Sports - Football - Premier League - Liverpool 5:1 Arsenal
Liverpool thrashed Arsenal 5-1 in an unforgettable lunch-time clash at Anfield. Brendan Rodgers' men came into the match all guns blazing, stunning the Gunners with four goals in the opening 20 minutes.
Martin Skrtel opened the scoring after just 51 seconds, whipping in Steven Gerrard's free kick, totally unmarked inside the six-yard box, sending the ball past a helpless Wojciech Szczesny with his knee.
And the Slovakian defender double the score under nine minutes later, heading the skipper's corner into the top corner over the jumping Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the line.
The Reds looked dangerous every time they went forward, especially on the wings, and should have been 3-0 up on 12 minutes when Daniel Sturridge chipped a golden chance wide after Luis Suarez sent him clear on goal.
The Uruguayan forward saw his shot smack off the post seconds later for Kolo Toure to stab the rebound wide.
But moments later, Liverpool's top scorer picked out Raheem Sterling with a perfect pass to give the young winger a simple finish at the far post to make it 3-0.
And three minutes later, Philippe Coutinho found Sturridge with a perfect cross behind Laurent Koscielny for the striker to slot it home nice and easy to make it 4-0.
Arsene Wenger's men were beaten after 20 minutes, enjoyed more possession in the second half, but fired nothing but blanks.
Liverpool made it five on 52 minutes when Sterling broke clear on goal and netted the rebound after Szczesny saved his initial effort.
Arsenal did get a consolation goal, much to the amusement of the traveling fans, after winning a penalty when Gerrard brought down Oxlade-Chamberlain in the box. Mikel Arteta converted the kick and pulled a late - and only - save out of Simon Mignolet.
But it was too little, too late, and did not mask the embarrassment and one clear thing: this was Liverpool's day and the result smashed the Premier League title race all open again!
Liverpool Goals: 1.& 2.: 0:51 & 9:28min Martin Skrtel (37), 3.: 16:00min Raheem Sterling (31), 4.: 19:17min Daniel Sturridge (15), 5.: 51:07min Raheem Sterling (31).
Arsenal Goals: 1.: 68:25min Mikel Arteta (8) penalty.
Liverpool Team: 22 Mignolet; 20 Cissokho, 4 Toure, 37 Skrtel, 38 Flanagan; 10 Coutinho, 8 Gerrard, 14 Henderson (booked 47.min); 31 Sterling, 15 Sturridge (24 Allen- 66.min), 7 Suarez (9 Aspas- 86.min). 4-3-3
Subs not used: 1 Jones, 6 Luis Alberto, 12 Moses, 34 Kelly.
Arsenal Team: 1 Szczesny; 17 Monreal (28 Gibbs- 61.min), 6 Koscielny, 4 Mertesacker, 3 Sagna; 10 Wilshere (booked 59.min), 8 Arteta; 19 Cazorla, 11 Özil (7 Rosicky- 61.min), 15 Oxlade-Chamberlain; 12 Giroud (booked 47.min) (9 Podolski- 60.min). 4-2-3-1
Subs not used: 21 Fabianski, 23 Bendtner, 25 Jenkinson, 44 Gnabry.
Opta Match Stats: Liverpool-Arsenal
On target: 12-6
From outside the box: 7-7
From inside the box: 15-4
Shot accuracy: 57.1%-85.7%
Duels won: 53.8%-46.2%
Aerials won: 41.7%-58.3%
Total passes: 373-497
Long passes: 15.5%-7%
Passing accuracy: 78.8%-87.1%
Passing accuracy oppositional half: 63.8%-79.8%
Total crosses: 16-20
Successful crosses: 31.3%-20%
(Defence & Discipline)
Tackles won: 85.7%-75%
Fouls conceded: 14-14
Yellow cards: 1-2
Red cards: 0-0
Referee: Michael Oliver
Man of the match: Raheem Sterlinghttp