A stunning strike from Mo Salah, his 149th for Liverpool in the Premier League, was ultimately only enough to share the points with title-contenders Arsenal. Having previously fallen behind to an early Gabriel header, Liverpool failed to grasp the opportunity to top the league table at Christmas.
Arsenal settled quickly and found themselves in front after just four minutes. Liverpool were seemingly confused by opposition players moving on mass from off-side to on as the free-kick sailed into the penalty area. Alisson, surely his sid’es player of the season thus far, stayed on his line and a deflected header sailed into the corner of the net in front of the Kop. If anything, the early goal merely ratcheted up the Anfield atmosphere but, with Dominik Szoboszlai struggling in midfield and the impressive Declan Rice patrolling the centre of the pitch for the Gunners, Jurgen Klopp’s men struggled to dominate.
As is so often the case, it was left to Trent Alexander-Arnold to create the telling chance for his team. A superb long range pass to Salah down Arsenal’s left flank led the Egyptian maestro to bury a near post thunderbolt past David Raya. The remainder of the half ebbed and flowed without any clear chances for either side and, with Arsenal having already escaped a clear penalty shout when Odegaard produced a basketball move to deny Salah, it looked odds-on that Liverpool would create the chances to win the game.
Liverpool did indeed create the opportunities to take all three points, not least when breaking from inside their own half. Four against one was the numerical advantage as they bore down on goal, but Trent hit the bar with a rocket of a shot and Arsenal escaped what looked like a certain goal for the hosts. Not that Liverpool had it all their own way. Arsenal had their moments but, rather like Liverpool, too often they made the wrong decision with the final ball and defenders came out on top.
So Liverpool, having missed the chance to put clear daylight between themselves and Manchester City and to top the Premier League table, find themselves second ahead of Boxing Day. Given the large number of new additions in the summer and some significant injuries, now with the addition of Diaz and Tsmiskas, the Red Men are in a promising position. A potential Wembley final on the horizon, further European football to follow in the New Year and a realistic challenge for another league title all beckon. Surely any Koppite would have considered that a great Christmas present if offered it back in August.