Firmino Hat-Trick Sends Reds 9 Points Clear

Rafa Benitez explains why he dropped Salomon Rondon at Liverpool and his hopes for Sean Longstaff

Rafa Benitez explains why he dropped Salomon Rondon at Liverpool and his hopes for Sean Longstaff

Their Premier League title credentials look more convincing than ever after their 5-1 demolition of Arsenal.

Alex Iwobi capitalised after the Reds gave the ball away as he sent in a cross that evaded Alisson for Maitland-Niles to prod home at the back post.

City travel to Southampton on Sunday and Guardiola said it's important to return to winning ways ahead of Liverpool's visit to the Etihad Stadium four days later.

Roberto Firmino took his tally to eight goals in as many games against the Gunners with a hat-trick, with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane also scoring after the visitors had taken the lead through Ainsley Maitland-Niles. If that was a statement of intent from Liverpool another arrived nearly immediately, Firmino popping up with his second after Sadio Mané dispossessed Lucas Torreira in midfield.

Jurgen Klopp has made just one change to the Liverpool starting eleven against Arsenal, with Fabinho coming in for Jordan Henderson. That description does scant justice to the quality of Firmino's contribution: the Brazilian glided effortlessly past attempts to challenge from Mustafi and Papastathopoulos before placing the ball calmly beyond a nonplussed Bernd Leno.

And the Arsenal legend suggested the defence in particular was a weak point.

But within five minutes, they were trailing.




It is clear, too, that they will take some stopping.

Mane got in on the act just past the half-hour mark, emphatically slamming home after a squared pass from Salah.

And ex-Liverpool star Owen believes the fans have a team that they can be proud of after another swashbuckling display.

Still, Dortmund have stuck with their stance of keeping him for the season as they are likely to require every player to be at their best in order to end Bayern Munich's recent dominance in the Bundesliga.

Leno got more than a hand on Salah's added-time penalty but could not stop the Egypt international's 16th of the season and, incredibly, his 60th in 79 appearances for the club.

Liverpool were given another penalty midway through the second half when Sead Kolasinac was adjudged to have pushed Dejan Lovren. 17-3-0 with 48 goals scored and eight against? That's championship form in anyone's book.

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