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Liverpool Beat Arsenal In A Seven-goal Thriller At Emirates

Liverpool held on to beat Arsenal in a stunning Premier League opening-weekend encounter at Emirates Stadium.

Theo Walcott fired in the first goal for the Gunners in the 31st minute, moments after missing a penalty.

Philippe Coutinho equalised with a brilliant free-kick before Adam Lallana fired in after the break.

Coutinho poked in his second and Sadio Mane slammed home, before Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored a great solo goal and Calum Chambers headed in.

Brilliant goals light up brilliant encounter

Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho’s second goal followed a 19-pass move

It was billed as the best game of the Premier League opening weekend and more than lived up to expectations.

After quite a dour 30 minutes, Alberto Moreno’s second defensive mistake lit the flame for the encounter that followed.

It was the second half that will long live in the memory. Four of the five goals were exceptional.

There was Lallana’s chest control and strike followed by a 19-pass move finished off by Coutinho. Mane then capped off an impressive debut with a goal reminiscent of his strikes at Southampton – driving at the defence before a fierce finish.

And substitute Oxlade-Chamberlain then produced a delightful cameo when he dazzled the Liverpool backline and then slotted past Simon Mignolet.

Chambers’ header left Liverpool wondering whether a great win would become ‘what could have been’ – but they hung on.

Where does this leave Arsenal?

Arsene Wenger
A familiar sight – will Arsene Wenger bring in more defensive reinforcements before the transfer window shuts?

During the 2013-14 season, the Gunners capitulated horribly on three occasions in the league – conceding six against Manchester City and Chelsea and five against Liverpool.

Home fans watching must have thought it was a case of history repeating when, from 1-0 up in the first half through Walcott’s drilled effort, they were 4-1 down by the 63rd minute.

The difference between then and now is that Arsenal are a far more potent proposition in attack, which is why the Reds were left celebrating a narrow win rather than a mauling.

It is the issues at the back that appear to be a perennial problem. On Sunday they were without injured senior defenders Per Mertesacker and Gabriel, while Laurent Koscielny is still not match fit after his exploits at Euro 2016.

That meant manager Arsene Wenger was forced to play Rob Holding, 20, a £2m summer signing from Bolton, alongside Calum Chambers, 21, in central defence.

Their inexperience was brutally exposed by Liverpool’s attack in the second half. The question is whether Wenger dips into the transfer market or waits for his senior players to return. The fans will want the former.

Has time already run out for Moreno?

Theo Walcott and Alberto Moreno
Alberto Moreno (right) mistimed a tackle on Theo Walcott to earn Arsenal a penalty

The reaction on social media was damning and who knows what his manager Jurgen Klopp was thinking.

Liverpool’s full-back Moreno had a match to forget after twice making crucial mistakes. He should have been punished by Walcott for his first – a wild lunge on the England forward inside the area which resulted in the penalty. Simon Mignolet’s save bailed him out.

His second error was arguably more inexplicable when he allowed Walcott acres of space on the right of the box – before the England winger drilled his angled effort past the Belgian keeper.

Derided by his own fans last season, memorably for his performance in the Europa League final, the 24-year-old Spaniard’s display is surely now giving Klopp food for thought with the transfer window shutting in two weeks.

Man of the match – Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)

 Source: BBC

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