Liverpool continues to push Manchester City for every inch of ground as the Premier League front runners remain neck and neck after the Reds secured a 2-0 win away at Arsenal in a difficult road win for Jürgen Klopp’s troops, which saw them bank their ninth win on the spin.
— Premier League (@premierleague) March 16, 2022
Goals from Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino were enough to seal all three points for Liverpool who are now just one point behind Manchester City as the race to the finish line continues to provide one twist after the next.
But it was nearly a poor result for the Reds in a first-half performance that saw Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal very much the better side going into the dressing room at the halftime interval and really should have banked a 1-0 lead if it was not for Martin Ødegaard scuffing a guilt-edged chance after Alisson committed a critical error at the back. Despite the loss, Arsenal remains the current favorite to finish fourth while Liverpool’s momentum could truly see them leapfrog City come May.
Arsenal Player Ratings
Aaron Ramsdale (6) | Perhaps not the best night for Ramsdale. His distribution was never in doubt but really should not have been beaten at his near post for the first goal.
Cedric Soares (6.5) | Sold throughout as the Portuguese full-back continues to put in one decent shift after the next as he deputizes for Takehiro Tomiyasu.
Ben White (6) | Nothing special from Ben White overall but he did not really put a foot wrong in any respect.
Gabriel (6) | Similar to White in overall performance level. Their partnership continues to blossom but Liverpool’s relative silence was down to team performance.
Kieran Tierney (6.5) | Did not offer much in the forward areas – and not shockingly given it’s against Liverpool – but he was stout on the defensive end.
Thomas Partey (7.5) | One of the better performers for the Gunners tonight as the Ghanaian star really has hit his stride in terms of central influence this season.
Granit Xhaka (6.5) | Okay if not underwhelming in certain phases. Did not do much more than what was probably required.
Bukayo Saka (6) | The English starlet had an uncharacteristically ineffectual performance that was not indicative of his influence across the season but hardly a problem area.
Martin Ødegaard (6) | Controlled proceedings as well as ever but it can probably be said that he was just missing that real creative spark. Should really have scored as well.
Gabriel Martinelli (7.5) | If any player deserved a goal tonight, it was Gabriel Martinelli. One of the best overall performers from either side; had Alexander-Arnold on toast.
Alexandre Lacazette (6) | Usually one of the unsung heroes for Arsenal, Lacazette had a better time of it in the first half but dropped off considerably after the break.
Emile Smith Rowe (subbed in on 67min: 6) | Pressed well from the front and tried to shake things up as best he could but was unable to add to his season’s contributions.
Nicolas Pépé (subbed in on 74min: 5) | Little influence in his cameo other than one or two moments where he had a few seconds on the ball to try to be lively.
Eddie Nketiah (subbed in on 80min: 5) | Came on with ten minutes left of normal time and did little else other than make up the numbers.
Liverpool Player Ratings
Alisson (7) | A massive blunter nearly gifted Arsenal a first-half lead but he made up for it immediately. Other than that, he was good, especially coming off his line.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (6) | Grew into proceedings in the second half as he got forward more, but his performance is marred by his struggles against Martinelli.
Joel Matip (7) | Remains an unsung hero for Liverpool since his arrival a few seasons ago. Still shows technical craft when getting forward. Was good overall.
Virgil van Dijk (7) | Strong at the back as ever and rarely ever makes the wrong decision whenever he is under pressure.
Andrew Robertson (8) | A very good all-around display from the Scottish left-back. Added an assist to highlight his performance.
Fabinho (6) | Struggled in the first half and can be held to account for quite a few odd decisions in both halves but overall he was okay.
Jordan Henderson (6.5) | Slightly underwhelming from the England man, particularly in the first half which trends with the rest of the overall team performance.
Thiago (8) | A very strong outing from the Spanish international. Controlled proceedings from the heart of midfield expertly while supplying a lovely through ball for Jota’s opener.
Sadio Mané (6) | A muted outing from the Senegalese star tonight. Nearly scored but was flagged for being offside but something was lacking from him on the whole.
Luis Díaz (6.5) | The Colombian star was lively and put himself about generally well in all phases of play but just did not have the additive impact seen from him previously.
Diogo Jota (7.5) | Bagged his 7th goal in as many appearances against Arsenal after beating Aaron Ramsdale low to at the near post. Was solid throughout as usual.
Roberto Firmino (subbed in on 56min: 7) | Took his goal quite well to double the lead for Liverpool after coming off the bench. Performed well in his cameo.
Mohamed Salad (subbed in on 56min: 6) | Another questionable outing off the bench for Salah. Tried to get involved and find some semblance of influence but was only okay.
Curtis Jones (subbed in on 89min: N/A) | Only had a few minutes after coming on in the 89th-minute and really had no time to get involved in any measure.
What they said
Klopp on Alexander-Arnold’s performance: “If anybody says that Trent cannot defend then they can come to me and I’ll knock them down. I cannot hear that anymore, I don’t know what more the boy has to do.”
Assessing the overall result: “Two top-class teams met each other, both with a football idea, both trying to be dominant in possession. If you don’t close the center properly the ball is in the last line. There were also four or five offside situations that weren’t whistled.”
Reflecting on Martinelli’s influence tonight: “Martinelli is such a talented boy. It’s really tricky, if anybody says Trent can’t defend, they should come to me I’ll knock them down.”
Arteta rates tonight’s performance: “I don’t think the result reflects the performance of the team. I think from box to box we were the better team. Unfortunately, games are won in the boxes and that was the critical difference to get something out of the game today.”
On Arsenal’s quick-turnaround against Villa: “Thank you so much to the Premier League, they have done that and then done it again before we play Chelsea and United. Thank you very much to the PL. It is not fair.”
Remains coy on the future of Lacazette: “With Alex, it’s very clear what he brings to the team. He’s shown it consistently since I’ve been here & what we have to resolve is the contractual timing, in the best possible way & when we all align on the same page.”
What you may have missed
In a highly influential performance on the left flank for Arsenal, Brazilian starlet Gabriel Martinelli was the bane of Trent Alexander-Arnold’s existence on the night, and his performance was perhaps highlighted best by this technical sequence below.
Stop that Martinelli. pic.twitter.com/1nVT1fbFFd
— Stop That Football (@stopthatfooty) March 16, 2022
The Premier League table as it stands
|6||West Ham United||29||14||6||9||48||36||12||48|
|13||Brighton & Hove Albion||28||7||12||9||26||34||-8||33|
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20:15, Wednesday 16 March 2022
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