EPL

Arsenal 0-2 Liverpool: Jota and Firmino fire Liverpool to within a point of Manchester City

By Sports Desk March 16, 2022

Liverpool moved just one point behind Manchester City in the Premier League title race after beating Arsenal 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

Second half goals from Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino were enough to seal victory for Jurgen Klopp's men, who avoided some scares before taking control just before the hour.

Mohamed Salah started the game on the bench after picking up a slight foot injury in Saturday's 2-0 win at Brighton and Hove Albion, with Sadio Mane, Luis Diaz and Jota making up the Reds' forward line.

Mikel Arteta will be unhappy with the result but his side remain in fourth place, a point ahead of Manchester United with two games still in hand, while Liverpool are now breathing down City's neck at the top.

Virgil van Dijk had Aaron Ramsdale working early as he headed a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner towards goal, but the Arsenal goalkeeper was able to palm it away.

The Gunners had the better of the first half without really creating any chances, though Gabriel Martinelli in particular was troubling Liverpool down the hosts' left side.

Sadio Mane had the ball in the net early in the second half though it was ruled out for offside, before sloppy play from Thiago gave Martin Odegaard the chance to score, but Alisson made a fantastic save to deny the Norwegian.

Thiago made up for that mistake shortly after with a tremendous throughball for Jota, whose left-foot shot squirmed past Ramsdale at his near post to give the visitors a 54th-minute lead.

Klopp decided to make two changes immediately after with Jota and Luis Diaz coming off for Salah and Firmino, and it was the latter who doubled the lead just after the hour mark, with the Brazilian flicking an Andy Robertson cross into the net from close range.

What does it mean? Imperious Liverpool giving us a title race

If we're honest, most people thought it was over. Man City were 14 points clear at the top just a few weeks ago, albeit Liverpool had two games in hand at the time.

Now, after 29 games each, the Reds sit just a point behind Pep Guardiola's side, and will go top for at least a brief period if they avoid defeat to Watford at Anfield in their next league game.

Liverpool have now won their last nine Premier League games, scoring 23 goals and conceding just two in this run. Away from home, the Reds have only failed to win five of their 15 league trips this season (D3 L2).

Jota the slotter downs Gunners again

Some players have better records against some teams than others. Robbie Fowler had a great record against Arsenal, Roberto Firmino has a very good record against Arsenal, and Diogo Jota has an outstanding record against *checks notes*… Arsenal.

The Portugal international has scored six goals in last five appearances against the north London side in all competitions. Indeed, only Jamie Vardy (five) has netted as many goals at the Emirates Stadium as a visitor than Jota.

Arsenal's woeful Reds record continues

The hosts were more than a match for Liverpool in the first half, but just could not find that extra bit of quality to ensure the score matched their efforts, similarly to how they lost to Man City at home earlier in the season having played well.

Arsenal have now won just one of their last 19 meetings with Liverpool in all competitions (D8 L10), beating them 2-1 at home in July 2020 after Klopp's men had already been crowned champions.

What's next?

Arsenal travel to Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday while it's FA Cup quarter-final action for Liverpool as they head to Nottingham Forest – who knocked the Gunners out in the third round – on Sunday.

Related items

  • 'We want him to stay at Barcelona' – Barca president Joan Laporta confirms plan to keep De Jong 'We want him to stay at Barcelona' – Barca president Joan Laporta confirms plan to keep De Jong

    Frenkie de Jong appears likely to remain at Barcelona for this season, if the comments from club president Joan Laporta after their side's 6-0 pre-season win against Pumas are to be believed.

    De Jong scored the sixth goal in the rout, coming off the bench at half-time and finding the net in the 84th minute.

    He has been one of the main names featured in transfer rumours this off-season, with Barcelona's questionable finances making it seem like the club would have to part ways with the 25-year-old Dutch international to fund their sizeable moves for Leeds United winger Raphinha, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde.

    However, having been outspoken about his desire to remain at Camp Nou, it now seems more likely he will not be sold during this transfer window, with Laporta saying before the match against Pumas that it is what both parties want.

    "Frenkie is our player and we want him to stay at Barcelona," he said. "He wants to stay, too.

    "With him and his teammates, we have a very powerful midfield. He has offers, but we want him to stay."

    After the match, Xavi was less emphatic about De Jong's future when interviewed by TV3, but insisted that he's "counting on" the midfielder this season.

    "I don’t know what will happen to Frenkie, as until August 31st anything can happen," he said.

    "He knows what I think, and what the club want and need. Of course I’m counting on him, he’s a great player."

    Barcelona will open their LaLiga campaign at home against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.

  • Neville hits out at 'desperate' Man Utd transfer strategy amid Arnautovic links Neville hits out at 'desperate' Man Utd transfer strategy amid Arnautovic links

    Gary Neville launched a scathing attack on Manchester United's transfer strategy after their 2-1 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion, labelling the Red Devils "desperate" amid reports linking them with Marko Arnautovic.

