Chelsea’s shock thrashing at home to West Brom earlier in the day opened the door for Liverpool – and Jurgen Klopp’s men burst straight through it in style with a victory that leaves them in fifth, only two points behind Thomas Tuchel’s side.
The only surprise was that it took dominant Liverpool so long to make their superiority count.
They finally got the breakthrough they deserved after 64 minutes when Diogo Jota headed Trent Alexander-Arnold’s brilliant delivery past Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno three minutes after he replaced Andy Robertson.
It was not only the decisive moment of the contest but also a timely reminder of the quality Alexander-Arnold possesses at a time when England manager Gareth Southgate feels he can do without him, despite Euro 2020 being on the horizon.
Liverpool doubled their lead four minutes later when Mohamed Salah took advantage of poor defending by Arsenal’s Gabriel and then slid a cool finish through Leno’s legs.
Jota was the beneficiary of more good work from Alexander-Arnold when he slammed home his second from close range with eight minutes left – by then though, the game had already become a formality.
Klopp said Liverpool:
Have to show we are really fighting for it” when asked about getting back in the running for a Champions League place.
It was a very important statement. In our position it is clear, everything that has happened to us this season means we don’t have it in our hands, he added.
We have to win our games and others have to lose but we have to [put] pressure on them. That is what we did with the result but we are still not in. We have to fight and we will fight and that is the statement for us and nobody else.