Table-toppers Liverpool greedy for more wins

Arsenal defender David Luiz watching striker Mohamed Salah score Liverpool's second goal from the penalty spot in their 3-1 Premier League victory at Anfield on Saturday. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Arsenal defender David Luiz watching striker Mohamed Salah score Liverpool's second goal from the penalty spot in their 3-1 Premier League victory at Anfield on Saturday. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

LIVERPOOL • For Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, "greed" is a virtue to keep his side hungry for victories as last season's runners-up took control at the top of the Premier League with their third consecutive win of the campaign in Saturday's 3-1 victory over Arsenal.

After wins over Norwich and Southampton, the European champions had their first "Big Six" test of the season in Unai Emery's Gunners, the only other team with a 100 per cent start in the league before their Anfield visit.

"It was a brilliant game from my side so early in the season. It was outstanding. It was a performance full of power, energy, greed and passion, which I think you need to have against a team like Arsenal," said Klopp.

"We are still really early in the season and throwing such energy on the pitch is exceptional."

Liverpool eased off in the latter stages and allowed Arsenal to score a consolation goal through Lucas Torreira, but Klopp was still satisfied with his team's exertions.

"For 80 minutes, we were completely in charge of the game. We are not Disneyland, we do not need to excite everyone in every second," said the German.

After Joel Matip capped a spell of Liverpool dominance by scoring with a header from a corner four minutes before half-time, joint-Golden Boot winner Mohamed Salah was the decisive figure in the second half.

A "reflex" tug of the Egyptian's shirt by David Luiz allowed the Liverpool forward to blast home from the spot in the 49th minute.

He repeated his tormenting of the defender Luiz nine minutes later. He beat his former Chelsea teammate out wide before bursting forward and placing his shot past Bernd Leno in a manner that, poignantly for Arsenal fans, was reminiscent of Thierry Henry.

Arsenal manager Emery was unconvinced by the awarding of the penalty. He said: "The penalty was the key to the game but it was very soft. If that is considered holding, then I don't think it was enough.

"It was disappointing to concede a goal at that time because we had done quite well in the first half."

He chose to take positives from a defeat in which Nicolas Pepe could have opened the scoring three times on the counter-attack.

The Gunners' £72 million (S$122.7 million) record signing was also the first man to dribble past Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk in 50 league games.

He said: "We made two or three chances to score and we were defending their crosses very well. We can be optimistic for the future, I thought (Joe) Willock and Pepe played well."

Klopp chose to dwell on his players' sharpness, saying: "The decision about the penalty I think was absolutely obvious. Mo's third goal was absolutely amazing, but the pedigree of the boys is sensational.

"Our identity is intensity, and we showed that today."

REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2019, with the headline 'Table-toppers Liverpool greedy for more wins'. Print Edition | Subscribe