85 min: Liverpool substitution Thiago Alcantara replaces Joe Gomez, which means Luis Diaz becomes Liverpool’s fourth right-back of the week. They’ve missed Conor Bradley today.
84 min Kiwior heads straight at Alisson after a superb pass/cross from Odegaard on the edge of the area. “What’s he doing there?” says Gary Neville. Moments later Nunez beats Havertz on the right side of the area but lashes an absurd shot into orbit. The angle was prohibitively tight and he had support in the middle.
83 min Here’s Gabriel Martinelli’s goal, although with the greatest respect to Peter Drury, a better soundtrack would be the Curb Your Enthuasism theme.
81 min Mac Allister’s cross is too close to Raya, far too close.
80 min Arsenal have kept Nunez extremely quiet so far. In fact they’ve been more comfortable defensively since Jurgen Klopp made that triple change in the 58th minute.
78 min: Arsenal substitution Reiss Nelson comes on for a limping Bukayo Saka. It looks precautionary, or just fatigue, rather than anything serious.
77 min: Just wide from Mac Allister! A Liverpool corner is headed up in the air towards Mac Allister on the edge of the D. He throttles a volley that goes through a crowd and almost sneaks in the corner. Instead it rolls just wide.
76 min “At the risk of this becoming a music rather than football blog,” says Richard Hirst, “may I point out that Deep Purple in Rock wasn’t released until 1970, so Dean Kinsella must have time travelled.”
So we’re into psychedelia now?
75 min: Arsenal substitution Leandro Trossard replaces an aggrieved Gabriel Martinelli, who had a fine game even before he scored Arsenal’s second.
74 min Arsenal are sitting deep, trying to limit the space for players like Nunez to run into. This might be a job for Thiago Alcantara and his eye-of-the-needle passes.
73 min “Like the venerable Simon McMahon, I’ve also just recovered from the rugby yesterday,” writes Matt Dony. “But I would suggest we had different experiences. Still, everything’s rosier today. I mean, it’s not like one of Liverpool’s finest-ever defenders and a truly world-class goalkeeper will combine to give up a ridiculous goal, is it? Oh.”
73 min If it stays like this Arsenal will be two points behind Liverpool, whose only league defeats this season will have been in north London.
72 min “Dare I counter Dean Kinsella?” says Joe Pearson. “There wasn’t a heavy metal genre in 1968, because Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, and Led Zeppelin had yet to create it.”
How many times: they were not on Sarah Records.
70 min Kiwior is booked for a foul on Jota.
Gabriel, deep in his own half, pumped a long angled pass towards the edge of the Liverpool area. It bounced awkwardly between Van Dijk and the outrushing Alisson, with Martinelli sniffing, but nobody could have foreseen what happened next.
Van Dijk, off balance after a slight but almost certainly legal shove from Martinelli, missed the ball, and then Alisson ran straight past it on the edge of the area. That gave Martinelli an open goal, a gift he accepted with joyous disbelief.
Gabriel Martinelli, who scored the winner against Manchester City earlier in the season, has put Arsenal ahead after a bizarre error from Alisson!
64 min Havertz makes a great run into space down the left, moves into the area and goes down after a tangle of legs with Mac Allister. Anthony Taylor says no penalty and the VAR team agree.
As Gary Neville says on Sky, Havertz’s loose touch allowed Mac Allister to get between him and the ball. Havertz does so many impressive things, but he’s not a killer.
62 min “Sorry, gotta take issue with Deep Purple’s categorisation,” says Dean Kinsella. “Back in the day they were labelled as a ‘hard-rock’ band. Not sure heavy metal even existed as a genre in ‘68 (when I first bought a copy of their fantastic ‘Deep Purple in Rock’ album). The clue is in the name of the album. Oh no! Am I a nerd now?”
By the end of this game somebody will be claiming they were on Sarah Records.
61 min A corner is headed over by Havertz; at the other end, Diaz sweeps a shot straight at Raya from 15 yards. Both were very difficult chances.
59 min “Thanks for your half time mention of le grand carré’ midfield of the French team in the 1980s,” says Richard Hirst. “I loved it then (France v Brazil 1986, one of the great games), knowing and loving it does wonders for you when you live in France, and under Jean Tigana, Fulham played their most attractive football. Reasons to be cheerful, one, two, three.”
58 min: Triple substitution for Liverpool Andy Robertson, Harvey Elliott and Darwin Nunez come on for Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ryan Gravenberch and Cody Gakpo. That means Joe Gomez will move across to right-back. I guess Alexander-Arnold isn’t yet fit enough to play a full 90 minutes.
57 min Gakpo spins behind Gabriel, who puts an arm across his face and is booked.
56 min Odegaard’s free-kick is headed wide from 10 yards by Gabriel, a tricky but far from impossible chance.
55 min Konate is booked for pulling down Havertz, who has been a pain in Liverpool’s hindquarters.
55 min Liverpool have been so much better since half-time – more intense but also calmer on the ball. Arsenal may regret not putting them away in the first half.
54 min Joe Pearson is about to get his wish: the Chaos Kids are preparing to come on.
52 min Arsenal have a good spell of possession, culminating in a shot from the edge of the area by Odegaard that hits Konate and spins behind for a corner. Odegaard has taken up some lovely positions today.
51 min “Let’s bring Robertson in,” says Joe Pearson. “Move Gomez to the right. TAA to midfield. Add Elliott as well. Take out Jones and Gravenberch. Maybe switch Nunez for Gakpo. Let’s have a little chaos!”
