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Mohamed Salah Electric as Liverpool Cruise Past Arsenal

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIAugust 24, 2019

Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring their second goal from the penalty spot during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on August 24, 2019. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /         (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
BEN STANSALL/Getty Images

Liverpool handed Arsenal their first Premier League defeat of the season at Anfield on Saturday thanks to a header from Joel Matip and a Mohamed Salah brace.

The Reds took the lead four minutes before half-time when defender Matip rose highest at a corner to power a header past goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

Salah doubled the Reds' lead at the start of the second half. The Egypt international smashed home a spot-kick after David Luiz pulled him back in the penalty area.

The Liverpool forward then added the third goal in some style on the hour mark. He raced down the right flank before cutting inside and beating Leno.

Arsenal did pull a goal back late on through substitute Lucas Torreira, but it was to prove only a consolation for the Gunners, who were second-best throughout the 90 minutes.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery handed summer signing Nicolas Pepe his full debut against Liverpool, leaving Alexandre Lacazette on the bench at Anfield.

Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp made two changes to the team that beat Southampton. Fabinho and Jordan Henderson came in for James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Goal's Neil Jones shared the two teams:

Neil Jones @neiljonesgoal

Teamsheet. Lacazette on bench for Arsenal. #LFC https://t.co/FoaIzx00LY

Liverpool came flying out of the blocks and went close to an opener in the early minutes. Roberto Firmino was inches away from connecting with Andy Robertson's low cross at the far post.

Yet Arsenal managed to weather the early storm and ought to have gone ahead through Pepe. The 24-year-old pounced on a mistake by Jordan Henderson to race clear but could only fire a weak effort at Adrian.

Pepe had already made his mark on the match by flying past Virgil van Dijk:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Nicolas Pépé is the first player to successfully dribble past Virgil van Dijk in the Premier League since Mikel Merino did so in March 2018. 50-game streak ended. https://t.co/QqAx93dDBK

Yet Liverpool remained the dominant team and took the lead on 41 minutes. Trent Alexander-Arnold sent in a corner for Matip to thunder home, as shown by Sky Sports Premier League (UK only):

Sky Sports Premier League @SkySportsPL

What a header! 💥 Joel Matip rises highest to smash home Alexander-Arnold's delivery at Anfield! 🎯 📺 Watch on Sky Sports Premier League 📱 Follow #LIVARS here: 📲 Download the @SkySports app! https://t.co/NpvgYBYviT

The hosts doubled their lead at the start of the second half. Luiz was penalised for a tug on Salah's shirt and the Egypt international blasted the spot-kick into the top corner.

Sports reporter Simon Collings was critical of the Brazilian:

Simon Collings @sr_collings

How does David Luiz think - in the age of VAR - he is ever getting away with that?

Salah put the game out of Arsenal's reach after 59 minutes. The Liverpool forward beat both Luiz and Nacho Monreal down the right, before cutting inside and slotting the ball home.

ESPN highlighted his goalscoring record against the Gunners:

ESPN FC @ESPNFC

Mohamed Salah the goal machine. https://t.co/LnCNE7MTzd

Liverpool cruised through the rest of the game but were penalised for some sloppy play on 84 minutes when Torreira pulled one back. The midfielder slotted home from inside the penalty area after good work from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Yet that was the highlight for Arsenal, who were comprehensively beaten at Anfield by a Liverpool team in ominous form in the early weeks of the season.

      

What's Next?

Liverpool's next Premier League fixture is against Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday, August 31. Arsenal are back in action a day later in the north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium.