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 and is experiencing its worst start of Klopp’s seven-year reign.
With Klopp’s men next playing Manchester City in the league, the deficit could be even bigger by next Sunday should the Merseysiders lose to Pep Guardiola’s men.
“This game (against Arsenal) is gone now, we cannot just accept a situation and say it’s just not happening or whatever, we’re not kids,” he told Sky Sports after the match.
“We did a lot of good things, scored two really nice goals and played really good stuff against the team in form in the league, because we are probably the team not in form in the league.”
Liverpool made the worst possible start, conceding in the first minute as Martinelli connected with a perfect pass from captain Martin Odegaard to 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 after a brilliant Arsenal counter-attack.
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.