50 min “Afternoon Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “I’ve just about recovered from the rugby in Cardiff yesterday, and the perpetual drama that is the England men’s Test cricket team in India earlier. And talking of drama, and close finishes, the Scottish Premier League season 1982-83 ended with three teams – Aberdeen, Celtic and Dundee United – competing for the title on the final day.
“United held on at Dens for their first, and to date, only league title by a point. Though if they’d conceded an equaliser, all three teams would have finished on the same points, and a play-off would have been required between United and Celtic, as their points, goal difference and goals scored would have been identical. Can you imagine? Klopp’s last game, a playoff against City to decide the title…”
With Darren England on VAR.
(Also, imagine scoring a goal like this, against your biggest rivals, on the day your team won their only league title.)
48 min Now Curtis Jones cuts into the area from the left and whips a fine shot that curls just wide of the far post. The game has changed.
47 min Jones sprays a nice crossfield pass to find the unmarked Diaz on the left. His early cross bounces behind both Jota and Gravenberch, but this has been a terrific start from Liverpool
46 min Peep peep! Arsenal begin the second half … and Liverpool threaten twice in the first 30 seconds. Diaz has a shot blocked by White and Mac Allister booms a 30-yarder wide. Those two efforts suggest that Jurgen Klopp may or may have raised his voice at half-time.
Arsenal half-time subsitution Jakub Kiwior for Oleksandr Zinchenko. Interesting, very interesting.
In all the excitement I missed that Arsenal are basically playing with a box midfield, two wide players and no cenre forward. Not content with being France FC under Arsene Wenger, they’re now paying a tactical tribute to the great France team of the 1980s.
Arsenal (4-2-2-2) Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Rice, Jorginho; Odegaard, Havertz; Saka, Martinelli.
“What was that you were saying about Raya?” asks Joe Pearson.
A-hem, yes. I thought he was l immaculate until that point but he was very indecisive on the goal. The more replays you see, the more it looks like his mistake rather than Saliba’s.
Blimey. A two-goal lead wouldn’t have flattered Arsenal after a dominant first-half performance, but Liverpool – who still haven’t had a shot on target – forced an equaliser on the stroke of half-time. You’d say it was a fluke if it didn’t happen all the time; they may not be the best team in the league – ask me about that in May – but they’re certainly the best at coming from behind.
Liverpool have equalised with the ugliest of goals in the last minute of added time! Gravenberch, in the inside-right channel, flipped a speculative pass towards Diaz, who controlled it beautifully on the edge of the area. Saliba came across to shepherd the ball back to Raya, but there was a split-second of indecision from both men and that was enough for Diaz. He managed to wriggle around Saliba and poke the ball across the six-yard box. It hit the hand of Gabriel, who knew nothing about it, and dribbled miserably over the line.
Smash, meet grab.
45+1 min Jorginho plays a brilliant disguised pass to find Martinelli in the area, right of centre and being played onside by Gomez. His shot on the turn is well blocked by the lunging Konate and Van Dijk (I think) completes the clearance.
45 min Three minutes of added time before Jurgen Klopp gets to ask his team what the hell they’re playing at.
44 min Jorginho isn’t everyone’s friend but, as Gary Neville says on Sky, he’s had a quietly excellent first half. I said Rice was dominating midfield, probably because he’s more eye-catching when your eyes are zig-zagging between the TV and the computer, but actually it’s been Rice and Jorginho.
43 min Here’s that Bukayo Saka goal. I think it’s UK only, in which case apologies you can’t see the video but congratulations on your life choices.
41 min “Music nerd here,” boasts Joe Pearason. “Deep Purple are considered one of the pioneers of heavy metal, even though they were rather tame compared to bands that came after. But those crunchy guitars in ‘Smoke on the Water’ were really something in 1972.”
Is that right? Well I’ll be dipped in knowledge – I always thought they were a rock band.
40 min Alexander-Arnold wanders into midfield and pings a long-range shot that is blocked. Liverpool need him on the ball a whole lot more.
39 min Rice, who is dominating midfield, collects a loose ball 20 yards out and whacks a left-foot shot that is well blocked. The ball breaks for Havertz but he’s offside.
39 min “Greetings from California, where an ‘atmospheric river’ in the sky is drenching large swaths of the state,” says Peter Oh. “I’ve heard of Deep Purple but don’t know their stuff. Personally I’m getting a melodic, indie-pop vibe from the Liverpool kit. The Lilac Time.
“It would be rude of Arsenal to rain on the Farewell Jürgen Tour. The Reds to hit a purple patch in the second half and come through for their gaffer. All for Klopp and Klopp for All!”
38 min The resulting free-kick eventually drops for Gabriel on the edge of the area. He sweeps a left-foot shot that is comfortably held to his right by Alisson.
37 min Martinelli, who has been more like his old self today, beats Alexander-Arnold too easily before being fouled by Konate.
36 min The last 10 minutes have been fairly scruffy. Arsenal are still the better team, though Liverpool are starting to have more of the ball. Now they need to do something with it. I suspect we’ll see Darwin Nunez and/or Harvey Elliott at the start of the second half.
34 min “Never mind the result, the key question of the day, looking at the picture that was at the top of the blog, is when did socks above the knee become a thing?” writes Richard Hirst. “Arsenal should be ruled out of the title race on aesthetic grounds.”
It’s a tribute to the epochal victory at Anfield in December 2001.
31 min White is booked for taking too long over a free-kick. I’m pretty sure he was dithering rather than wasting time, but Anthony Taylor was having none of it. Audio of Mikel Arteta’s internal monologue, please!