Roberto Firmino secured Liverpool a point as they shared six goals with Arsenal in a Christmas cracker at the Emirates Stadium.
The Reds looked on course for a fourth successive Premier League victory over the Gunners when Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah put them two goals ahead, only for the home side to respond and snatch the lead in a crazy five minute spell in the second half.
Arsenal were unable to hang on to the lead though, Firmino’s effort making sure the Merseysiders avoided defeat and stay in fourth, a place above Arsene Wenger’s men. Arsenal failed to show up in the first half and it looked like being an easy night for Liverpool, Firmino failing to convert Philippe Coutinho’s cross early on. The breakthrough for the Reds was inevitable and came about on 26 minutes with the home side caught out of position, the visitors working the ball to Mohamed Salah, the in-form Egyptian then finding Coutinho with his deflected cross and he was able to delicately head the ball over the on-rushing Petr Cech.
Firmino then went within a whisker of adding a second with a bending effort that flew narrowly over, while Salah had a brilliant opportunity to score just before half time after a slip by Laurent Koscielny, only for Cech to make the save, Sadio Mane missing the follow-up. Having let Arsenal off the hook once, there was no mistake from Salah seven minutes after the restart, the Premier League’s topscorer starting and finishing another Reds counter attack with a curling effort from the edge of the box.
The Reds appeared to be cruising to victory after doubling their lead but then came a crazy five-minute spell in which Arsenal turned the game on its head. Firstly Alexis Sanchez stole in at the far post to head home Hector Bellerin’s cross on 54 minutes. Grant Xhaka then brought the Gunners level two minutes later with a long-range, swearing effort that Simon Mignolet should have stopped, the ball flying over the Belgian’s head.
The comeback was complete on 58 minutes when Alexandre Lacazette’s back heel rolled in to the path of Mesut Ozil, who coolly dinked the ball over the on rushing Mignolet. With the Emirates rocking, Arsenal took control of the game and Lacazette should have scored the fourth when stabbing over Bellerin’s cross.
However, the game swung back in Liverpool’s favour on 71 minutes when Firmino was given too much space on the edge of the box, Cech failing to keep out the powerful strike.