London - Liverpool have re-energised their English Premiership title challenge with a
magnificent 5-1 rout of sorry leaders Arsenal on an afternoon of one-way
traffic at Anfield on Saturday.
Brendan Rodgers's rampant side
struck four times in the first 20 minutes, as Arsenal saw a run of 10
games without defeat in all competitions torn to shreds in brutal
Martin Skrtel scored twice in 10 minutes to spark the
rout, with Raheem Sterling claiming a brace and Daniel Sturridge also
finding the net before Mikel Arteta replied for Arsene Wenger's humbled
The one-sided victory lifted fourth-place Liverpool to
within five points of Arsenal, a week before the sides are due to meet
again at the Emirates Stadium in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
performance, meanwhile, suggested that they cannot be discounted from
the title picture despite media projections of a three-horse race
between Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City.
"It was an
incredible performance," said Liverpool manager Rodgers. "It's not the
first time we've been outstanding at home, but everything about us today
was incredible. Everything was outstanding.
"We've been getting better and better. We've got a lot of young players, developing well. But for us it's just about improving."
to return to winning ways after a 1-1 draw at West Bromwich Albion last
weekend, Liverpool went ahead inside a minute when Skrtel kneed Steven
Gerrard's free-kick past Wojciech Szczesny from close range.
same combination doubled Liverpool's lead in the 10th minute, with
Skrtel stooping to guide a looping header into the top-left corner from
Gerrard's right-wing corner.
Sturridge lobbed wide and Luis Suarez
hit the post with a blistering half-volley from outside the box before
Sterling tucked in a low cross from Suarez to make it 3-0.
fourth arrived in the 20th minute, Sturridge steering the ball past
Szczesny from Philippe Coutinho's delicately weighted pass as Arsenal's
travelling fans looked on in disbelieving horror.
at the second attempt in the 52nd minute to tighten the screw yet
further, before Arteta netted from the penalty spot in the 69th minute
after Gerrard was penalised for felling Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
"It was a very poor day," Arsenal manager Wenger told BT Sport.
the fans were good for 90 minutes. All the rest on our side, we were
poor -- defensively, offensively -- and they (the goals) were all scored
in slow-motion. We have to bounce back from that, and as quickly as
Wenger's dejection could be compounded later on
Saturday as both Manchester City and Chelsea will overtake his side if
they win their respective matches.
Chelsea, who won 1-0 at City on Monday, host Newcastle United, while City visit Norwich City.
the late game, meanwhile, Swansea City tackle local rivals Cardiff City
in their first match since Michael Laudrup was sacked as manager.