(CNN)It was the footballing equivalent of a flurry of debilitating body blows as Arsenal scored three goals in a whirlwind nine-minute period to help see off Champions League chasing rivals Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium Saturday.
In-form Arsenal thrash 10-man Liverpool in EPL
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Rapid-fire strikes from Hector Bellerin, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez sent the Gunners well on their way to a convincing victory before the first half was up.
And although Jordan Henderson pulled a goal back from the penalty spot late in the second period, Liverpool were reduced to 10-men when defender Emre Can was dismissed for a second bookable offense.
Arsenal added another goal through Olivier Giroud shortly after.
The 4-1 result moves Arsenal into second position ahead of Manchester City which doesn't play until Monday.
For Liverpool, it leaves qualification to the Champions League looking increasingly unlikely. With just seven games of the season remaining, The Reds could be as many as eight points behind fourth-placed Manchester United who occupy the final qualification spot by the end of Saturday.
"It was a game we needed to take something from," a philosophical Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers told BT Sport after the match. "Today is a big disappointment, but we didn't defend well enough in key moments of the game."
If only the buildup to this lunchtime fixture could have been assessed with such clarity. Much of the pre-match conversation had centered around Liverpool's young strike