If this is to be the portent of what could be Arsene Wenger's last season as Arsenal manager, we are in for a crazy, crazy season. Under pressure to make new signings, but adamant in not making them unless it makes sense to him, Wenger's Arsenal were put to the sword by a Liverpool team who were made to look a lot better than they actually were, before the Gunners showed some stomach of their own, only to fall marginally short, like they always seem to.
The final score of this Premier League match at the Emirates was 4-3 to Liverpool, with the Reds scoring their goals through Philippe Coutinho, who had a brace, Adam Lallana and new signing Sadio Mane, while Arsenal got theirs through Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Calum Chambers.
This was a game of two halves, with Arsenal playing well in the first 45 and Liverpool coming out strong in the second, but it was also a game where the home team's soft underbelly came to the fore again, with Jurgen Klopp's men, albeit slowly, taking full advantage of the fact that a 21-year-old and a 20-year-old were playing in central defence for one of the richest teams in the world.
Arsenal began the match really well, putting crisp passes together, while pressing Liverpool whenever they were out of possession. It seemed to really trouble the away side too and the mood was nice and fine, especially after Walcott won a penalty for the Gunners just before the half hour. After taking a touch, Walcott induced a poor challenge from Alberto Moreno with referee Michael Oliver pointing to the spot.
Walcott, himself, stepped up to take the penalty, which he hit well, but also at a nice height for Simon Mignolet to save to his right. There was hardly any time for the Arsenal fans to bemoan that miss, however, as 69 seconds later, Walcott made amends. Taking a pass from Alex Iwobi, the England forward struck a shot low and true across goal and well past the outstretched hand of Mignolet, with the ball hitting the side of the net.
This were going swimmingly well for Arsenal at this point – they were dominating possession, dictating the pace of the game and making Liverpool look like a team that hadn't had too much time playing together. However, an unnecessary foul from debutant Rob Holding on Coutinho, allowed the Brazilian himself to curl in one of the goal of the season contenders from 25 yards.
The early part of the second half only had one team in it, with the Arsenal players clearly thinking of that later equaliser they had conceded just before halftime. Lallana gave Liverpool the lead for the first time in the game, finishing nicely after some good work from Coutinho and Giorginio Wijnaldum, and when Coutinho fired in another expert finish, off a cross from Nathaniel Clyne, the match looked over, with the home fans going ballistic when Mane powered past Chambers and Nacho Monreal to curl one with his left foot past Petr Cech and into the top corner.
Klopp had a look of gleeful-disbelief at that point, while Wenger was probably contemplating going through one of those horror "Wenger out" weeks again. However, Oxlade-Chamberlain gave Arsenal hope with a cut-in and strike, before that hope grew when Chambers glanced a header into the corner off a freekick from Santi Cazorla, who has come in for the injured Aaron Ramsey.
However, Liverpool just about held on as Arsenal's season began on a sour note for the second straight year.