The first whistle of Arsenal’s season was to be blown at the Emirates as Klopp’s attack minded Liverpool came to town. Wijnaldum, Coutinho, Mane, Lallana and Firmino all started and were up against a weakened Arsenal defence. The defensive partnership of Chambers and Holding for the home side was to be severely tested, Elneny and Coquelin forming a mobile shield ahead of them whilst Granit Xhaka settled on the substitutes bench.
Both outfits started on the front foot, Arsenal progressing well down both flanks whilst Liverpool looked to exploit space left behind the Arsenal defence. Aaron Ramsey, playing in behind Sanchez, looked threatening in the opening stages as did Sadio Mane using his pace for the away side.
Pace was to be the problem as both sides pushed for the opener. Theo Walcott twice exposed the rashness of Alberto Moreno in quick succession. Scythed down by the Spaniard in the box, he stepped up to the spot himself. His weak penalty was saved by the palms of Mignolet but just 68 seconds later the outcome was to be different. The ball was won quickly in midfield before Iwobi slid in Walcott whose first touch set up the angle and whose second stroked the ball home to the far corner.
Liverpool tried immediately to up the pressure, dominating possession but struggling to create any real chances. Coquelin and Elneny stuck close to eachother, forming a tight unit with the two young central defenders. However, as two minutes added time was signalled, Rob Holding pulled down Coutinho just outside the area. A dangerous free kick, the talented Brazilian stepped up himself and hit the top corner with incredible technique. Just before the break Liverpool had found a response.
The confidence of the away side was on the up. The second half bringing with it a quick second goal for the visitors. Coutinho was found in space by Firmino, the Brazilian flicked the ball through to Wijnaldum whose dinked cross was chested down by Lallana who finished with control under the body of Cech. Klopp pumped his fists as Wenger was left shaking his head.
Liverpool were beginning to pile on the sort of pressure many expected them to in the first half. Their ambition became greater and passing more quick and precise. Space in the Arsenal half was getting exploited by the quick movement of Liverpool’s attacking players and it wasn’t long before another goal came their way. Clyne was set free down the right after more impressive link play and his drilled cross was superbly turned in for Coutinho’s second.
Defending all at sea and with confidence knocked Liverpool kept coming, looking potent at every turn. Both managers were left stunned, power and pace taking Mane past Monreal and Chambers before the ball hit the top corner of Cech’s net once again.
Arsenal fans had their heads slightly lifted as the fresh legged Chamberlain replicated the individual brilliance of Mane just moments later. A comeback was improbable but just ten minutes later a third goal arrived. Chamberlain was involved again, drawing a foul from Clyne. Cazorla had the responsibility of the set piece and his inswinging freekick was flicked on by Calum Chambers and evaded Mignolet’s reach.
The tempo of the game was unrelenting and home fans had some hope in their voices. The minutes kept ticking but Liverpool had no problems in keeping out Arsenal whose attacks had started to build. Injuries to Iwobi and Ramsey compounded a miserable opening day for Arsenal and as the final whistle blew it was met by a chorus of boos.