Premier League

Arsenal 0-2 Liverpool: Player ratings as Jota & Firmino down Gunners

Toby Cudworth
Diogo Jota broke the deadlock for Liverpool
Diogo Jota broke the deadlock for Liverpool / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages
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Goals from Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino fired Liverpool to a 2-0 win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, pulling them to within a point of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.

Arsenal were the better side in an absorbing first half in north London, but Mikel Arteta's team were unable to turn the screw enough and find the back of the net - something they would pay for in the second half as Jurgen Klopp's side came roaring out of the traps.

Jota bagged his fifth goal in his last four appearances against Arsenal to open the scoring before Firmino made it two after good work from Andrew Robertson on the left-hand side.

Liverpool almost took the lead in the first couple of minutes through Virgil van Dijk, but that was as good as it got in the first half as Arsenal showed great intensity and intent to take charge of proceedings.

Gabriel Martinelli was particularly bright on the left flank, terrorising Trent Alexander-Arnold whenever he got hold of the ball, and Arsenal enjoyed great success passing through the lines after nullifying any space Jota, Luis Diaz and Sadio Mane would look to drop into.

But even though Arteta's side were on top they didn't fashion a clear-cut chance; Martinelli's cleared effort the closest they came to breaking through.

Liverpool, inevitably, improved after the break and started to get the likes of Thiago, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho on the ball more, but the big moment of the game came when Alisson made a superb sprawling stop to deny Martin Odegaard.

Played into trouble by a lose pass from Thiago, Alisson made himself big - Peter Schmeichel-esque - and got a flailing arm in the way to deny Odegaard, who was through on goal with just the Brazilian to beat.

Minutes later, Thiago would make amends for his mistake with a tremendous assist for Jota's goal, sliding a perfectly weighted ball between Cedric and Ben White for the Portuguese forward to run onto. The 25-year-old did the rest, although Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale will be annoyed that he was beaten at his near post by a shot he should really have saved.

Arsenal were the architects of their own downfall eight minutes later as they failed to clear their lines; substitute Firmino the beneficiary after Robertson had stolen the ball from Saka out wide before squaring the ball across the six-yard box.

The Reds then put the squeeze on Arsenal, creating a couple of decent openings for Mane and Mohamed Salah, and they comfortably saw out the game - the final whistle bringing up their ninth consecutive win in the Premier League, ending Arsenal's five-match winning streak in the process.


Arsenal player ratings

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Aaron Ramsdale
Aaron Ramsdale - Superman? / ADRIAN DENNIS/GettyImages

Aaron Ramsdale (GK) - 4/10 - Distribution was always positive but his main job is to stop shots - and he really should have stopped Jota's at the near post.

Cedric Soares (RB) - 5/10 - Impressive in the first half with his pressing of the ball but wandered too far away from White to allow Jota to sneak through and score.

Ben White (CB) - 7/10 - Getting better with every performance in an Arsenal shirt.

Gabriel Magalhaes (CB) - 7/10 - Solid in the tackle, well positioned and a more than capable passer. Good showing.

Kieran Tierney (LB) - 6/10 - Helped Arsenal dominate the first half by pushing them up the field and providing good width.


2. Midfielders

Thomas Partey (CM) - 7/10 - Saw plenty of the ball in the first half and offered a glimpse of why Arsenal shelled out £50m+ for his services.

Granit Xhaka (CM) - 6/10 - Not a bad shift in the heart of Arsenal's midfield - couldn't really be blamed as Liverpool's quality eventually shone through.

Martin Odegaard (AM) - 6/10 - Bright early on as Arsenal pressed Liverpool into making mistakes. Will feel he could have done better when presented with a golden opportunity to beat Alisson.


3. Forwards

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gabriel Martinelli
Martinelli gave Alexander-Arnold a tough time / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Bukayo Saka (RW) - 6/10 - Very lively in the first half, putting Robertson under pressure, but was at fault for Liverpool's second after carelessly giving the ball away.

Alexandre Lacazette (ST) - 5/10 - Knitted play together nicely, like he often does, but the Frenchman wasn't much of a threat in the area. Arsenal need him to score goals in these games and he never looked like doing that.

Gabriel Martinelli (LW) - 8/10 - Had Alexander-Arnold on toast a number of times, showing blistering pace and wonderful close control. Unlucky to bend an effort wide of Alisson's post late on.


4. Substitutes

Emile Smith Rowe (67' for Odegaard) - 5/10 - Not able to turn the tide as Liverpool assumed control.

Nicolas Pepe (74' for Saka) - 5/10 - Pepe was similarly ineffective, through no fault of his own really.

Eddie Nketiah (80' for Lacazette) - N/A


Liverpool player ratings

5. Goalkeeper & defenders

Andrew Robertson
Robertson impressed as the game wore on / IAN KINGTON/GettyImages

Alisson (GK) - 7/10 - Little to do in terms of shot stopping apart from one brilliant stop from Odegaard - could be enough to swing the title Liverpool's way. Had to be alert to sweep up in the channels on multiple occasions.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB) - 6/10 - Played a wonderful raking ball over the top for Mane in first half stoppage time, and set piece/crossing delivery was superb as per. Struggled defensively.

Joel Matip (CB) - 7/10 - Can look a little cumbersome at times with his limbs sprawling everywhere, but he sure has a cool head on him.

Virgil van Dijk (CB) - 7/10 - Unflappable in the face of intense Arsenal pressure. Wonder if his heart rate ever rises...

Andrew Robertson (LB) - 8/10 - Spent far time on the back foot than he'd have envisaged and was given a tough time by Saka in the first half. Showed his quality in the second, ending the game with a sublime assist for Firmino.


6. Midfielders

Jordan Henderson (CM) - 7/10 - Absorbed everything Arsenal had to throw at him in the first half, eventually coming out on top as Liverpool ground the Gunners down.

Fabinho (CM) - 6/10 - A little overrun in the first half and was unusually wasteful in possession. Got better as the game wore on.

Thiago (CM) - 7/10 - A delicious weight of pass threaded the eye of the needle for Jota and he did the rest. Classy operator.


7. Forwards

Diogo Jota, Thiago Alcantara
Thiago was happy with Jota's goal, it's fair to say / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

Sadio Mane (RF) - 6/10 - Got in behind a couple of times, even having a goal chalked off for offside, but wasn't at his brilliant best. Good news for Liverpool, he didn't need to be.

Diogo Jota (CF) - 7/10 - Buzzed around Arsenal's backline waiting for an opportunity and took it when it arrived.

Luis Diaz (LF) - 6/10 - Not as effective as many would have expected - though credit must go to Arsenal for that. Rotated after Liverpool opened the scoring.


8. Substitutes

Mohamed Salah (56' for Diaz) - 6/10 - A couple of half chances for Salah to sniff around at after he came on, but Arsenal were keen to keep him under wraps.

Roberto Firmino (56' for Jota) - 7/10 - Wonderfully deft touch to flick Robertson's cross into the far corner - continued his remarkable goal return away from Anfield.

Curtis Jones (90' for Thiago) - N/A

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