Liverpool came from two goals down to draw 2-2 against table-topping Arsenal at Anfield on Sunday in a thrilling contest that opens up the title race.
Mikel Arteta’s side made a pulsating start to the contest and took a deserved two-goal lead against a dishevelled-looking Liverpool back-line, but they were pegged back just before the half-time break by .
The Egyptian then missed a penalty at the start of the second half but the Merseysiders laid siege to Arsenal’s goal, eventually finding a late equaliser through substitute Roberto Firmino.
Liverpool had several more opportunities to claim all three points but were thwarted by the reflexes of Aaron Ramsdale, with Arsenal leaving Anfield with a point that maintains a six-point lead at the top of the table – though Manchester City have a game in hand.
The north Londoners opened the scoring through , with a slick attack started by seeing the ball played into the path of the Brazilian who poked it under compatriot Alisson.
Liverpool looked disorganised and chaotic at the back, with Trent Alexander-Arnold routinely leaving his right-back position and moving into midfield – a tactic which left acres of space for Arsenal down the left flank.
Just before the half-hour mark, the visitors doubled their lead by exploiting that very problem; a clipped pass down the line for Martinelli once again exposed Alexander-Arnold and the Brazilian crossed for Gabriel Jesus, who was completely unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box to head home.
At this point, Arsenal looked capable of racking up a cricket score due to Liverpool’s lacklustre defending and nervy build-up – which produced only groans of despair from a quiet Anfield rather than the vitriol and passion the stadium is known for.
But, shortly before the break, Granit Xhaka inadvertently lit the blue-touch paper after a tussle with Alexander-Arnold; unhappy that he had not been awarded a foul, the hot-heated Swiss midfielder threw out a elbow and then butted brows with the right-back.
Both players were shown yellows and suddenly Anfield was alive once again, with the volume levels going up even further when Mohamed Salah pulled a goal back in the 42nd minute.
A nice move saw Andy Robertson cross into the box for Jordan Henderson, whose skewed effort was put in at the back post by Salah. The hosts suddenly looked fired up and very nearly levelled in injury time, but Henderson blazed over after a scramble in the box.
There was then a bizarre incident as the players headed towards the tunnel at half-time, with by the linesman as he remonstrated with him.
Liverpool made an excellent start to the second half, now attacking the Kop end, and had Arsenal penned back inside their own box. The visitors were just showing a few signs of nervousness and that was evident in a clumsy challenge from Rob Holding which saw referee Paul Tierney point to the spot.
Every title challenge needs a little bit of luck and Arsenal got theirs when Salah stepped up and slotted his effort inches wide of the left post to spark jubilant scenes of celebration from Ramsdale and his defenders.
Despite the penalty miss, Liverpool remained in the ascendency and Salah forced Ramsdale into another good stop while the introductions of Thiago and Darwin Nunez only added to the home side’s supremacy.
Liverpool laid siege to the away goal at times, with Arsenal having to deal with countless crosses towards the back post and across the face of goal. Yet, they still retained a threat on the break and Martinelli continued to provide a dangerous out-ball down the left wing.
It still felt like there was another goal left in the contest and Darwin Nunez should have levelled the scores when played through one-on-one, but he struck his effort straight at Ramsdale. At the other end, Gabriel Magalhaes had a free header from a corner but nodded straight at Alisson.
Eventually Liverpool’s pressure won out, with Alexander-Arnold nutmegging Oleksandr Zinchenko on the by-line and then floating a perfect cross towards the back post where Firmino was on hand to head home.
Both sides pushed for a winning goal in a truly remarkable finale, with Salah volleying over from close range before Ramsdale then produced two magical saves.
The first saw him get fingertips onto a curling, deflected effort from Salah that looked destined to end up in the top corner, before he then denied Ibrahima Konate from impossibly close range when the centre-back looked certain to score. Those stops – and the point Arsenal came away with – could prove crucial come the end of the season.
, ., and .