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Liverpool win seven-goal thriller at Arsenal

Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho scored a brilliant first goal of the season, at Emirates Stadium

Liverpool held on to beat Arsenal in a stunning Premier League opening weekend encounter at Emirates Stadium.

Theo Walcott fired in the first goal for the Gunners in the 31st minute, moments after missing a penalty.

Philippe Coutinho equalised with a brilliant free-kick before Adam Lallana fired in after the break.

Coutinho poked in his second and Sadio Mane slammed home, before Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored a great solo goal and Calum Chambers headed in.

Relive this thrilling match at the Emirates Stadium

Brilliant goals light up brilliant encounter

Philippe Coutinho<!–

Philippe Coutinho’s second goal followed a 19-pass move

It was billed as the best game of the Premier League opening weekend and more than lived up to expectations.

After quite a dour 30 minutes, Alberto Moreno’s second defensive mistake lit the flame for the encounter that followed.

It was the second half that will long live in the memory. Four of the five goals were exceptional.

There was Lallana’s chest control and strike followed by a 19-pass move finished off by Coutinho. Mane then capped off an impressive debut with a goal reminiscent of his strikes at Southampton – driving at the defence before a fierce finish.

And substitute Oxlade-Chamberlain then produced a delightful cameo when he dazzled the Liverpool backline and then slotted past Simon Mignolet.

Chambers’ header left Liverpool wondering whether a great win would become ‘what could have been’ – but they hung on.

Where does this leave Arsenal?

Arsene Wenger<!–

A familiar sight – will Arsene Wenger bring in more defensive reinforcements before the transfer window shuts

During the 2013-14 season, the Gunners capitulated horribly on three occasions in the league – conceding six against Manchester City and Chelsea and five against Liverpool.

Home fans watching must have thought it was a case of history repeating when, from 1-0 up in the first half through Walcott’s drilled effort, they were 4-1 down by the 63rd minute.

The difference between then and now is that Arsenal are a far more potent proposition in attack, which is why the Reds were left celebrating a narrow win rather than a mauling.

It is the issues at the back that appear to be a perennial problem. On Sunday they were without injured senior defenders Per Mertesacker and Gabriel, while Laurent Koscielny is still not match fit after his exploits at Euro 2016.

That meant manager Arsene Wenger was forced to play Rob Holding, 20, a £2m summer signing from Bolton, alongside Calum Chambers, 21, in central defence.

Their inexperience was brutally exposed by Liverpool’s attack in the second half. The question is whether Wenger dips into the transfer market or waits for his senior players to return. The fans will want the former.

Has time already run out for Moreno?

Theo Walcott and Alberto Moreno<!–

Alberto Moreno (right) mistimed a tackle on Theo Walcott to earn Arsenal a penalty

The reaction on social media was damning and who knows what his manager Jurgen Klopp was thinking.

Liverpool’s full-back Moreno had a match to forget after twice making crucial mistakes. He should have been punished by Walcott for his first – a wild lunge on the England forward inside the area which resulted in the penalty. Simon Mignolet’s save bailed him out.

His second error was arguably more inexplicable when he allowed Walcott acres of space on the right of the box – before the England winger drilled his angled effort past the Belgian keeper.

Derided by his own fans last season, memorably for his performance in the Europa League final, the 24-year-old Spaniard’s display is surely now giving Klopp food for thought with the transfer window shutting in two weeks.

Man of the match – Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)

Philippe Coutinho<!–

Philippe Coutinho was the conductor in midfield for Liverpool, he scored two superb goals – the only downside was the injury to the Brazilian 20 minutes from time.

What the managers said

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger:

“We lacked experience at the back and we were physically short. Liverpool did well and we were for 15 minutes completely shocked.

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Arsenal lacked experience – Wenger

We pushed players today like Aaron Ramsey. It is an impossible situation to get players back from the Euros and prepare.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp:

“I played a big part in the excitement of the last half-hour, because it’s not allowed to celebrate the fourth goal like this with 35 minutes to go.

“At this moment, we switched off the machines. The game was not over. Arsenal lost, but we gave them a path back into the game.

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Liverpool’s Klopp pleased with ‘deserved’ win

“Nothing is sure until the final whistle. Over the whole of the 90 minutes it was a deserved win.

“We can always score goals and we can defend much better. It’s the Premier League and nothing should be easy in this league. Nothing is easy.”

The stats you need to know

  • Arsenal conceded four goals in a league game at the Emirates for the first time since May 2009 (4-1 v Chelsea).
  • Arsenal v Liverpool has seen more penalties missed than any other fixture in Premier League history (seven).
  • Mignolet has saved five of the 11 penalties he has faced in the Premier League, more than any other Liverpool goalkeeper.
  • Walcott has scored in 10 different Premier League seasons for Arsenal; only Dennis Bergkamp (11) has scored in more for the Gunners.
  • Thirteen of Philippe Coutinho’s 30 goals for Liverpool in all competitions have been scored from outside the box.
  • Arsenal had three different English scorers in the same Premier League game for the first time since October 1997 against Barnsley (Parlour, Platt and Wright).
  • This is the first time since 1953-54 in the English top flight that the two top from the previous season have both lost their opening game.

What’s next?

The Gunners face champions Leicester next Saturday at 17:30 BST at the King Power Stadium. On the same day Liverpool are away again, this time at Burnley – that match kicks off at 15:00 BST.

Live Text

Match ends, Arsenal 3, Liverpool 4.

Second Half ends, Arsenal 3, Liverpool 4.

Offside, Liverpool. Emre Can tries a through ball, but Divock Origi is caught offside.

Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Sadio Mané (Liverpool).

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Héctor Bellerín.

Attempt blocked. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Divock Origi.

Calum Chambers (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Divock Origi (Liverpool).

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Theo Walcott.

Substitution, Liverpool. Kevin Stewart replaces Georginio Wijnaldum.

Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal).

Sadio Mané (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Offside, Liverpool. Alberto Moreno tries a through ball, but Roberto Firmino is caught offside.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Calum Chambers.

Attempt blocked. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Georginio Wijnaldum.

Foul by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal).

Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Dejan Lovren.

Foul by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal).

Alberto Moreno (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool).

Foul by Francis Coquelin (Arsenal).

Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, Arsenal. Santiago Cazorla tries a through ball, but Alexis Sánchez is caught offside.

Substitution, Liverpool. Divock Origi replaces Adam Lallana.

Goal! Arsenal 3, Liverpool 4. Calum Chambers (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Santiago Cazorla with a cross following a set piece situation.

Francis Coquelin (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool).

Attempt missed. Santiago Cazorla (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Francis Coquelin.

Foul by Roberto Firmino (Liverpool).

Francis Coquelin (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Sadio Mané (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal).

Substitution, Liverpool. Emre Can replaces Philippe Coutinho because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) because of an injury.

Substitution, Arsenal. Granit Xhaka replaces Mohamed Elneny.

What Next?

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