Arsenal 3-1 Liverpool: Player ratings as Alisson & Van Dijk howlers keep Gunners in title race

  • Arsenal closed the gap in the Premier League title race to two points with a 2-1 win over Liverpool
  • Saka & Martinelli struck either side of a Gabriel own goal; Trossard netted in stoppage time
  • Ibrahima Konate shown a late red card for two bookable offences

Alisson & Van Dijk handed Martinelli a huge goal
Alisson & Van Dijk handed Martinelli a huge goal / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages
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Arsenal kept their Premier League title hopes alive with a huge 3-1 victory over Liverpool at the Emirates on Sunday.

Facing the prospect of falling eight points behind with defeat, Arsenal brought one of their best performances of the season as they roared into an early lead courtesy of Bukayo Saka.

Gabriel Magalhaes' comical own goal on the stroke of half-time set up an intriguing second half, but the humour reached its peak when Alisson and Virgil van Dijk conspired to hand Gabriel Martinelli a simple go-ahead goal.

Ibrahima Konate was shown a second yellow card in the dying embers, before substitute Leandro Trossard fired through Alisson in stoppage time to seal a stunning win.


How the game unfolded

Arsenal's high press was causing problems for Liverpool in the opening stages but their first real sight of goal came from a counter. Martinelli went fizzing down the left wing and floated a cross in to Saka, whose diving header should have found the back of the net but ended up drifting wide.

The Gunners' pressure did not ease, however, and Saka crashed home just a few minutes later. Kai Havertz's strike was parried into his path by Alisson and, clearly more comfortable with his feet, the Englishman atoned for his earlier error with a composed finish.

Martin Odegaard was the next player to be handed a chance by Liverpool's nervous back line, but the skipper's strike was well closed down by Van Dijk.

Liverpool slowly started to figure themselves out eventually but still lacked their usual fluidity in attack. It looked like they were set to head into the break deservedly behind but, against the run of play, the tenacious Diaz inspired an utterly chaotic equaliser.

William Saliba's refusal to clear his lines in the box allowed a desperate Diaz to flick the ball back across the six-yard box and into the path of an unwitting Gabriel, who punched into his own net to tie things up.

Liverpool came out hot after the interval, with both Alexis Mac Allister and Curtis Jones striking wide from long range inside the first few minutes.

The shaky back line continued to plague Liverpool, however. A hopeful punt up to Martinelli caused all sorts of chaos between the retreating Van Dijk and the onrushing Alisson, but the duo failed to clear their lines and instead handed Martinelli an empty net to restore Arsenal's advantage.

A second yellow card saw Konate sent for an early bath shortly before the 90-minute mark, after which Trossard drove between Alisson's legs to remove any doubt about the result.


Arsenal player ratings (4-3-3)

Declan Rice
Rice had an excellent game / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

GK: David Raya - 6/10 - Should he have come for the ball for Diaz's opener? The Spaniard wasn't particularly busy here and will face questions over his role in the equaliser, although the blame probably doesn't lie with him.

RB: Ben White - 6/10 - Really solid defensively but picked up a silly yellow card for timewasting in the first half and invited pressure on himself as a result.

CB: William Saliba - 5/10 - Beaten in the air and not convincing enough for the equaliser. Another disappointing showing.

CB: Gabriel - 7/10 - Largely solid but unfortunate to concede the own goal. Could no nothing about it.

LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko - 6/10 - Allowed to focus on his role as a left-back thanks to Jorginho's inclusion in midfield. Looked to benefit from only having one job.

DM: Declan Rice - 8/10 - Bullied Liverpool's midfield and appeared to be everywhere on the pitch. A truly impressive performance, which hardly comes as a surprise these days.

CM: Martin Odegaard - 6/10 - The quietest of Arsenal's midfield three. Wasn't involved in the final third enough but did contribute to the team's high press.

CM: Jorginho - 8/10 - Pulled the strings in midfield with real ease. Seemed to work really well alongside Rice.

RW: Bukayo Saka - 7/10 - Pressed like a monster and deserved his goal, which helped atone for an inexplicable miss just a few minutes earlier.

ST: Kai Havertz - 7/10 - Smart movement to drop deep and help overload midfield, which often saw him sacrifice time on the ball. Selfless but crucial.

LW: Gabriel Martinelli - 8/10 - Needed this sort of showing. Electric with the ball at his feet and involved in most of Arsenal's dangerous counters. Gifted the goal his performance deserved.


Substitutes

SUB: Jakub Kiwior (46' for Zinchenko) - 6/10

SUB: Leandro Trossard (74' for Martinelli) - 7/10

SUB: Reiss Nelson (79' for Saka) - N/A

Subs not used: Aaron Ramsdale (GK), Reuell Walters, Cedric Soares, Mohamed Elneny, Emile Smith Rowe, Eddie Nketiah


Manager

Mikel Arteta - 8/10 - If the decision to start Jorginho was tactical, then fair play. The Italian has had a very limited role this season but was sensational here, freeing up Rice to embark on a path of destruction all across the pitch. It worked perfectly.


Liverpool player ratings (4-3-3)

Luis Diaz
Diaz forced an unlikely equaliser / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

GK: Alisson - 2/10 - Did all he could to weather the early Arsenal storm but undid all that good work with howlers for the second and third goals.

RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold - 4/10 - Could not cope with Martinelli at all but appeared to be pushed forward into an advanced position, which made things infinitely more difficult.

CB: Ibrahima Konate - 5/10 - A largely impressive showing which required plenty of work to help out on the right side before a second yellow card in the dying embers ended his game early.

CB: Virgil van Dijk - 3/10 - Struggled to hold his own as Liverpool's setup often left him isolated on the break. Involved in the huge error for Martinelli's strike. Simply not good enough.

LB: Joe Gomez - 5/10 - Wasn't tested as much as he perhaps expected to be, despite being on a yellow card for the majority of the game.

DM: Alexis Mac Allister - 6/10 - Another solid showing from Mac Allister, who looked good defensively and did his best to try and keep Liverpool ticking in midfield.

CM: Curtis Jones - 5/10 - A little timid on the ball which saw him struggle to match Rice and Jorginho. Guilty of some poor decisions.

CM: Ryan Gravenberch - 3/10 - Largely anonymous before being hooked on the hour mark. Not good enough.

RW: Diogo Jota - 5/10 - Didn't offer a whole lot going forward aside from his typical energy.

ST: Cody Gakpo - 4/10 - Really struggled to get involved. A significant difference to Nunez's shoot-on-sight policy from the Chelsea game.

LW: Luis Diaz - 5/10 - Guilty of some poor decisions in the final third but deserves credit for the tenacity which forced the equaliser for his side.


Substitutes

SUB: Darwin Nunez (58' for Gakpo) - 5/10

SUB: Andy Robertson (58' for Alexander-Arnold) - 5/10

SUB: Harvey Elliott (58' for Gravenberch) - 5/10

SUB: Thiago (85' for Gomez) - N/A

Subs not used: Caoimhin Kelleher (GK), Adrian, Jarell Quansah, James McConnell, Bobby Clark


Manager

Jurgen Klopp - 3/10 - Got this wrong. Alexander-Arnold playing further forward left Liverpool so exposed at the back, and his team failed to bounce back from their nervy start.


Player of the match - Jorginho (Arsenal)