Liver­pool goal rush stuns Arse­nal

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

AN ex­cit­ing game saw the vis­i­tors come from be­hind to lead by three be­fore hav­ing to stave off a late fight­back from their hosts in a mem­o­rable en­counter

Liver­pool were forced to hold off a resur­gent Arse­nal as Jur­gen Klopp’s men clung on to be­gin their 2016-17 Premier League sea­son with an en­thralling 4-3 vic­tory at Emi­rates Sta­dium yes­ter­day.

In a re­mark­able en­counter, Liver­pool fell be­hind as Theo Wal­cott, who had missed a penalty a minute ear­lier, gave Arse­nal a de­served lead.

But Philippe Coutinho - scorer of a stunning winner at Stoke City on the open­ing week­end of last sea­son - re­peated the feat with an un­stop­pable free-kick in firsthalf stop­page time.

Buoyed by that equaliser, Liver­pool tore into their hosts af­ter the break and scored three times in the first 18 min­utes.

Adam Lal­lana put them ahead with a fine piece of con­trol and a fin­ish to match, be­fore Coutinho dou­bled his tally by ap­ply­ing the fin­ish­ing touch to Nathaniel Clyne’s de­liv­ery.

Along with Rag­nar Kla­van and Ge­orginio Wi­j­nal­dum, Sa­dio Mane was mak­ing his com­pet­i­tive Liver­pool bow and the Sene­galese marked the oc­ca­sion with a sen­sa­tional solo goal, fin­ished off with a rasp­ing drive into the top cor­ner.

The home side did pull one back al­most im­me­di­ately through sub­sti­tute Alex Oxlade-Cham­ber­lain - an­other vir­tu­oso ef­fort to ri­val that of Mane - be­fore Liver­pool saw Coutinho hob­ble from the field.

With 15 min­utes re­main­ing, Calum Cham­bers’ header set Liver­pool nerves jan­gling fur­ther, but Klopp’s men held on to get their cam­paign off to a vic­to­ri­ous, if not al­to­gether con­vinc­ing, start.

Arse­nal had the bet­ter of the open­ing ex­changes and a sharp sev­enth-minute com­bi­na­tion be­tween Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ram­sey cul­mi­nated in the lat­ter prod­ding straight into the arms of goal­keeper Si­mon Mig­no­let.

The Gun­ners were ahead in the 31st minute, but only af­ter Wal­cott had wasted a chance from the penalty spot.

Al­berto Moreno’s clumsy chal­lenge in­side the box brought down the Eng­land for­ward, who then saw his sub­se­quent kick saved by Mig­no­let div­ing to his right.

But the respite was brief for Liver­pool as Fran­cis Co­quelin won the ball back and, with Moreno caught up­field, Alex Iwobi played Wal­cott into the va­cated space and his low strike was unerring in creep­ing in­side the left-hand up­right. Liver­pool reached half-time level, how­ever. Arse­nal debu­tant Rob Hold­ing was ad­judged to have fouled Coutinho, who sent a stunning 30-yard free­kick be­yond Petr Cech into the top-left cor­ner.

And the vis­i­tors picked up where they left off at the start of the sec­ond half.

Liver­pool forged ahead when Coutinho fed Wi­j­nal­dum and his lofted pass across the area was chested down by Lal­lana, who thumped a con­vinc­ing fin­ish past Cech from a tight an­gle.

Seven min­utes later, a pe­riod of pa­tient pos­ses­sion ended in Clyne send­ing in a low cross for Coutinho to steer ex­pertly home with his left foot.

Things got even bet­ter for Liver­pool in the 63rd minute as Mane em­barked on an am­bi­tious run down the right be­fore wrig­gling be­tween Cham­bers and Na­cho Mon­real and fir­ing high into the net with his left foot.

Oxlade-Cham­ber­lain re­sponded in kind, burst­ing past Clyne and Jor­dan Hen­der­son be­fore his shot took a de­flec­tion off Dejan Lovren and de­ceived Mig­no­let, and the deficit was back to one when Cham­bers glanced in Santi Ca­zorla’s set-piece.

Arsene Wenger’s in­tro­duc­tion of new sign­ing Granit Xhaka at 4-2 down failed to have much of an im­pact, and Liver­pool with­stood late pres­sure to edge an early con­tender for game of the sea­son, spark­ing a cho­rus of boos around the Emi­rates. — Goal

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