Arsene Wenger took a pre-match risk by leaving Alexis Sanchez on the bench
Liverpool have notched a big win in the race for the Premier League's Top 4 places as Jurgen Klopp's side defeated rivals Arsenal 3-1 at Anfield.
The Reds were coming off the back of a poor loss at the hands of Leicester City last Monday but made a fine start against an Arsenal side who had made some intriguing pre-match selections.
Arsene Wenger chose to leave their standout player Alexis Sanchez on the bench with Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud up front as Arsenal looked to go more direct against the Liverpool press.
But it wasn't the Gunners who profited as Roberto Firmino gave Klopp's team the lead after just nine minutes.
The ball fell to the Brazilian at the far post and he placed his shot high into the net.
🗣 “We’re going with Giroud and Welbeck up front because we will need to be a bit more direct and strong in the air.” pic.twitter.com/NbSGcLlnaj— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) March 4, 2017
With six minutes to go towards half time and Liverpool edging it performance wise, Sadio Mane got a crucial second when Firmino returned the favour and got the ball to the Senegalese forward on the right side of the box.
He finished coolly past Petr Cech to make it 2-0. The scoreline prompted Wenger to introduce Sanchez and it seemed to spark Arsenal into better form.
They pulled one back 11 minutes after the break when Sanchez ran at the Liverpool defence, played in Danny Welbeck and the Englishman showed composure to dink the ball past Simon Mignolet from an angle.
But Arsenal could not produce a second goal. Instead Liverpool hit the woodwork through substitute Divock Origi before Netherlands international Georginio Wijnaldum made sure of a win for Liverpool with a goal two minutes into stoppage time.
Liverpool climb above Arsenal into third place in the table on 52 points, although fifth placed Arsenal who are two points behind have a game in hand.
Manchester United are now a point behind Wenger's side having drawn against Bournemouth in the early kick off.