Premier League: Liverpool 0 Arsenal 2
By Football News
Both strikes were the products of a brilliant combination between the two new signings, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla, each taking a turn to finish off a one-two with each other, though Steven Gerrard's lazy pass set up the counter for the German's opener.
Arsenal saw plenty of the ball in the early stages but Liverpool threatened first, Fabio Borini finding space from 30 yards out to swipe wide.
It was a sign of the visitors' high defensive line which was nearly exploited moments later when Luis Suarez shot past Per Mertesacker, who could only clumsily tug him back for a booking.
The Reds came close after 12 minutes when, thanks to Carl Jenkinson awkwardly clearing behind, Daniel Agger failed to get his head on Gerrard's corner. The Dane had been totally unmarked and should have put his side ahead.
The captain was at fault, too, on the half hour when he lazily misplaced a pass in the Arsenal half.
The Gunners brought the ball out on a swift counter, Cazorla racing through the middle before threading it through to Podolski, whose finish under pressure from the tracking-back Suarez was as cool as it was accurate.
Liverpool came close a few minutes later when Raheem Sterling stepped around a marker in the box and cut a high-difficulty shot against the outside of the post.
The Anfield crowd appealed for a penalty when the 17-year-old went down in the box moments later but Mertesacker won enough of the ball with a fine tackle.
Suarez tested Mertesacker five minutes after the half-time break when he appealed for a push by the German in the box. There appeared to be some contact but the forward went down a little quickly; his reputation may have swayed the benefit of the doubt against him.
The pressure on the Uruguayan went up when Borini's withdrawal for Stewart Downing left him as the only remaining recognised striker for the home side and he came close to rewarding that faith when Vito Mannone tipped over Liverpool's first shot on target shortly before the hour mark.
Sterling continued to pose the most consistent threat for the hosts as they dominated proceedings in search of an equaliser, his jinking run and cross unrewarded with a missed header.
Cazorla came forward with a reminder of Arsenal's potency moments later, though, slicing a shot a whisker past the post as well as Reina's outstretched hand, with the Gunners content to wait for opportunities on the counter.
The Spaniard got that opportunity in the 67th minute. It came from another fine combination with Podolski, the German this time taking his turn to play Cazorla in with a one-two. The import from Malaga picked it up and thrashed it off a helpless Reina into the net.
With Liverpool looking downcast and unlikely to overturn the visitors’ superiority, Gerrard was very lucky not to get at least a yellow card for a rasping challenge on Thomas Vermaelen, catching the Belgian's leg when he had no hope of beating him to the ball.
It should have made worse an already humbling showing from the veteran midfielder.