An incredible second-half spell from Liverpool saw Jurgen Klopp’s men run riot against Arsenal, claiming a 4-3 win in the penultimate game of the opening weekend of Premier League football.
Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane each scored in a 14-minute spell after half-time to give the visitors a seemingly unassailable lead, after Coutinho had earlier cancelled out Theo Walcott’s opener.
The lead did not put Jurgen Klopp’s men in control, though, as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain pulled one back for Arsenal minutes after Mane netted the Reds’ fourth, and Calum Chambers reduced the deficit to one with 15 minutes left.
However, Liverpool managed to hold out for the win, claiming all three points on the opening weekend after a truly marvellous game of football.
The match started at an incredible pace, with both teams going all out to attack and test the opposition goalkeeper.
Aaron Ramsey forced a save from Simon Mignolet at the near post, and although Liverpool’s first break ended with Roberto Firmino over-hitting a cross out of play, Sadio Mane followed that up by firing straight at Petr Cech from long range.
Firmino was having some joy against Arsenal’s inexperienced defensive partnership of Chambers and Rob Holding, with one pass across the face of goal just inches away from being tapped home for an opener.
But it was Arsenal who did take the lead, courtesy of a crazy 90-second spell from Walcott.
Firstly, he was taken down in the area by the incredibly poor Alberto Moreno to win a penalty, before stepping up to take the spot-kick himself.
The England international’s attempt was saved by Simon Mignolet, but less than two minutes later the ball was played through to Walcott on the right side of the area, and with Moreno way out of position, the 27-year-old had time to set himself and send the ball into the far corner of Mignolet’s goal.
The strike seemed to take a lot of fight out of Liverpool, and Arsenal settled down with some calm possession for the following stages. They were having a lot of joy down the right, with Moreno failing to recover from his minutes of madness, and Iwobi and Alexis Sanchez were causing chaos on the edge of the area.
They looked to be heading into the break with a comfortable one-goal lead, but a final Liverpool break ended with Holding pulling down Coutinho in a central position 30 yards from goal.
Unfazed by the distance, the Brazilian stepped up to the resultant free-kick and curled the ball past Cech’s outstretched hand into the top corner to tie the game with the last kick of the half.
And just four minutes after the restart, the visitors had taken the lead; a brilliant team move ending with Georginio Wijnaldum crossing the ball into the area for Lallana to convert past Cech.
The Reds were starting to dominate, and 12 minutes later the lead was extended.
Another glorious team move saw Nathaniel Clyne released down the right, and his low cross across the face of goal was finished first-time by Coutinho for his second of the game.
Cech saved from Coutinho just moments later to prevent the lead becoming even greater, after Firmino had embarrassed Chambers on the right side of the area, but the veteran keeper could do nothing to keep out Sadio Mane’s incredible strike to make it four.
As fans walked out of the Emirates, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain found himself on the left wing, and with no one in support took it upon himself to beat two defenders and make his way into the box, before beating Mignolet at his near post via a deflection off Dejan Lovren’s boot.
The hosts settled after reducing the deficit to two, and a free-kick from the left resulted in Chambers – who had been given the run around at the back – heading home Santi Cazorla’s set piece to ensure the Gunners had 15 minutes of the game left to restore parity.
Arsene Wenger’s men pressed for an equaliser – although Firmino came close to a fifth for Liverpool when his strike from the edge of the box struck the side netting – but the visitors managed to see out five minutes of injury time and pick up all three points in a thrilling Premier League clash.