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Liverpool boosted their top-four chances with a well-deserved 3-0 victory over an out-of-sorts Arsenal on Saturday night.
Goals from substitute Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah sealed a vital three Premier League points as Jurgen Klopp's side returned to action with a decisive performance – but the same can't be said of Mikel Arteta's Gunners.
The Reds were on top throughout the affair at the Emirates but wasted several opportunities before Jota opened the scoring in the second half with a stunning header just three minutes following his introduction.
Salah doubled Liverpool's lead four minutes later, after getting on the end of Fabinho's through ball, before Jota grabbed his second of the night to make sure of the three points for the visitors.
The win moves Liverpool up to fifth, two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, while Arsenal remain ninth.
Here are three things Klopp got right on a comfortable night for the fallen Premier League champions…
1. Super-sub Jota delivers
Eyebrows were raised when Jota was left on the bench for this clash, given the attacker had scored three goals in two World Cup qualifiers for Portugal during the international break.
Instead, Klopp opted to keep faith with the attacking trio of Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, who kept Arsenal's defenders busy but were ultimately unable to find the back of the net in the opening 61 minutes.
Klopp eventually opted to throw on Jota, who came on for Andy Robertson, and three minutes later he was on the scoresheet.
The Portuguese maestro has been a revelation since arriving from Wolves in the summer and he continued his remarkable form by getting on the end of Trent Alexander-Arnold's wonderful delivery to head home the opener.
Ultimately Klopp's tactics paid off, as Jota's goal forced Arsenal to chase an equaliser and Salah soon got on the scoresheet with a well-taken second. Jota then doubled his tally with a late second, highlighting his importance for Liverpool.
2. Milner proves Mr Reliable again
Players like James Milner don't come along too often these days. At 35 years old, the former England midfielder has entered the twilight years of his career – but he is still influential to Klopp's plans at Liverpool.
The versatile Milner has had to settle for a bit-part role in recent seasons but, when called upon he usually delivers – and Saturday night was no different.
The three-time Premier League winner was deployed in midfield alongside Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara, and he was arguably the Reds' busiest midfielder at the Emirates.
Despite missing a glorious chance to open the scoring in the first half, Milner still made his stamp on the game with a relentless performance, constantly hassling his Arsenal rivals and looking to release his Liverpool forwards.
He was forced to show his versatility too, when he moved to left-back following Robertson's withdrawal. As you'd expect, it was a top-notch performance from the ever-reliable Milner.
3. Keeping faith with his full-backs
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There's no denying the importance of Robertson and Alexander-Arnold in Liverpool's recent successes – but the pair's woes have been well documented this season.
In particular, there has been plenty of criticism, perhaps unfairly at times, directed towards Alexander-Arnold, who was left out of Gareth Southgate's England squad for the recent World Cup qualifiers.
But despite the pressure on his defensive duo, Klopp refuses to change his approach which ultimately allows his defenders to enjoy an attacking role down the flanks – and for that he should be applauded.
Both Robertson and Alexander-Arnold enjoyed positive games at the Emirates, getting themselves in dangerous attacking positions at every opportunity while also providing the defensive cover to keep Arsenal's attackers relatively quiet.
Indeed, ultimately it paid off as Alexander-Arnold provided a sensational cross for Jota's opener; a contribution which will be a much-needed morale-boost for the England man.
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- Jurgen Klopp
- Premier League
- Liverpool FC
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