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As It Happened: Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal

Good afternoon and welcome to Nigerianeye's live text coverage of the Premier League clash between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield.

The hosts begin the day sitting six points clear at the top of the Premier League table, having won each of their eight league games since their last meeting with Arsenal at the beginning of November.

Arsenal, meanwhile, sit fifth at the halfway stage of the campaign but know that a victory on Merseyside would lift them into the top four until tomorrow at least.

Make sure you don't miss a moment of the action courtesy of our minute-by-minute updates below.

OFFICIAL LINE-UPS

LIVERPOOL: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Shaqiri, Firmino, Mane; Salah
LIVERPOOL SUBS: Mignolet, Clyne, Keita, Henderson, Sturridge, Lallana, Origi

ARSENAL: Leno; Lichtsteiner, Mustafi, Sokratis; Maitland-Niles, Torreira, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ramsey, Iwobi, Aubameyang
ARSENAL SUBS: Cech, Koscielny, Elneny, Guendouzi, Willock, Saka, Lacazette



















It is all over at Anfield as Liverpool run riot against Arsenal to bring 2018 to an end in style!
Liverpool actually fell behind to Ainsley Maitland-Niles's early opener, but they were ahead just four minutes after that courtesy of Roberto Firmino's quickfire brace. Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah then got in on the act before half time, and Firmino completed his hat-trick in the second half.

It is now nine Premier League wins on the bounce for Liverpool, and they sit nine points clear at the top of the table. Thanks for joining our live coverage of the match!


90+4 min LIVERPOOL 5-1 ARSENAL

90+2 min Salah bursts down the right and tries to squeeze his finish past Leno from a tight angle, but the keeper shovels the ball behind.

90+1 min There will be three minutes of added time at the end of this match.

89 min Alexander-Arnold tees up Henderson, but he curls his 25-yard effort wide when he should have done better.

87 min Liverpool have taken their foot off the pedal in this second half, but that is understandable considering they have Man City next week. It has been another statement of intent from the Reds, though.

85 min The ball drops to Henderson and he is lining up the volley for a long time, but he fires it well off target.

83 min LIVERPOOL SUB: The Anfield crowd is again on their feet - this time to serenade Robertson as he is replaced by Nathaniel Clyne.

81 min ARSENAL SUB: A third and final change for Arsenal as Kolasinac is replaced by Matteo Guendouzi.

80 min Just 10 minutes left in this match now and Arsenal will be desperate for the final whistle. This has been another match to forget at Anfield for the Gunners.

78 min LIVERPOOL SUB: Anfield rises as one to applaud Wijnaldum, who is replaced by Adam Lallana.

74 min Shaqiri tries his luck from range at the end of a really good move, but it is comfortable for Leno to collect.

73 min Better from Arsenal as Lacazette sends Iwobi down the left and his ball into the box is flicked towards goal by Ramsey. Alisson gathers it, but needs two bites at the cherry.

71 min ARSENAL SUB: Change for Arsenal here as Alexandre Lacazette replaces Aubameyang.

69 min Just 20 minutes remaining now, and there are still more goals in this one for Liverpool. Klopp may be beginning to think about Manchester City next Thursday, but this is a statement from the hosts.

65 min It's a hat-trick for Roberto Firmino as Liverpool make it five against Arsenal! The Brazilian sends Leno the wrong way from the spot!

65 min LIVERPOOL 5-1 ARSENAL (ROBERTO FIRMINO)

64 min Liverpool have a second penalty as Kolasinac barges into Lovren inside the area! Another clumsy challenge from an Arsenal defender.

63 min Lovely from Salah as he flicks the ball into the path of Fabinho brilliantly. Fabinho drills his effort towards the near post, but Leno is down smartly to make a good save.

62 min LIVERPOOL SUB: Klopp makes his first change of the game as Mane is replaced by Jordan Henderson.

61 min Almost a chance for Lovren to make it two goals in two as Shaqiri knocks a cross back into the middle, but the Croat misses his kick.

60 min Alexander-Arnold tries his luck from range, but his effort takes a deflection and goes behind for a corner.

58 min Liverpool began this second half really quickly, but they have just taken their foot off the pedal in the last five minutes or so, which has allowed Arsenal to grow back into the match.

56 min Firmino goes in search of his hat-trick with an effort from the edge of the box which Leno keeps out in rather unconvincing fashion.

54 min Arsenal are playing a lot better now, and they have the chance to pull a goal back here. Xhaka slides a lovely pass in to Ramsey, who chips an attempted finish over the keeper. It is going wide, but Aubameyang is there and somehow puts the ball over from pretty much underneath the crossbar. The offside flag spares his blushes, but the replay shows that it was a very close one.

53 min Kolasinac goes down in the area when expecting a challenge from Shaqiri, but there is no contact and he is fortunate to avoid a yellow card. He escapes again moments later after dragging Wijnaldum cynically to ground, which earns him a glare from Michael Oliver.

49 min Liverpool are in no need to let up here. Shaqiri plays the ball into the path of Salah, whose first touch just lets him down and allows Leno to collect it.

