Winners and Losers: Liverpool 5, Arsenal 1

Roberto Firmino 14′, 16′, 65′ (P); Sadio Mane 32′; Mohamed Salah 45+2′ // Ainsley Maitland-Niles 11′

Liverpool have gone NINE points clear at the top of the Premier League table in divine fashion this evening. The Reds beating Arsenal 5-1 at Anfield. Liverpool also now head into next week’s game against Manchester City with the knowledge of at least a 4 point buffer should the Reds lose that game. Here’s The Anfield Talk’s Anthony (@antstonelake) with the Winners and Losers from a tremendous win. 

Winner

Roberto Firmino

Before today, Roberto Firmino had not scored a league goal at Anfield this season. Then in the space of 90 seconds he had two.

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His first goal was a typical Bobby no-look and his second was one of the best we’ve scored this season. He weaved his way through the entirety of the Arsenal defence and sliced through their defence like a warm knife through butter.

His third came with Liverpool’s second penalty of the game, calmly put past Bernd Leno in the Arsenal goal.

This makes it eight goals in eight appearances against Arsenal for Roberto Firmino and 10 goal involvements in total.

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Many fans have thought the Brazilian off-form recently but he’s firmly put those doubts to bed with an exceptional performance tonight.

Loser

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Pre-game, there was a lot of talk of Auba’s pedigree as a striker and his history of scoring against Liverpool.

In short, none of that mattered.

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In the 71 minutes he played, before being replaced by Alexandre Lacazette, Aubameyang managed a total of 13 touches of the ball. 10 of those resulted in a pass. AND SIX OF THESE WERE KICK-OFFS.

He only had one shot, too, which was off-target. Because, obviously it was.

Winner

Gini Wijnaldum

Liverpool’s Dutch midfielder has fully developed into one of the most important pieces of the Liverpool system this season. Wijnaldum’s influence in the middle of the park doesn’t go unnoticed and if it wasn’t for Roberto Firmino’s hat-trick Gini would have definitely been man of the match tonight.

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Four completed dribbles and three successful tackles tell the story of the kind of game Gini had tonight. He. Was. Everywhere.

It’s been a crazy transition for Gini from his days scoring four goals in a 6-2 win over Norwich with Newcastle; to being a protective box-to-box player for Liverpool challenging for the Premier League title. You can’t give him enough plaudits for how well he’s done that.

Loser

Manchester City

Yeah, the club.

Liverpool are now 10 points ahead of the team that many see as still favourites for the Premier League title despite the Citizens losing their last two games.

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Even with Liverpool playing City next Thursday, City can’t overtake Liverpool for at least two weeks. Plus, that would require them to beat Liverpool and then Liverpool to drop four points in the two games following that.

Not really feasible for the side that’s faced every side in the Premier League this season without defeat.

Winner

Alisson Becker

Gutted that he conceded but in hindsight wasn’t his fault and he’ll probably be fuming at Dejan Lovren for being about a furlong out of position.

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Nonetheless, Alisson had a solid game in goal and his distribution was an absolute joy to watch, with a particular pass to Bobby Firmino towards the end of the first half one of the best goalkeeper passes in recent memory.

It was made all the more sweeter by the fact that the play started by Alisson led to Liverpool’s fourth goal. Alisson only had to make one sole save today and he also won an aerial battle. Alisson doing Alisson things, I guess.

Winnner

Liverpool.

We are 15 points better off than at this stage in 2013/14. Nine better off that in 2008/09. A full 21 points better off than the season that we won the treble in 2000/01.

This Liverpool side is undoubtedly the best in the Premier League era. It stands the best change of actually being able to win the Premier League.

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Undefeated after 20 games. Best goal difference in the League. Least League goals conceded in Europe’s top five leagues. Everything you read about this side is positive and unlike other seasons when we’ve gone close to the title we have strength in depth.

Six midfield players vying for three positions. The best goalkeeper in the league, the best defender in the World, what more can you want.

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