Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal: Roberto Firmino scores late equaliser to hurt Gunners’ title bid
Roberto Firmino’s late equaliser saw Arsenal’s lead at the top of the Premier League cut to six points after an incident-packed encounter with Liverpool at Anfield.
The Gunners were in cruise control with a two-goal lead inside the first half-hour as they went in search for their first win at Liverpool since 2012, but were left bitterly disappointed as they paid the price for losing their discipline at times.
Gabriel Martinelli pounced on sloppy Liverpool defending to put Arsenal ahead after eight minutes then Gabriel Jesus rose unmarked between Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson to head home at the Kop End.
Liverpool sparked into life after a flashpoint between Granit Xhaka and Trent Alexander-Arnold late in the first half, Mohamed Salah scoring at the far post just before the break to set up a thriller.
There was a bizarre incident at the end of the first half when referee’s assistant Constantine Hatzidakis appeared to elbow Liverpool defender Robertson as the teams left the field.
In a dramatic second half, Salah missed his second successive penalty when he shot wide after Rob Holding fouled Diogo Jota before Firmino rose at the far post to head home Alexander-Arnold’s cross with three minutes left.
In a frantic climax, Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale – who had already saved crucially from Darwin Nunez – produced two incredible stops from Salah and and Ibrahima Konate as Mikel Arteta’s pace-setters had to settle for a point, with Liverpool fully deserving their share of the spoils for a stirring fightback.
Liverpool inspired by flashpoint
Liverpool had produced an insipid performance and were being outplayed until Xhaka unwisely chose to tangle with Alexander-Arnold, the incident injecting Jurgen Klopp’s side with the energy and inspiration they had been lacking – and crucially bringing the Anfield crowd into play.
Salah’s goal was the perfect invitation to mount a second-half siege in front of the Kop and it was one Liverpool accepted as they finally showed some of their true form.
Arsenal were penned back and it took an outstanding display of goalkeeping from Ramsdale to prevent a resurgent Liverpool from completing the perfect comeback.
While Liverpool’s attack looked more potent after the break, once again they looked so vulnerable at the back and both Arsenal goals were cheap.
In the final reckoning it is a result that suits neither side, reducing Liverpool’s chances of a top-four place even further and offering a boost to Arsenal’s title rivals Manchester City, who trailed by eight points at the start of the weekend but have now seen that gap come down by two points and still have a game in hand on the north Londoners.
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- 66Alexander-ArnoldBooked at 41mins
- 4van DijkBooked at 31mins
- 26RobertsonBooked at 45mins
- 3FabinhoBooked at 55minsSubstituted forFirminoat 78′minutes
- 17JonesSubstituted forThiago Alcántaraat 60′minutes
- 20JotaSubstituted forNúñezat 60′minutes
- 6Thiago Alcántara
- 1RamsdaleBooked at 53mins
- 4WhiteBooked at 23mins
- 35ZinchenkoSubstituted forTierneyat 88′minutes
- 8ØdegaardSubstituted forKiwiorat 80′minutes
- 34XhakaBooked at 41mins
- 7SakaBooked at 84mins
- 9Gabriel JesusSubstituted forTrossardat 80′minutes
- 10Smith Rowe
- 21Fábio Vieira
Match ends, Liverpool 2, Arsenal 2.
Second Half ends, Liverpool 2, Arsenal 2.
Foul by Mohamed Salah (Liverpool).
Kieran Tierney (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Ibrahima Konaté (Liverpool) with an attempt from very close range is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Darwin Núñez with a headed pass.
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Aaron Ramsdale.
Attempt saved. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Attempt missed. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) right footed shot from very close range is too high. Assisted by Andrew Robertson.
Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Thomas Partey (Arsenal).
Hand ball by Bukayo Saka (Arsenal).
Attempt missed. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Mohamed Salah.
Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Ibrahima Konaté.
Attempt missed. Kieran Tierney (Arsenal) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Gabriel Martinelli.
Foul by Andrew Robertson (Liverpool).
Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Arsenal. Kieran Tierney replaces Oleksandr Zinchenko.
Goal! Liverpool 2, Arsenal 2. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) header from the left side of the six yard box to the top left corner. Assisted by Trent Alexander-Arnold with a cross.
Foul by Darwin Núñez (Liverpool).
Ben White (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
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