Salah 9/10, Matip 8/10 as Liverpool dominate Arsenal, stay top
Liverpool continued their perfect start to the season, comprehensively beating Arsenal 3-1 to stay atop the Premier League. A first-half header from Joel Matip and a brace from Mohamed Salah after the break saw Jurgen Klopp's men take command, before Lucas Torreira bagged a late salvo for the Gunners.
Three games, three wins and nine goals. Jurgen Klopp's men have started the season in dream fashion, and after Man City's slip against Tottenham, Liverpool have turned up the heat early on the two-time defending champions.
Salah was at his very best in the second half -- Liverpool are an extremely tough proposition when they have their main man firing on all cylinders -- while another goal for Joel Matip is a bonus. Alongside Virgil van Dijk, now the Reds have two centre-backs that opposing teams need to worry about from set pieces.
Conceding late will leave a sour taste, and goalkeeper Adrian still awaits his first clean sheet. There were nervy moments in the first half -- Adrian's turnover and a poor Jordan Henderson touch to be specific -- but Liverpool were much improved in the second period.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Klopp has his team at the top of the table and, after winning the Champions League last season, Liverpool supporters can dream of a first league title since 1990. The players followed their manager's game plan to perfection and, against what looks to be a serious top-four contender, Liverpool were dominant.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Adrian, 6 -- One run and slide outside his area nearly ended in disaster but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's lob went wide. Adrian made some important saves, notably a good breakaway stop on Nicolas Pepe, but his play with his feet continues to worry, even if there was no repeat of his Southampton howler. He has done an admirable job, but Alisson's return cannot come soon enough.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 7 -- After bursting onto the scene last season with 12 Premier League assists, the 20-year-old picked up his second of this campaign with a beautiful inswinging corner for Matip's header. Is there a better set-piece taker in Europe than the 20-year-old?
DF Joel Matip, 8 -- The Cameroon international's dramatic turnaround at Anfield continues. Matip, who scored one goal in 31 games last season, netted his second in four games this campaign, following his equalizer in the Community Shield.
DF Virgil van Dijk, 7 -- Steady as always and a real leader at the back. Van Dijk had a comfortable day and although it was not his flashiest performance, dealt well with the threat of Arsenal's heralded front three.
DF Andy Robertson, 7 -- Always a threat in attack, Robertson has become one of Liverpool's most important players. He did not find any joy in terms of end product, but did a fine job going forward and in defence.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 7 -- All-action and all-energy is his trademark and Wijnaldum had the Liverpool team ticking from midfield. Moreover, at times he showcased some real moments of skill.
MF Jordan Henderson, 6 -- He was a driving force, but had to be bailed out by Adrian after a fluffed touch in the 34th minute and later missed a tackle on Torreira ahead of Arsenal's late consolation. Henderson must avoid those isolated mistakes if he wants to hold on to his starting place.
MF Fabinho, 7 -- Good in the advanced midfield role, Fabinho survived an early mistake and improved as the game wore on. He played the pass that led to Salah's second goal, although the Egyptian did most of the work, leaving Luiz in the dust.
FW Sadio Mane, 6 -- Mane has been in blistering form, but it did not seem to come off for him on Saturday, as he had attempts saved and blocked, while a wide-open header went sailing over the bar.
FW Roberto Firmino, 8 -- No goals or assists but the Brazilian striker was integral to Liverpool's success. He picked out Salah with a brilliant pass to draw the penalty for the second goal and Firmino did his usual work in terms of drawing attention and proving a threat.
FW Mohamed Salah, 9 -- Slotted his penalty with authority and then absolutely bamboozled Luiz for his second goal, losing the Brazilian defender with a quick turn before flying in from the right to expertly finish low into the far corner. Salah is back to his best in the early part of 2019-20. Is the Ballon d'Or in his future?
MF James Milner, 6 -- Came on for Wijnaldum and picked up where the Dutchman left off in terms of running. Never afraid of making a tackle, either.
MF Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, NR -- Came on for Mane and didn't do too much. It is just good to see him back on the pitch after his injury-ruined 2018-19.
MF Adam Lallana, NR -- Only on for four minutes, replacing Firmino.