Liverpool were fantastic; Arsenal fantastical, an embarrassing shambles; a pale, grotesque shadow of the side they should be. They were swept aside by Liverpool’s attacking power and pace but added to their downfall with their own lack of organisation and determination. Once behind, it was over.
A Liverpool win, given the recent history of this fixture, was predictable enough and the manner of it was also wholly familiar. They were too quick and aggressive and incisive for Arsenal to cope and therefore laid down their own marker as to what this season could hold. On this evidence there is only one side who could possibly be considered as potential title – or even top four – contenders. “We’re going to win the league,” sarcastically sang the Arsenal fans followed by “we are staying up”. it was that painful.
First-half goals by Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane ended it. A third from Mohamed Salah meant Liverpool turbo-charged front three all scored and there could have been double that for them while substitute Daniel Sturridge – being kept out of the side by that trio – added another.
It quickly became a case of Petr Cech against Liverpool and the goalkeeper, with so little protection, could not hold out. He produced one world-class save before Liverpool scored as he scrambled across goal to block Salah’s point blank shot after the winger met Emre Can’s inviting cross but it was a turkey shoot.
Goals came. On 17 minutes there was no pressure on the ball from Arsenal as Can found Joe Gomez, who had stayed onside, out on the right and he delivered his cross into the Arsenal six-yard area and between Rob Holding and Laurent Koscielny for Firmino to run through and steer his header past Cech who got fingers to it but could not keep it out. That was poor defending.