Premier League | Arsenal beats Liverpool 3-1 to light up title race

Hojlund stars in Manchester United’s 3-0 win over West Ham; Chelsea thrashed by Wolves

February 05, 2024 07:42 am | Updated 10:01 am IST

Leandro Trossard of Arsenal scores his team’s third goal between the legs of goalkeeper Alisson Becker during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at Emirates Stadium on February 4, 2024 in London, England.

Leandro Trossard of Arsenal scores his team’s third goal between the legs of goalkeeper Alisson Becker during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at Emirates Stadium on February 4, 2024 in London, England. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Premier League title race just got a lot tighter. Arsenal benefited from two second-half errors from Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker to claim a 3-1 victory over the league leaders on Sunday.

Arsenal moved up to second place and just two points behind Liverpool after 23 of 38 games in what might shape up to be a three-way fight for the title.

Manchester City is in third place, five points off Liverpool but with two games in hand, and the defending champions will likely be happy with the result at Emirates Stadium. City is away to Brentford on Monday.

Liverpool fell to only its second loss in the league, with the other also coming in north London — at Tottenham. If that defeat was in contentious circumstances, this one was of Liverpool's own making after being dominated for large parts of the game and because of the nature of Arsenal's crucial second goal in the 67th that made it 2-1.

Alisson, widely seen as the league's best goalkeeper, came out of his area in an attempt to clear a long pass forward but kicked fresh air and the ball hit the back of covering defender Virgil van Dijk. Gabriel Martinelli had the simple task of tapping the loose ball into an empty net.

The same Liverpool players had a role in a stoppage-time third, too, with Leandro Trossard's shot deflecting off the outstretched boot of Van Dijk and going through the legs of Alisson as he tried to make the save at his near post. Liverpool was down to 10 men at that point after Ibrahima Konate's sending off for two yellow cards.

Bukayo Saka gave Arsenal the lead in the 14th minute, only for Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes to score an own-goal when the ball struck his hand and flew into the net.

That pulled Liverpool level at halftime, despite the visitors not having a shot on goal in the first half in what was a below-par display overall by the leaders.

“It just shows the boys are human beings,” Klopp said. “Today we were really human.”

Arsenal is back in sight of the lead after a third straight win, which came after a run of three consecutive losses in all competitions that led to doubts over the title credentials of last season's runner-up.

“We were top at Christmas and then had a few sloppy results," Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice said. "We seem to have ourselves back on the right track.”

Hojlund’s streak

Rasmus Hojlund failed to find the net in his first 14 games in the Premier League for Manchester United. Now he cannot stop scoring.

The Denmark striker marked his 21st birthday by scoring for the fourth straight league game, setting United on its way to a 3-0 win against West Ham at Old Trafford.

Alejandro Garnacho, a 19-year-old winger, netted the other two goals in the second half — and celebrated the first of them by perching on an advertising board with Hojlund and 18-year-old midfielder Kobbie Mainoo. They are three young players around whom United is building its future.

“I think that picture covers the lot — how they are together and want to play football with adventure and enjoyment," United manager Erik ten Hag said. “If we keep this process going, I am sure we will achieve high levels.”

United's current level is sixth place, a point above West Ham in seventh and six points behind Tottenham in fifth.

Chelsea humbled by Wolves

The pressure is back on Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino after a second straight heavy loss in the league, this time 4-2 at home to Wolverhampton.

It came four days after a 4-1 hammering by Liverpool at Anfield and there were jeers around Stamford Bridge at the final whistle after a wild game, during which Brazil striker Matheus Cunha scored a hat trick for Wolves.

With his team languishing in 11th place, Pochettino accepted Chelsea's players “are not matching the history of the club.”

“Disappointed,” he said. “I apologize to the fans.”

Chelsea at least has an English League Cup final to look forward to this month, against Liverpool on Feb. 25.

Reyna’s debut for Forest

Gio Reyna made his debut for Nottingham Forest as a second-half substitute in the team’s 1-1 draw at Bournemouth.

The United States midfielder came on in the 78th minute, four days after signing from Borussia Dortmund on loan until the end of the season.

Forest had equalized by then, with Callum Hudson-Odoi’s curling 45th-minute strike canceling out the opener in the fifth minute from Justin Kluivert when he scored from close-range at a corner.

Philip Billing was sent off in the 84th for Bournemouth.

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