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Published: 17:56 | 14/8/16

Liverpool beat Arsenal in Emirates thriller

Blitz from Merseysiders downs Gunners in Premier League clash

Liverpool defeated Arsenal 4-3 in a thrilling Premier League encounter at the Emirates Stadium.

A minute after missing a penalty kick, Theo Walcott drove a fine finish across Simon Mignolet to secure the lead for the hosts.

In first-half injury time, Philippe Coutinho equalised, curling in a magnificent free-kick strike from 30 yards.

Adam Lallana completed an impressive Liverpool move to send the visitors ahead in the fourth minute of the second period, before Coutinho netted from Nathaniel Clyne’s cross and Sadio Mane produced a superb solo effort.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s pulled one back with a deflected strike, prior to a headed goal from Calum Chambers.

However, Jurgen Klopp and his troops managed the final 15 minutes well to open their campaign with a victory.

For the Gunners, the defeat is a somewhat depressing beginning to a season in which they will see themselves as major contenders for the title, particularly with regard to a collapse that saw Arsene Wenger’s side concede four times between the 45th and 63rd minutes.

Arsenal had enjoyed the better of the first period, although Hector Bellerin had to stretch to prevent a dangerous Jordan Henderson cross from reaching the well-placed Roberto Firmino.

The Brazilian striker also saw a low drive importantly charged down by Chambers.

Walcott, though, was gifted a superb opportunity to grab the lead for the Gunners on the half-hour by being chopped down by Alberto Moreno, but Mignolet kept out the England attacker’s spot-kick.

Walcott made amends 68 seconds later, taking Alex Iwobi’s pass to drive an angled low strike through the legs of Ragnar Klavan and into the far corner.

Georginio Wijnaldum had a decent opportunity to level prior to the interval but the former Newcastle United midfielder’s effort was collected comfortably by Petr Cech.

The Czech goalkeeper, though, was given little chance on the stroke of half-time, as Coutinho rose from being dragged down to whip home a fabulous dead-ball strike from distance.

Liverpool hit the front when Coutinho flicked a pass into the path of Wijnaldum, who crossed for Lallana to chest the ball down and fire a finish across his body and through Cech.

Coutinho quickly doubled the Reds’ advantage from six yards, superbly guiding a volley past Cech from Nathaniel Clyne’s low cross.

Mane appeared to have wrapped up the three points by racing onto Henderson’s ball down the line, bamboozling the covering defenders and unleashing a rising drive to the net.

However, Arsenal were not finished. An equally fine dribble from Oxlade-Chamberlain, followed by a strike that deflected in off Wijnaldum, gave the Gunners hope.

Chambers glanced home an in-swinging free-kick from substitute Santi Cazorla to add further drama to the affair and bring the Gunners to within a goal.

The hosts, however, were unable to create opportunities to net a leveller in the quarter-hour that remained.

Klopp can be complimented for his side’s quick-fire attacking endeavour and calm management of the closing 15 minutes, but the ease with which Liverpool leaked chances over the course of the game will present a major concern, and potentially provide the German with further incentive to re-enter the transfer market.

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