For Liverpool, this was a declaration of intentions about being part of the championship race, beating Arsenal 5-1, getting two set piece goals from Martin Skrtel and later on demolishing the league leaders through counter attacks capped off by Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling twice.
Arsenal remain on top of the Premier League (for now), but it’s hard to imagine a champion that has conceded 11 goals from two of their top rivals through the first months of the season. All the talk about Arsenal’s defense, poise and quality advantage exploded in their face, as Liverpool were up 4-0 before 20 minutes were on the clock, as Arsenal showed the old and almost forgotten feebleness in set pieces before playing naively and reacting badly to the goals, allowing Liverpool to storm the field against the foolish high defensive line.
The match opened with Martin Sktrel goal from a Steven Gerrard free kick after less than a minute. These things happen, but you need to learn from them. Nine minutes later Gerrard delivered another corner kick, once again finding Skrtel wide open to give Liverpool a two goal lead. Arsenal had possession, but without any purpose, while their defense pushed more and more forward, which happens to be a fatal mistake against the very fast front Liverpool have.
The third goal came through a counter attack as Luis Suarez, who had the chance to score the goal of the season a bit earlier with a volley while turning around from more than 25-yards out hit the bar, found Raheem Sterling to beat the slow Arsenal defense and give Liverpool the third goal after 16 minutes. Just under four minutes later, it was Philippe Coutinho with the through ball that found Daniel Sturridge to make it a dreamy (or nightmarish) first 20 minutes, as the first half ended with a 4-0 lead.
Liverpool kept pushing forward and pressing, getting the fifth goal early on in the second half with Sterling scoring his second goal, this time reacting quickly to Szczesny’s save off of his own shot. From that moment Arsenal became the dominant side without forgetting about their fragility in the back four, and eventually got a goal back through a penalty kick by Mikel Arteta, but all of their shots on target came way past the moment when the match was decided.
Liverpool are still fourth, and might cement their holding of a top 4 spot if the results they need arrive. For Arsenal, this was a huge blow that might cost them the first place by the end of the day, and was the wrong kind of start to the toughest and most crucial 7 weeks of the season for them.