It may just only be October, but it seems as if Liverpool’s English Premier League title challenge could be all but over even before Halloween after Jurgen Klopp’s men suffered a 3-2 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday.
A brace from Bukayo Saka and an early strike from Gabriel Martinelli secured victory for the Londoners, who move a point above Manchester City at the top of the table after nine games.
For Liverpool, this was another afternoon to forget for a side which challenged on all fronts last season. After eight games, the Reds are 10th in the league – 14 points behind the Gunners – after just two victories. The team is some way below the standards set in recent seasons.
With Klopp’s men next playing Manchester City, the deficit could be even bigger by next Sunday should the Merseysiders lose to Pep Guardiola’s men.
Liverpool made the worst possible start, conceding in the first minute as Martinelli put the Gunners ahead after 58 seconds.
Summer signing Darwin Nunez leveled in the 34th minute only for Saka to put the home team ahead once again with a strike just before the break.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, heavily criticized this season for his part in Liverpool’s poor start, will be criticized again for his role in Arsenal’s two opening goals and, perhaps tellingly, the right-back was substituted at half-time and replaced by Joe Gomez, usually a center back.
Arsenal, much improved this season, played brilliantly for vast periods of the match, illustrating why Mikel Arteta’s team tops the league.
Indeed, the home team could have scored more before Roberto Firmino equalized for the visitors in the 53rd minute.
With 15 minutes remaining, Arsenal was awarded a penalty and Saka beat Alisson from the spot to put the Gunners in the lead for the third time in the match.
Moments after a superb double save from Alisson, Reds midfielder Thiago clipped Gabriel Jesus which referee Michael Oliver deemed was a penalty.