LONDON: Arsenal heated up the battle for the English Premier League title when they buried the leaders Liverpool 3-1 to close the gap between the two to two points and jump to the second place early this morning.
Arsenal deserved the three points that allowed them to overcome Manchester City even though they did not expect to receive the help of Virgil van Dijk and Alisson who made a mistake and saw Gabriel Martinelli again put them in front in the 67th minute.
Substitute Leandro Trossard then eased any jitters among the Emirates fans when he sealed victory in stoppage time with a goal through Alisson’s crotch.
Bukayo Saka gave Arsenal the lead with a cool finish in the 14th minute but Gabriel’s own goal in first-half injury time halted their early toil.
On the brink of their second league defeat of the season, both in north London, Liverpool’s frustration was further accentuated when Ibrahima Konate was sent off in the dying minutes for a second yellow card following a foul on Kai Havertz.
Arsenal’s title challenge faltered at the start of the year but three straight wins have lifted them to second place with 49 points to Liverpool’s 51 with both teams having played 23 games.
Defending champions Manchester City, who play early tomorrow morning, have collected 46 points from 21 games.
“It was a bit disappointing to concede a goal after a very good first half but we know we played our best 45 minutes of the season,” said Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice.
“We were on top at Christmas and then had some bad results. Now we look to get this team back on track.”
“It was a difficult day,” Van Dijk said. “I take full responsibility for the 2-1 goal, it was the biggest turning point. It disappointed me and the whole team.”
Trossard’s goal, deflected off Van Dijk’s leg and through Alisson’s crotch, sparked a decision that cast doubt on the Merseyside club’s ability.