Liverpool FC put two goals past Arsenal FC Wednesday afternoon to draw within one point of league leaders Manchester City.
Diogo Jota opened the scoring in the 54th minute with a left-footed near-post finish, his seventh goal in seven games against Arsenal since joining Liverpool, and Roberto Firmino grabbed the second in the 62nd minute.
The result put an end to Arsenal’s six-game unbeaten streak in the English Premier League and cemented Liverpool as the hottest team in England.
Liverpool Challenges for the Title
Manchester City opened such a massive gap on the rest of the league at the start of the season that it seemed impossible for any team— Liverpool and Chelsea being the main contenders— to respond and mount a challenge for the title. Any thoughts following this line of logic have been entirely dispelled as the 2020 champions are just one point off of first place. The Reds also have a better goal differential than City, in the event of a tiebreaker.
Wednesday’s match against Arsenal was relatively even on the scoresheet; Liverpool slightly out-possessed Arsenal 51-49% and both teams registered nine shots, with Liverpool’s three on target outdoing Arsenal’s two.
Mohamed Salah got a much-needed break from the action and was able to come on as a substitute in the 56th minute in place of Luis Diaz. The Colombian winger has seamlessly fit in since he arrived from FC Porto in the January transfer window, taking the pressure off of the Sadio Mane-Salah-Jota trio and providing quality minutes on the left-wing.
Arsenal stuck with its usual 4-2-3-1 formation with Alexandre Lacazette, Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Ødegaard, and Bukayo Saka leading the attack, though they were mostly unable to get behind the Liverpool backline.
Forecasting the Finish
Both Liverpool and Manchester City only have nine games left in the Premier League this season, although both are still alive in the Champions League. Chelsea is in third place and is the closest challenger, though they are 11 points off the lead with a game in hand. The Blue does have a fairly easy close to their campaign, however.
Arsenal is in fourth place and is effectively out of the title race after today’s loss, dropping 19 points off of the top spot with two games in hand. This is still much better than where the Gunners were a couple of months ago and they seem to be a lock for the top four, barring any disastrous injuries or turns of form.
Man City and Liverpool will meet at Etihad Stadium on April 10 in what could be a title-deciding 90 minutes of action. City has games against Brighton & Hove Albion and Burnley in the Premier League and an FA Cup tie with Southampton prior to the heavyweight bout, while Liverpool has matches against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup and Watford in the Premier League.
If three points go either way on April 10, they will be the most important ones of the season and could determine the fate of the 2022 English Premier League title.