary number one was made to take in an almighty sigh of relief.

With Unai Emery insistent on his team playing their way out of trouble and out of the defence, the home side’s press was proving fruitful. The Londoners should have been made to pay this time when an ambitious cross-field pass from Dani Ceballos was intercepted by Sadio Mane in the 18-yard box. The Senegalese star struggled to get the ball from out of his feet and saw his strike gratefully held by Bernd Leno.

After quieting down the expectant Anfield crowd, Arsenal’s stature in the game began to grow. Composed on the ball and finding their feet within the diamond midfield, the away side looked a threat on the counter.  This was epitomized by Nicolas Pepe who had two shots saved in quicked succession. The first was a left-footed strike that was hit well but missed the accuracy to trouble the Liverpool goalmouth.

The second shot was certainly more notable. Arsenal’s blueprint nearly came to fruition from their own defending corner. A loose ball from Jordan Henderson gave the former Lille star an opportunity to run at the covering Robertson. A fantastic shift of direction tricked the Scot and left him bearing down on the goal. However, he struck a tame shot straight at Adrian. There was no doubt about it, the new Gunners signing was growing in presence.

Yet with five minutes until half-time, the Merseyside outfit opened the scoring when Joel Matip powered home an out-swinging Trent Alexander-Arnold corner. The big defender comfortably rose the highest above Arsenal’s faltering man-marking system. Unai Emery’s men seemed solely focused on Matip’s centre-half partner, Virgil Van Dijk, who was in close proximity.

Matip grabbed Liverpool’s first — photo: @LFC/Twitter

Shortly after the break Liverpool were given the chance to double their lead when David Luiz was deemed to have tugged back Mohamed Salah in the box. The Egyptian stepped up and drove it past Leno to put breathing space between the two sides.

The second goal seemed to have relaxed the home side and the crowd. With confidence flowing through the veins, they cranked up the pressure and did so in an arrogance yet assured style. The front three were causing havoc through subtle movements and intricate combination patterns. Salah went close with a header but failed to keep his effort down.

Salah got his just rewards after a sensational few minutes from the winger. In solo fashion, Salah spun David Luiz before racing into the box and coolly placing it past Leno. Pace, power and composure, the Egyptian’s second strike encapsulated everything that Liverpool’s forward line is about. The Anfield crowd was witnessing a devasting demolition in front of their very own eyes.

With still half an hour to go, you would forgive the Arsenal players and spectators feeling a sense of deja vu after recent visits to Anfield. Conceding 12 goals in their previous three outings there, they were on course to maintain that dismal run.

Another clean sheet went begging for Jurgen Klopp’s side as Lucas Torreira punched a snap-shot into the bottom right corner much to the frustration of the Liverpool players. Torreira’s strike signalled three games in a row the Reds have conceded and are continuing to show defensive vulnerabilities, despite their innovative attacking play.

The Gunners finished strongly but it was too little and too late. The match finished 3-1 and left Liverpool as the only side in the league to maintain a 100% win record..

Unlike other visits, Arsenal’s heavy defeat did not come through a lack of application; they were simply outclassed. The fact of the matter is Liverpool are year’s ahead of Arsenal in terms of a settled structure. Whilst the building blocks are there, Saturday’s loss will highlight how far they have to go to reach the top.

Team Lineups

Liverpool (4-3-3): Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum (Milner 68′); Salah, Firmino Lallana 85′), Mane (Oxlade-Chamberlain 76′).

Subsitutes unused: Kelleher, Gomez, Shaqiri, Origi.


Arsenal (4-1-2-1-2): Leno; Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Monreal; Xhaka, Willock (Lacazette 80′), Guendouzi (Mkhitaryan), Ceballos (Torreira 60′); Pepe, Aubameyang.

Subsitutes unused: Martinez, Chambers, Kolasinac, Nelson.



About Author

Football, Boxing and Cricket correspondent from Hampshire, covering southern sport. Editor and Head of Boxing at Prost International. Accreditated EFL & EPL journalist.

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