Liverpool surged back to claim a point at home against league leaders Arsenal, pushing them towards a top-seven spot while hurting Arsenal’s chances of winning the league.

Gabriel Martinelli, Arsenal’s electric winger who has scored 13 Premier League goals and added three assists in 29 league goals, opened the scoring in the 8th minute.

Bukayo Saka started on an incisive dribble off a counter-attack before laying the ball off to Martin Ødegaard in search of a one-two.

The pass was deflected by Virgil Van Dijk right in to Martinelli, who dribbled and completed a tough finish.

The Gunners continued bombing Anfield with countless crosses, one of which resulted in another goal.

After getting on to a Granit Xhaka long ball, Martinelli took on Ibrahim Konate before swinging a perfect cross to Gabriel Jesus, fresh off a brace against Leeds. Jesus rose past Andrew Robertson and steered his header past a helpless Alisson.

Liverpool get lifeline before half time

The game was not finished for a Liverpool team that looked close to emulating the glory days it experienced years ago.

Mohamed Salah scored off a beautiful team goal that started with a Curtis Jones-sparked counter-attack. After Jones found Robertson on his overlapping run with a creative back-heel, Robertson completed a cut-back to Diogo Jota, who stabbed the ball to star forward Mohamed Salah at the back post.

Salah blasted his shot past Aaron Ramsdale to half Arsenal’s lead.

Even though the playing stopped, the drama still continued.

Assistant referee sparks controversy

Assistant referee Constantine Hatzidakis, who helped referee several key games this season like Arsenal’s 3-2 win over Bournemouth and West Ham’s 1-0 win against Southampton, elbowed Robertson in the jaw.

After Robertson angrily approached Hatzidakis, he elbowed him, sparking a mass argument with lead referee Paul Tierney in the center. Robertson was incensed, and it took more than one Liverpool player to stop what could have been a mass brawl.

PGMOL is aware of an incident involving assistant referee Constantine Hatzidakis and Liverpool defender Andrew Robertson at half-time during the Liverpool v Arsenal fixture at Anfield. We will review the matter in full once the game has concluded.

The PGMOL releases a statement on Hatzidakis’ elbow.

The second half saw a complete shift in momentum. Diogo Jota won Liverpool a penalty after Rob Holding brought him down from behind in the box, but Salah’s penalty went wide left, missing the post by an inch.

The miss is his second straight since he missed against Bournemouth. He has not scored a penalty since October 2022.

The penalty miss did not bring Liverpool down, and a barrage of attacks led to a Roberto Firmino goal in the 86th minute. Jordan Henderson found Trent Alexander-Arnold on an underlapping run, isolating Alexander-Arnold and an unlucky Oleksandr Zinchenko in a 1-on-1.

Alexander-Arnold easily beat Zinchenko before chipping a cross to Firmino, whose header left Ramsdale hopelessly diving into the net.

Liverpool were inches close to wrecking Arsenal’s title charge and getting the full three points. It took a big fingertip save from Aaron Ramsdale to stop Mohamed Salah’s curling shot to find the net, and Ibrahim Konaté was literal inches from scoring, but Ramsdale scrambled away his uncomfortable chested shot. By the game’s end, Ramsdale had four saves while facing 3.96 xG.

A very, very good game of football. I think both sides played great football at times. We never started the way we wanted to.

Going two behind at home is never good but we showed character, got into the game, obviously got the late equalizer, and a huge chance at the end to go and win it. We’ll take the point, but we knew it could have been three.

Alexander-Arnold after the game interviewed by Sky Sports

Super intense match. We started very well, scored the first and the second and that was the moment to kill the game. Before half time we gave them hope and they generated belief.

The second half was a very different story. We gave every ball away in dangerous areas and allowed dangerous results and big transition moments. Then you have to suffer.

We relied on big defensive moments where Aaron took a big part and they missed the penalty. We missed that ruthlessness to take the game. It’s probably a fair result. The big lesson is place the way we did in the first half.

Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta during the post-game press conference

Photo credit: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire