Arsenal 3-2 Liverpool: Player ratings as Gunners return to Premier League summit

Sean Walsh
Arsenal emerged victorious
Arsenal emerged victorious / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages
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Arsenal returned to the top of the Premier League table with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium.

Jurgen Klopp unleashed all of his attackers in an attempt to spark fresh life into the Reds' season, but defensive errors were their undoing as Mikel Arteta's men took the points to leapfrog Manchester City in the standings.

After failing to score in any of their four meetings last season, Arsenal took the lead with exactly one minute on the clock at the end of a swift counter attack, with Martin Odegaard teeing up Gabriel Martinelli to slot past compatriot Alisson.

Liverpool were denied a 15th-minute penalty when Gabriel's arm struck the ball, but after a lengthy VAR check, he was cleared of wrongdoing.

The Reds continued to look for an equaliser and came close to finding one when Darwin Nunez found some space just inside the 18-yard box to unleash a fearsome shot, but Aaron Ramsdale made a strong instinctive save to bat it away.

The England stopper had to be alert to stop William Saliba from turning the ball into his own net soon after as Liverpool's new look frontline put Arsenal through their paces.

Mohamed Salah was next to try his luck after dancing past makeshift left-back Takehiro Tomiyasu, though his shot was scuffed and trickled harmlessly wide.

And Liverpool found a deserved equaliser when Gabriel's skewed clearance was pounced upon by Luis Diaz, and he squared for Darwin Nunez to poke home his first goal since the opening day of the season.

At the end of stoppage time at the end of the first half, Arsenal went back in front at the end of another break, with this time Martinelli turning provider for Bukayo Saka to tap in.

The hosts came close to adding a third just after the interval when Liverpool failed to deal with a low Martinelli cross, with Odegaard and Saka both having shots blocked.

Odegaard again went close with a shot from 18 yards moments after, but his low drive was straight at Alisson.

But Arsenal were made to pay for not scoring in this frantic period as Diogo Jota's reverse ball into Roberto Firmino was inch-perfect, and the Brazilian picked out the far corner with a superb finish.

Arteta's side regained control of the match despite that setback, though spent much of the next 15 minutes playing on the edge of Liverpool's box without much penetration.

Arsenal were awarded a penalty after 73 minutes when Thiago kicked Gabriel Jesus' calf, and following a bit of afters, Saka stepped up to put the Gunners in front for a third time.

Harvey Elliott tried to win a late penalty off of Kieran Tierney with the clock running down, but neither referee Michael Oliver or VAR were impressed.

Jesus wanted a spot kick of his own after getting between Virgil van Dijk and Alisson, though a corner was given instead.

Arsenal managed to survive over five minutes of stoppage time to secure their eighth win from nine Premier League games so far this season, while Liverpool have won just two of their opening eight.


Arsenal vs Liverpool player ratings

1. Arsenal (4-2-3-1)

GK: Aaron Ramsdale - 6/10 - Not much he could have done about either goal.

RB: Ben White - 6/10 - Both Diaz and Jota had fun down the left flank, though that wasn't necessarily White's fault.

CB: William Saliba - 6/10 - Had to do a lot of the heavy lifting for Gabriel. Eventually that was going to end in Liverpool scoring a few goals, however.

CB: Gabriel - 3/10 - Looked very ropey throughout and Liverpool eventually took advantage of this.

LB: Takehiro Tomiyasu - 6/10 - Brought into the team to stop Salah. Slowed him down but was fortunate that the Egyptian's shooting boots were missing more than anything.

CM: Thomas Partey - 5/10 - Pulled to-and-fro by Thiago. Didn't know whether to stay or go, to press or sit.

CM: Granit Xhaka - 6/10 - By his own standards this season, this was a slightly disappointing game for the imperious Xhaka.

RM: Bukayo Saka - 9/10 - Wasn't involved too much but when he was he made Liverpool pay and ultimately finished with a brace.

AM: Martin Odegaard - 8/10 - Stepped up and got involved plenty when his side were in possession.

LM: Gabriel Martinelli - 9/10 - Klopp has long talked up Martinelli's ability and his worst fears were realised. One goal, one assist, plenty of nightmares for Liverpool defenders.

CF: Gabriel Jesus - 7/10 - Liverpool were hesitant in getting tight with Jesus but his touch was a little off all afternoon.

Manager: Mikel Arteta - 6/10 - Arsenal responded well to a poor first half by their own standards despite going in ahead.

SUB: Kieran Tierney (82' for Odegaard) - N/A

SUB: Eddie Nketiah (90' for Jesus) - N/A

SUB: Fabio Vieira (90' for Saka) - N/A

2. Liverpool (4-2-3-1)

GK: Alisson - 6/10 - Made a number of saves but Liverpool's woeful defending meant he was always going to concede goals.

RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold - 3/10 - Didn't cover himself in glory for either of Arsenal's first-half goals. Hooked at the break after picking up an ankle problem though could just as easily have been performance-related.

CB: Joel Matip - 5/10 - Caught napping on several occasions. Subbed for Konate.

CB: Virgil van Dijk - 4/10 - Played Martinelli miles onside for the early opener. Wasn't his worst performance of the season from there on in.

LB: Kostas Tsimikas - 6/10 - Did all he could to keep Saka quiet and yet he still scored twice.

CM: Jordan Henderson - 4/10 - Endeavoured to gift Arsenal something in the engine room. Off the pace.

CM: Thiago - 5/10 - Led Arsenal a merry dance in midfield in the first half but was sloppy in the second.

RM: Mohamed Salah - 4/10 - Had some sights at goal but failed to make much of an impact.

AM: Diogo Jota - 8/10 - Dropped into midfield but also beyond Nunez when required in the first half. Shifted to the left after Diaz came off, but no matter where he played Arsenal couldn't stop him.

LM: Luis Diaz - 7/10 - Tortured Arsenal in his 42 minutes on the pitch before being substituted with injury.

CF: Darwin Nunez - 8/10 - His enthusiasm and runs caused plenty of headaches for Arsenal.

Manager: Jurgen Klopp - 5/10 - The chaotic system change worked. The lack of defensive coaching did not.

SUB: Roberto Firmino (42' for Diaz) - 8/10 - Suits Liverpool's new system to a tee.

SUB: Joe Gomez (46' for Alexander-Arnold) - 6/10 - Dealt with Martinelli much better than Alexander-Arnold.

SUB: Ibrahima Konate (69' for Matip) - 5/10

SUB: Fabinho (69' for Salah) - 5/10

SUB: Harvey Elliott (81' for Jota) - N/A

Player of the Match - Gabriel Martinelli

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