The last time Arsenal were preparing for a Premier League trip to Anfield, manager Mikel Arteta took the unusual step of having “You’ll Never Walk Alone” blare out of speakers placed around the pitch while his players trained.
It didn’t do the trick. Ironically, it was Arteta who actually ignited the atmosphere during an angry confrontation with opposite number Jurgen Klopp on the touchline after taking exception to a Sadio Mane challenge on Takehiro Tomiyasu.
Mohamed Salah’s goal late in the first half and Roberto Firmino’s 87th minute header salvaged a 2-2 draw for Liverpool after Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus had put Arsenal 2-0 up inside the opening 28 minutes.
By failing to hold onto their lead, Arsenal emerged with one point to move six points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table.
“You also need your goalkeeper in title races you need magic moments from your keeper and Aaron was there for us, just like Alisson has been for Liverpool so many times.
“But we look at ourselves in mirror and could have done better with some big chances.
“We started well in the first few minutes of the second half but then lost control. It became a very transitional game, very chaotic. Liverpool could score three or four, but it is true we could have scored two or three, so maybe at the end the score is fair.”
“They are going to have moments. You need to deal with them and we did. Our goalkeeper had a big part in that.
“It was a super-intense game, we had to suffer and rely on big defensive moments. But when you look at what Liverpool have done to big teams, even this season, they are an exceptional team. When they raise their level to that, even the big teams can’t cope with them.
“We could taken three points, but we didn’t. We have to take the point and move on. We’ve been responding for 31 games. Every game is a test for us.”
“The crowd got going. The goal gave them some hope. At 2-0 we had the game in our hands. That was our chance to kill the game. Then we made a mistake. We had to show our resilience and our luck at times.”
Liverpool has endured a difficult season which seemed set to continue as Arsenal drew first blood after eight minutes, scoring almost at the first opportunity when Gabriel Martinelli threaded the ball through a flat-footed defense and into the net.
The Gunners continued to create space at will and it seemed only a matter of time before the elastic snapped once again.
And it did 20 minutes later as Martinelli escaped down the wing. His cross found Jesus in the box who headed the ball into the net and Arsenal took a 2-0 lead within the first half hour.
But Liverpool showed flickers of the team that came within inches of an unprecedented quadruple last season as Mo Salah finished off a move to pull a goal back just before halftime and resurrect his team’s hopes.
However, a clash between Xhaka and Alexander-Arnold lifted the Liverpool crowd and the hosts rallied to claw a goal back three minutes before half-time. Diogo Jota’s cross was deflected by Jordan Henderson into the path of Salah, who swept home and tipped the momentum of the game in the favour of Jurgen Klopp’s side.
“A bit typical for us this season. An open game, completely open, they score with the first situation and the second one,” Klopp said. “Our reaction was good.
“It was a spectacular game in the end. How we didn’t win it with those late chances I don’t know.”
Liverpool started the second half on the front foot and were handed a golden chance to level the score on 52 minutes when Rob Holding clumsily fouled Jota to earn the hosts a penalty. Salah, however, fired wide. It was the second successive penalty the Egypt forward has missed, following his blazed effort at Bournemouth in March.
Darwin Nunez wasted a great chance to equalise 10 minutes from time after he was set through on goal by Salah, but his tame effort was thwarted by Aaron Ramsdale.
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