Liverpool came from behind to maintain a perfect start to their Premier League title defence as goals from Sadio Mane, Andy Robertson and Diogo Jota saw off a resilient Arsenal 3-1 at Anfield.
The Gunners had also won their opening two league games of the season and hit the champions on the counter-attack to take the lead through Alexandre Lacazette.
But while Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham and now Arsenal have all lost in the opening three weeks of the new campaign, Liverpool have taken maximum points to lay down an early marker that they remain the team to beat in the Premier League this season.
The outcome of the match could have been very different had Mane not escaped with just a yellow card for an elbow on Kieran Tierney after just three minutes.
Arsenal followed the game plan that had brought them two victories over Liverpool in recent months as they dropped deep then looked to play around the Reds’ press when in possession.
However, unlike when they met at the back end of last season’s Premier League when Jurgen Klopp’s men had already won the league or the Community Shield in August, Liverpool were far sharper in pulling the Gunners out of position.
Mane was first to threaten with a clean strike from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross that was too close to Bernd Leno before Alexander-Arnold’s deflected effort came back off the crossbar.
The only time Arsenal did manage to pierce the Liverpool press before half-time, they opened the scoring completely against the run of play.
Robertson was at fault as he spooned Ainsley Maitland-Niles’s cross into the path of Lacazette, who also failed to make a proper connection but the ball bounced into the ground and looped over the helpless Alisson Becker.
Liverpool responded immediately to level within three minutes as Salah outmuscled Tierney and when his shot was parried across goal by Leno, Mane turned into an empty net.
Robertson them made amends for his previous error as Liverpool’s flying full-backs combined as Alexander-Arnold’s cross was this time converted by the Scotland captain.
However, where Arsenal sides of recent years might have collapsed, as they did in losing 4-0 and 5-1 at Anfield in 2018 and 2019, Mikel Arteta has instilled a new-found belief in the FA Cup winners.
The visitors were more expansive after the break and created a huge chance to level when Dani Ceballos put Lacazette through on goal, but Alisson stood up well to block the French striker’s shot.
Klopp introduced Jota for his league debut 10 minutes from time and the Portuguese international should have sealed the win when he fired into the side-netting from Salah’s excellent through ball.
The Egyptian was less generous moments later when he stole the ball of Jota’s toes and failed to beat Leno.
But Jota did not have to wait long for his first Liverpool goal as a sweetly-struck volley found the bottom corner to show why the Reds spent £41 million ($52 million) to sign him from Wolves.
Salah: I’ll be at Liverpool next season for sure
Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah said he will be at Anfield next season “for sure” but would not be drawn over whether he will sign a new contract.
Salah’s deal ends in June 2023, leading to speculation he could be sold if he did not sign a new one as he would leave on a free in a year’s time.
“I just want to see Hendo [Jordan Henderson] with the trophy.”
“I am staying next season for sure.”
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Salah’s team-mate Sadio Mane said he would announce his decision on his own future after the final against Real Madrid in Paris.
The Senegal international, who has scored 120 goals in 268 games for the Reds, will also enter the last 12 months of his contract from June.
He told Sky Sports News: “This question [about my future] I will answer after Champions League. If I’m staying or not, I’m going to answer after [the] Champions League.”
“No, not at all,” he said. “What, if we win it they want to go? We are in talks with all the players, it is just not the moment to talk about the results of these talks. None of them are sitting there not knowing what we are planning.
“There is just not the time, we play every three days. The players have this idea, we have this idea, sometimes they match immediately, sometimes not and then we work together.
“We have known each other for ages.”
Salah joined from Roma in 2017 and has scored 156 goals in 253 games for Liverpool.
He has helped the club win the Premier League in 2019-20, the 2019 Champions League, the FA Cup and League Cup this season plus the FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup during his time at Anfield.
Falcons’ Nnadozie wins top French Women’s league award
Super Falcons goalkeeper, Chiamaka Nnadozie has been awarded with the Bruno Martini Award for Goalkeeping Revelation of the Season in French women’s football, reports soccernet.ng.
The French Association of Professional Football Goalkeeper Coaches awarded the Paris FC goalkeeper for her excellent performance in the league. She helped Paris FC finish third in the league, as the capital team also qualified for a place in next season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League.
The award is voted for by other goalkeepers, professional football goalkeeper coaches, and members of the goalkeeper coaches’ association.
Nnadozie was nominated alongside Stade de Reims goalkeeper, Emily Alvarado and Issy GPS goalkeeper, Colette Morche.
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The goalkeeper was elated with her recognition in the award given by the AEGB and thanked the association and her club for the laurel.
“I want to use this opportunity to say a big thank you to the AEGB Football Association France, for this great award. A special thanks to Paris FV, you guys made it possible.”
It was Nnadozie’s second nomination and she has now won one of them. She was also selected as one of the best five goalkeepers in the French Women’s league by UNFP, Ligue 1 organisers but missed out on the biggest prize.
Nnadozie has been invited to the Super Falcons ahead of the camping for the Women African Cup of Nations.
Asisat Oshoala also selected her as her favourite Super Falcons goalkeeper and described her as “a very good goalkeeper” in a FIFA Plus TV interview.
Breaking: Man City win EPL in dramatic comeback despite Liverpool beating Aston Villa 3-1
Manchester City on Sunday clinched their sixth English Premier League title coming back from 0-2 against Aston Villa to a surprising 3-2 win at the Etihad Stadium on the final day of the league.
The title chaser Liverpool although won their game against Wolves but it was not enough to lift the league trophy.
The City’s three goals came in five minutes to seal the title.
The win on Sunday sees Pep Guardiola’s Man City successfully defend their EPL title.
Matty Cash and Philipe Coutinho had given Aston Villa a 2-0 advantage before Man City scored three times in five minutes late in the second half.
A brace from Ilkay Gundogan, a substitute, and Rodi helped City snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and with it the EPL title.
A nervous Man City fell to Cash’s header in the 37th minute before Coutinho doubled Steven Gerard’s side’s lead in 69 minutes.
The introduction of Gundogan changed the dynamics of the encounter, with the German international heading into the net before Rodri drilled in the equalizer two minutes later.
Gundogan completed the comeback from Kevin de Bruyne’s cross to send the fans into frenzy mode as Guardiola’s side clinched the club’s fourth title in five years, punctured by the 2020 triumph of Liverpool, who finished second.
The final day final scores are:
Arsenal 5-1 Everton
Brentford 1-2 Leeds United
Brighton 3-1 West Ham
Burnley 1-2 Newcastle (Burnley are relegated)
Chelsea 2-1 Watford
Crystal Palace 1-0 Manchester United
Leicester City 4-1 Southampton
Liverpool 3-1 Wolves
Manchester City 3-2 Aston Villa
Norwich 0-5 Tottenham
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