    United began the Erik ten Hag era in dismal fashion on Sunday as Pascal Gross' double condemned them to an opening-day defeat to the Seagulls.

    The result made Ten Hag the first United boss to lose his first Premier League game at the helm since Louis van Gaal did so against Swansea City in August 2014.

    With wantaway striker Cristiano Ronaldo starting on the bench and fellow forward Anthony Martial injured, United struggled to test a resolute Brighton rearguard and only pulled a goal back when Alexis Mac Allister put through his own net.

    In the aftermath of United's defeat, widespread reports suggested they had a £7.6million (€9m) bid for Bologna's 33-year-old forward Arnautovic rejected.

    United have also failed to entice top target Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona thus far, and Neville did not hold back when discussing the club's recruitment.

    "The first thing you do when the phone rings from Manchester United is reject the bid, because the reality of it is after losing that game against Brighton on Sunday, they're actually negotiating from an even worse position than they were on Saturday, and that's an even bigger problem for them," the former United defender said on Sky Sports.

    "I've got a comment on everything in the world, apart from Manchester United signing Marko Arnautovic. I've got nothing to say.

    "We've seen Radamel Falcao, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edison Cavani, Odion Ighalo - desperate, it's a pattern. 

    "It's happening time and time again. I don't even get angry or animated about it anymore. I'm not going to comment about it."

    Micah Richards was also unimpressed by the potential acquisition of Arnautovic, adding: "What has happened to Manchester United, seriously? I'm not going to stick the boot in. Arnautovic was a quality player, but he's 33 playing in Italy."

    After playing in the Premier League for Stoke City and West Ham, Arnautovic spent two years in China with Shanghai Port before moving to Bologna – for whom he scored 14 Serie A goals last season – in 2021.

    In his post-match media conference, Ten Hag declined to mention Arnautovic by name, only lamenting the unavailability of the strikers in his squad, with Ronaldo limited to a substitute appearance.

    "I don't go into names because I think in this pre-season 250 players are involved or linked with Manchester United, so that's it," Ten Hag said. "We have two strikers, maybe a third one, with Marcus Rashford as well.

    "We considered him as a striker, but he had a really good pre-season on the left side and today he had two really good chances coming in from the left side.

    "So I think it was the right decision to do it like this, the typical number nine wasn't available today."

  • 'A defeat that can do us good' – Allegri philosophical after Morata hat-trick crushes Juventus 'A defeat that can do us good' – Allegri philosophical after Morata hat-trick crushes Juventus

    Massimiliano Allegri remained philosophical after Juventus' comprehensive 4-0 friendly loss to Atletico Madrid on Sunday, adamant the rout could benefit his side in the long term.

    Juventus' clash with Atletico had originally been set for Tel Aviv but was moved to the Turin giants' training ground on Saturday owing to security concerns following a heightening of conflict in Gaza.

    Despite enjoying familiar surroundings, the Serie A club endured a chastening end to their pre-season campaign as Alvaro Morata's treble – as well as a late strike from Matheus Cunha – condemned them to a resounding defeat.

    Atletico's win could have been even more comfortable had Joao Felix not seen a first-half penalty saved by Wojciech Szczesny, but Allegri believes Juve will draw valuable lessons from the contest.

    "Atletico Madrid is certainly one of the strongest teams in Europe, they have an important squad," he told Sky Sport Italia.

    "We arrived a little tired to this match, but even in negative things we must find something positive and in this sense, this match must teach us. 

    "We only have one week to prepare ourselves in the best way, especially mentally, and to understand that it takes other things to win.

    "If we analyse this game and think in a certain way, it will not leave any aftermath. But we know that on August 15 there will be three points up for grabs and the attitude will certainly be different.

    "After all, I think it's a defeat that can do us good."

    Meanwhile, the Bianconeri boss refused to discuss Morata's future after the former Juventus loanee – who has been linked with a return to Turin – produced a dominant performance.

    Morata's future has been subject to debate throughout the transfer window, with Atletico reportedly refusing to sanction another loan move for a player who scored nine Serie A goals and added seven assists for Juventus last season.

    Only the since-departed Paulo Dybala (10) outscored the Spaniard among Juve players last term, while no Bianconeri player laid on as many league goals for team-mates.

    "I can't say anything about Morata because he is an Atletico player," Allegri added.

    "I liked [Gleison] Bremer, even [fellow new signing Federico] Gatti.

    "Right now, I have to work with who I have, we have the qualities and the possibilities to start the championship well, but we need to crack down on the attitude and be a little more bad."

    Juve begin their Serie A campaign at home to Sassuolo on August 15, with Diego Simeone's Atletico travelling to Getafe on the same day to get their LaLiga season under way.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.