47 min Liverpool almost pick up exactly where they left off as Mane breaks into the box, but this time Sokratis gets his foot to the ball with his challenge inside the area.

46 min Arsenal get us back underway for the second half at Anfield, and unsurprisingly they have made a change at the break, with Laurent Koscielny replacing Mustafi.



Liverpool go into half time in complete control of this contest, racing into a 4-1 lead against Arsenal having actually gone behind early on.

Defensive mistakes have been the theme of that first half, but Liverpool have also produced a stunning performance to all but put this game to bed by the halfway stage. They are all set to go nine points clear at the top.



45+4 min LIVERPOOL 4-1 ARSENAL

45+2 min Liverpool make ir four before half time as Salah blasts his penalty straight down the middle. Leno got a hand to it, but there was just too much power behind the strike. That could be game over.

45+2 min LIVERPOOL 4-1 ARSENAL (MOHAMED SALAH, PENALTY)

34 min Xhaka goes into the book for a challenge and then risks further punishment by kicking the ball away, but the referee opts for leniency and chooses against showing him a quickfire second yellow.

32 min Liverpool have a third goal, and they make it looks so easy too!

Salah races on to a long, raking pass over the top and cushions a volley straight into the path of Mane, who is left with a simple finish from close range! Poor defending once again, but it was a lovely touch from Salah.

32 min LIVERPOOL 3-1 ARSENAL (SADIO MANE)

31 min Poor from Kolasinac as he tries to knock the ball back to Leno, but puts too much on it and concedes a cheap corner. There have been a few of those misplaced passes from Arsenal's defence today.

29 min This opening half an hour has flown by here. Liverpool responded so well to going behind - the mark of champions, dare I say - but Arsenal also shot themselves in the foot.

27 min The resulting free kick is whipped in brilliantly by Torreira and Mustafi gets his head to it, but the flag is up. It would have been a huge chance had it not been offside - and Alisson just reacted in time to turn it against the bar - but the linesman made the correct decision.

27 min Robertson goes into the book for a cynical tug back on Maitland-Niles.

25 min Things have just settled down a little after that frantic opening 20 minutes, but I would be surprised if we have seen the last of the goals here today.

23 min Mane skips past Lichtsteiner into the box and tries to go for goal, but the angle is against him and Leno makes a comfortable save.

22 min This game never disappoints, does it? It has been a breathless opening quarter to this match and we still have a long way to go here!

18 min Now Arsenal hit back and almost create a chance with Ramsey picking the ball up in the area, but Wijnaldum is there to make the challenge and the referee quickly waves away any claims of a penalty.

16 min Incredible scenes at Anfield as Firmino makes it two goals in less than two minutes!

The first saw him benefit from a huge stroke of luck, but this one is all about the Brazilian's skill. It is poor defending in the first place as Arsenal are caught in possession, and from there Firmino dribbles past two Arsenal defenders on the edge before slotting his finish past the keeper!

16 min LIVERPOOL 2-1 ARSENAL (ROBERTO FIRMINO)

14 min What a response from Liverpool! It is a messy, messy goal, but the hosts will not care one bit as they hit back immediately!

Salah looks to get a shot away from the edge of the area but Xhaka gets his foot in. Lichtsteiner then tries to flick it past Mustafi, but it hits his teammate, bounces past Leno and leaves Firmino with the easiest finish.

14 min LIVERPOOL 1-1 ARSENAL (ROBERTO FIRMINO)

13 min That is Maitland-Niles's first goal for Arsenal, and what a time - and place - to get it! Game on now!

11 min Now then! There is a turn-up for the books! Liverpool have started the match brightly, but they now find themselves behind at Anfield!

Lovren gives the ball away cheaply with an attempted long pass forward, and from there Arsenal attack straight at the Liverpool defence. Iwobi exchanges passes on his way down the left flank before putting a brilliant ball into the box which takes Alisson out of the game and leaves Maitland-Niles to knock it home at the back post.

11 min LIVERPOOL 0-1 ARSENAL (ASHLEY MAITLAND-NILES)

11 min A chance from the resulting corner as a short corner is then swung into the area. Mustafi slides in but sees it flash through, and the offside flag is then raised against Aubameyang.

10 min Arsenal hit back with their first sight of goal as Fabinho plays his side into big trouble. His pass across his own half is cut off by Iwobi, who advances into the box and draws a low stop from Alisson at the near post.

8 min Liverpool have been right up for this one from the very first whistle. They are playing quick, sharp football and Arsenal are struggling to match that pace in the opening exchanges.

6 min Another bright moment for Liverpool early on as Mane turns sharply and bursts forward before giving the ball to Firmino. Firmino drills an effort towards goal, but it hits Salah and flashes just wide of the near post.

4 min It looks like it is a back four for Arsenal, rather than a back three. Lichtsteiner is on the right and Kolasinac on the left, with Maitland-Niles a little further forward.

2 min Liverpool have made a really quick start to this match and Robertson fires a brilliant cross into the box from the left here. Mane is slightly on his heels, though, and it goes through to Leno.

1 min Here we go, then! We are underway at Anfield!

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