By Josh James
We slumped to a second consecutive defeat at the Emirates, and in truth can have few complaints about the result.
Champions Liverpool put us under pressure for most of the 90 minutes, while up front it was a frustrating evening for our forwards, who had very little to work with all game.
We held the visitors at bay for the first half, but once Diogo Jota was brought on, Liverpool moved up a gear and ran out comfortable winners.
It was a scrappy opening 15 minutes from both sides, before Liverpool slowly began to force us deeper and deeper into our own territory.
In fact we were struggling to get out of our own half at times, and the visitors really should have taken the lead when Trent Alexander-Arnold cut the ball back to the unmarked James Milner, but his first-time effort was off target.
The first-half stats did not look pretty for us. We managed just one shot compared to Liverpool's six, while the visitors enjoyed twice as much possession as us in the opening 45 minutes. To make matters worse we lost Kieran Tierney to injury just before the break.
Tierney's replacement, Cedric, had our first effort on target of the match, forcing a diving save from Alisson after being set up by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
But the general flow of play remained towards our own goal, and Liverpool eventually took the lead through substitute Jota. His powerful header was too hot for Bernd Leno to handle after meeting Trent Alexander-Arnold's cross.
Five minutes later Mohamed Salah doubled the lead when he threaded the ball through Leno's legs at the near post.
We were architects of our own downfall for the third goal. Gabriel gave the ball away when playing out from the back, Liverpool worked it back into our box for Jota to gratefully tuck home his second.
The result leaves us stranded in ninth place, as attention once again turns to the Europa League this midweek.
HOW IT HAPPENED
After two weeks without a fixture, Mikel Arteta made four changes following the international programme. There was a new central defence from the West Ham game, with Rob Holding partnering Gabriel. Dani Ceballos came in for Granit Xhaka who was unwell while Nicolas Pepe replaced the injured Bukayo Saka.
Emile Smith Rowe also missed out through injury but fellow England Under-21 star Eddie Nketiah was included on the bench.
WHAT IT MEANS
We're back in Europa League action on Thursday night, as we host Slavia Prague in the first leg of the quarter-final tie. Our next Premier League action will be away to Sheffield United next Sunday.
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