Philippe Coutinho’s double inspired Liverpool to come from behind and beat Arsenal 4-3 in an action-packed clash of Premier League heavyweights at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
After seeing a penalty saved by Simon Mignolet, Theo Walcott put Arsenal ahead, only for Coutinho to reply with a picture-perfect free-kick in first-half injury time.
Goals early in the second half from Adam Lallana, Coutinho and Sadio Mane put Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool 4-1 up, but efforts from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Calum Chambers made for a nervy finish.
It was only Liverpool’s second win at Arsenal in 21 attempts and put an early dent in Arsene Wenger’s hopes of leading the London club to a first league title since 2004.
The Frenchman, who celebrates his 20th anniversary as Arsenal manager in October, has now seen his team beaten at home in their opening league game three times in four years.
Klopp, starting his first full season as Liverpool manager, celebrated each of the visitors’ goals with trademark abandon, but blamed his reaction to Mane’s goal for the way his side eased off at the end.
Injuries to Per Mertesacker and Gabriel, plus Laurent Koscielny’s lack of match fitness, obliged Wenger to deploy 21-year-old Chambers and 20-year-old new boy Rob Holding at centre-back.
Liverpool, meanwhile, boasted some 63 million pounds ($81.5 million, 73 million euros) of new players in Mane, Georginio Wijnaldum and Ragnar Klavan.
But after some untidy opening exchanges, Arsenal were first to impose themselves on the game.
Aaron Ramsey, playing in a number 10 role, had a couple of sights of goal, jabbing a shot straight at visiting goalkeeper Mignolet and then lifting an ambitious lob well over the bar.
Liverpool left-back Alberto Moreno was proving a typically chaotic presence and on the half-hour his untidy, full-blooded challenge on Walcott gifted Arsenal a penalty.
Walcott took the spot-kick himself and saw Mignolet plunge to his right to push it away.