Bukayo Saka's double earns Arsenal thrilling victory over Liverpool

Gunners back on top of the Premier League, while Jurgen Klopp's side struggle

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Bukayo Saka struck twice to send Arsenal back to the Premier League summit after a stunning 3-2 win over Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have had a disappointing start to the season by their recent high standards and lost further ground on the league leaders with the narrow – and slightly controversial – defeat at the Emirates Stadium.

Saka’s winner came from a penalty after the spot-kick was awarded following Thiago Alcantara’s challenge on Gabriel Jesus, which contained minimal contact, with VAR upholding the decision without sending Michael Oliver to have a second look at the foul.

Before the England international’s winner, Liverpool had come from behind twice, first through Darwin Nunez to cancel out Gabriel Martinelli’s first-minute opener.

Arsenal then re-took the lead just before the half-time whistle through Saka before substitute Roberto Firmino scored his sixth goal of the season to make it 2-2.

However, Liverpool were unable to come back again after Saka’s 76th-minute penalty and continued their erratic start to the Premier League season, with a third defeat in eight matches.

“In the past two or three years, Liverpool have been a team we have struggled against. To win in front of our fans is special and it shows how much we are progressing,” said Saka.

“It gives us more confidence because they are a fantastic team and we have a lot of respect for them. I feel like we deserved to lead at half-time so to get that goal was crucial. I want to score more now.”

Martinelli added: “It means a lot for us. We have been working hard and we deserve the win and we need to keep going because the season is long and we want to achieve good things. We are running for each other and we are a family, everyone is on their toes.

“It doesn't matter your age, it's your heart and how much you want to achieve in football and life. That is the most important thing. We need to believe and go game by game trying to win all of them.”

The Gunners took the lead with their first attack of the game inside the first minute, as Liverpool were caught out from a clever move from Martin Odegaard.

The Gunners captain picked out Martinelli, with Liverpool’s defence caught out of position to allow the hosts’ forward to get behind the lines. The Brazilian made no mistake in slotting the ball past Alisson Becker and the goal was allowed to stand after a brief VAR check for offside.

Liverpool had been pushing for the equaliser before it came through Nunez in the 34th minute – the Uruguayan’s first goal for the club since the opening day against Fulham.

Luis Diaz ran down the right wing, beating the Arsenal defender, before crossing the ball for Liverpool’s summer signing who slotted the ball past Aaron Ramsdale.

At the start of the second half, Alisson had to make a stop to deny Odegaard from the centre of the box, but it was a less frantic start than the first.

Firmino levelled the score for Liverpool in the 53rd minute with a well-struck shot past Ramsdale into the corner of the net.

In a clever move from the visitors, Diogo Jota picked out the first-half substitute, who calmly found the back of the net after running in completely unchecked behind Gabriel.

After the equaliser, Arsenal piled on the pressure again and Kostas Tsimikas had to be alert to hook the ball away to prevent it reaching the waiting Odegaard on the line.

Liverpool had been consistently scrambling to clear their lines when Arsenal were awarded a penalty for a foul on Jesus by Thiago.

The decision was referred to VAR but it was upheld despite minimal contact. The spot-kick itself was delayed due to an altercation between a number of players, with Granit Xhaka in the thick of it.

Saka fired the ball past Alisson to restore the home side’s lead, and Liverpool were unable to level the score for a third time.

“Couple of things went against us but we are not blind, we see we could have done better in moments,” said Klopp after the game. “In general it was a good away game against a good side. We caused them a lot of problems but stand here with no points.”

Updated: October 09, 2022, 6:06 PM
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