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Arsenal 0-3 Liverpool: Jota double fires Reds back into top four race

D

iogo Jota’s double off the bench saw Liverpool catapult themselves back into the Champions League race with victory over a lacklustre Arsenal at the Emirates.

With Chelsea and Leicester having dropped points earlier in the day, the Reds took the opportunity to close the gap on the top four, Jota scoring either side of Mo Salah’s cool finish to earn a 3-0 win.

This was Mikel Arteta’s 50th Premier League fixture in charge of Arsenal and before the game he called for the Gunners to take the game to Liverpool, having won the corresponding fixture last year with a mixture of guile, guts and luck.

But Liverpool were on top from the get-go as the visitors showed their class – specifically in midfield where Thiago and Fabinho were at their best.

Arsenal sorely missed their injured quartet of David Luiz, Granit Xhaka, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe – who would have all been likely starters on what would prove to be a galling night for the FA Cup holders.

Liverpool FC via Getty Images

James Milner came into the Liverpool side and dragged an early shot wide, as did Fabinho.

Sadio Mane then saw a header saved before fit-again Roberto Firmino shot just off target, with the home side unable to keep hold of the ball for any meaningful length of time.

Milner should have scored when picked out free on the edge of the penalty area but sent his effort wide, while Arsenal’s evening was summed up when Kieran Tierney limped off injured just before the break.

The second half would begin in a similar vein with Liverpool again the dominant force. Arteta reacted by introducing Mohamed Elneny in place of the ineffectual Dani Ceballos.

But it would be Liverpool’s first alteration which would prove inspired as Jota replaced Andrew Robertson just after the hour and broke the deadlock with his first chance.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – who had been in the news since failing to make the cut for Gareth Southgate’s England squad – delivered a pinpoint cross that was headed home by Jota as the Reds finally made their dominance pay.


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