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Liverpool vs. Arsenal score: Salah, Mane and Jota find the net as rampant Reds cruise to victory

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Another trip to Anfield, another brutal beatdown meted out on Arsenal by Liverpool, who got back to winning ways with a 4-0 win that kept them within four points of Premier League leaders Chelsea.

All three of Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah found the net for the hosts, with substitute Takumi Minamino adding a further goal for good measure, in a match that proved to Arsenal just how far they have to go to match the best sides in the Premier League. They had their moments early on, but ultimately Liverpool found higher gears to click into, seemingly spurred on by a touchline set to between managers Mikel Arteta and Jurgen Klopp.

Aaron Ramsdale kept Arsenal in the game with a series of impressive saves but it seemed inevitable the pressure Liverpool were applying would tell. It ultimately did when Trent Alexander-Arnold registered his 50th assist for the club, a brilliant free-kick flicked in by Mane.

Liverpool's press clicked into gear against a mentally and physically drained opponent in the second half, Arsenal making a string of basic errors that ended in Jota adding a second. From then on it was a matter of how many the hosts would get, Salah joining the party in the 73rd minute and Minamino soon after. It is now six straight league games between these two on this ground in which the visitors have conceded more than three goals. The Gunners cannot say that was not a fair result.

Midfield propels Liverpool to their rampant best

Though there were signs of life for Arsenal early on, more on them below, this game ended in familiarly dispiriting fashion. Their last six visits to Anfield have seen them let in 22 goals, plenty of which have been as woeful as the gifts that Nuno Tavares handed to Diogo Jota for Liverpool's second.

At that moment, the hosts sniffed blood. There was a relentlessness to their second half press, one that brought to mind the best performances Jurgen Klopp's side have delivered in recnet years. A 4-0 win was a fair reflection of the difference in quality between these two sides.

If the gulf between the two sides was most evident anywhere, it was in midfield. Albert Sambi Lokonga looked like what he was: a promising young midfielder who had never played against such intense opposition. Thomas Partey, meanwhile, seemed to be suffering the after effects of the injury that ruled him out of international duty with Ghana.

He could have been at the peak of his powers and he still would have struggled to get any real foothold in a midfield battle that was comprehensively won by Thiago and Fabinho. The latter was the ultimate roadblock when Arsenal threatened to counter, most notably with an assertive slide tackle on Aubameyang just when the Gunners looked to be breaking away before the half time whistle.

Thiago was almost as impressive at cutting out attacks, often getting nearer the source and picking up the ball on the edge of the Liverpool half. He passed the ball with that customary laser precision of his, completing 94.4 percent of passes in the first 75 minutes and his first passes in the final third. He created a few chances but really the Spaniard was more the mood setter for the home team, taking the air out of the game when Arsenal looked to build pressure but more often than not advancing the Reds swiftly up the pitch.

Once more it will be the free-scoring frontline who steal the headlines but they were able to shine thanks to the solid platform their midfield gave them.

Arsenal spur Liverpool on

Though it has been nine years since they won a Premier League match at Anfield, Arsenal did have a more recent example of top flight success against Liverpool. There was a remarkable smash and grab win in the summer of 2020 at the Emirates Stadium where the Gunners preyed on two mistakes at the back. Few could blame any side that opted for that approach against this free-scoring team, but instead Mikel Arteta set out his side in much the same way he had before the international break. The visitors were determined to play through pressure, to defend with a high line and look to win the game through the quality of their forwards, not blind luck.

Arsenal's commitment to doing things their way was not entirely without issue. Ben White was willing to dart upfield with the ball at his feet but he may not be sufficiently press resistant to beat Thiago. Similarly Gabriel was not always composed enough in possession to pick gaps in the Liverpool defense.

For the most part though there was a great deal to admire in Arsenal's willingness to play the more high risk approach, taking Liverpool on, looking to build their own passages of play. When it worked, it proved to be rather effective, not least a brilliant backheel by Emile Smith Rowe that unleashed an offside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to square for Alexandre Lacazette to put the ball into the net.

Arsenal would not go down without a fight. That was abundantly apparent when Arteta squared up to Klopp, the normally reserved Spaniard incandescent over what he perceived to be a raised arm aimed at Takehiro Tomiyasu.

It was the sort of attitude Arsenal supporters want from their team. Some of the football would fall into the same category. The issue was that it rather prompted Liverpool to raise their level to a standard their opponents simply cannot reach.

Alexander-Arnold's every pass fizzed with menace, Fabinho seemed to be in three places at once whilst Thiago delivered some of his best passages of play since moving to Merseyside. For all Aaron Ramsdale's outstanding work between the posts it was merely a matter of time before Liverpool's quality paid off as Mane headed home from a quite brilliant free kick from wide on the right. Arsenal had awoken the beast.

In the end Liverpool delivered at an intensity that Arsenal's young players – Albert Sambi Lokonga and Tavares in particular – could not deal with. The mistakes, particularly the latter's 'assist' for Jota, were extremely basic but they are the sort that young footballers make under this pressure. Best to get them out of the way today and learn from this tough reminder of the gulf between the best and the rest.

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