In the 16th minute of the match, Roberto Firmino danced past three Arsenal defenders to stroke it past Bernd Leno. That goal, it’s sheer beauty along with the cold finishing, is an accurate indicator of Liverpool in the 2018-19 Premier League season. Jurgen Klopp’s side look invincible at the moment, and courtesy a Firmino hat-trick ended 2018 on a high note, not losing a single Premier League game.
The hosts came into the match as favorites and it is no surprise that they were the victors. We ourselves had earmarked a win for Liverpool, but not the 5-1 scoreline.
Despite what the score says, Arsenal started the game out strong. They were the ones to open the scoring through Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the 11th minute. The Englishman did extremely well to divert Alex Iwobi’s cross past Alisson Becker.
For three minutes, Liverpool were trailing at Anfield for the first time in almost a year. Any minor fears, however, were put to rest by the scoring blitz that followed. Firmino scored his first one in the 11th minute after a botched clearance by the Gunners defense. He followed that up with a scintillating goal three minutes later, where he single-handedly waltzed past a meek Arsenal defense.
With only about half-an hour into the game, Liverpool scored their third of the night. Sadio Mane was the goal-scorer after he diverted Mohamed Salah’s expertly given single-touch pass. Salah himself got in on the scoring party at the stroke of half-time. After being fouled by Sokratis inside the box, the Egyptian promptly converted to give Liverpool and unassailable lead of 4-1 at half-time.
Arsenal, who’ve been the masters of the second half this season, were flat at Anfield. They put little to no fight and it looked like the players knew that the result was set in stone. To add to Unai Emery’s misery, Sokratis conceded another penalty in the 65th minute. Salah handed the responsibility to Firmino who duly converted and completed a terrific hat-trick.
This result, and Tottenham’s loss to Wolves, means that Liverpool are nine points clear at the top. That gap, however, can be reduced to seven if Manchester City defeat Southampton today. Arsenal, meanwhile, still remain on fifth with Manchester United breathing down their necks.