LONDON – Arsenal and Liverpool battled to a 3-3 draw on Friday as two of the Premier League’s most-potent offenses put on a show, though it was defensive lapses that proved decisive.
Neither side looked sharp during the opening minutes in front of nearly 60,000 at London’s Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners’ weakness in midfield invited Liverpool to try their luck on the counter and the approach paid off in the 26th minute, when Philippe Coutinho beat Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech with a header to make it 1-0.
Liverpool had chances to increase the lead before the half-time break, notably on a Sadio Mane scissor kick that ended up hitting the woodwork.
The second goal came seven minutes after the re-start, courtesy of a strike by Mo Salah that deflected off a defender and past Cech.
Seemingly in the driver’s seat with a 2-0 advantage, the visitors proceeded to concede three goals in five minutes.
The onslaught began within a minute of Salah’s goal, as Arsenal pulled one back on a ferocious header by Alexis Sanchez. Three minutes later, Granit Xhaka scored on a shot from 35 meters out that Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet should have stopped.
With the Emirates rocking, a give-and-go between Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Özil culminated with the German international’s slipping the ball past Mignolet to put Arsenal up 3-2.
Yet the tide turned again in the 71st minute, as the ball took a Liverpool bounce and landed in the net after Cech made the initial stop against Roberto Firmino.
Salah, who leads the Premier League with 15 goals, got a chance in the final minutes of regulation to give his team the win, but fired wide.
The draw leaves Liverpool in fourth place with 35 points, one more than fifth-place Arsenal.