Despite twice being pegged back, we secured all three points in a hugely entertaining clash at a rocking Emirates Stadium.
Gabriel Martinelli fired us ahead in the opening minute, and it set the tone for a pulsating Premier League encounter.
Liverpool struck back through Darwin Nunez midway through the half, but deep into first-half injury-time Bukayo Saka restored our lead after a rapid counter-attack.
Liverpool again got back on terms through frequent nemesis Roberto Firmino, but Saka netted from the penalty spot after Gabriel Jesus was fouled to ensure a huge three points, and send us back to the Premier League summit.
There were just 58 seconds on the clock when we broke through. William Saliba won the ball midway inside our own half and sparked a counter-attack. We overloaded Liverpool on the left, Martin Odegaard slipped the ball through to Martinelli and he expertly tucked the ball home, beating the offside trap.
The stadium was rocking and the team looked to maintain the early intensity, snapping into challenges and buzzing around the Liverpool midfield.
Granit Xhaka had a shot saved, though was flagged offside anyway, before Martinelli overhit a cross following good work from Bukayo Saka.
At the other end Aaron Ramsdale was alert to push away a Darwin Nunez drive, then sprung to his left to keep the ball out when Saliba diverted a cross towards his own goal.
So perhaps the warning signs were there before Liverpool drew level. Gabriel didn’t get enough on his attempted clearance, the ball fell to Luis Diaz who played it across for Nunez to turn home.
But we finished the half just how we started it. This time it came from a Liverpool free-kick, that we cleared to the edge of the box, then launched a rapid attack upfield.
Jesus won the ball and released the scampering Martinelli on the left, his low cross went all the way to the far post where Saka was sliding in to tuck home on the stretch
We had scored in the first and last minutes of the half. It relieved the pressure we had started to come under, and meant we went in at the break on a high.
Saka keeps his cool
We took our momentum into the second half, and the effervescent Martinelli set up captain Odegaard for a great chance in the box, but his low finish was easy for Alisson in the Liverpool goal.
We were punished for our wastefulness when substitute Roberto Firmino got behind our defence and found the corner with a good low finish.
The game was being played at fearsome pace, and there was no question of either side settling for a draw.
Martinelli was the source of much of our attacking play, and his cross led to a goalmouth scramble, where Saka had a shot blocked.
As the ball came back into the area, Thiago mistimed his challenge on Jesus, and the referee awarded a penalty.
Saka stepped up and made no mistake, rifling his shot low into the net to send the Emirates into raptures again.
There were a few nervous moments in the closing ten minutes, but in the end it was a performance of great maturity and character that extended our 100 per cent home record this season, and more importantly, took us back to the top of Premier League table.
Facts and stats
We have won at least eight of their first nine league matches in a top-flight campaign for only the fourth time, after 2007/08, 2004/05 and 1947/48, and sit atop the table 9+ games into a season for the first time since December 10, 2016 (15th game).
There have been 180 goals scored in Premier League meetings between us and Liverpool, the most of any fixture in the competition’s history.
With 10 points from eight games so far, this is Liverpool’s worst return at this stage of a Premier League campaign since 2012/13 (9 points), when they ultimately finished 7th.
Our three goals today were scored by Saka and Martinelli, both of whom are 21 years old. We have now scored 54 goals via players aged 21 and under in the Premier League under Mikel Arteta, 22 more than any other side since the Spaniard’s first game in charge.
Martinelli is the youngest Arsenal player to score and assist against Liverpool in the Premier League (21 years 113 days). The Brazilian has been directly involved in 10 goals in his last 14 appearances in the competition (5 goals, 5 assists).
Saka has scored 20 goals and provided 19 assists for us in the Premier League, with his 39 combined goal involvements second only to Cesc Fàbregas (63) for the Gunners in the competition before turning 22. Saka has the most combined Premier League goals + assists of any Arsenal player since his first Premier League start in September 2019.
Firmino has scored more Premier League goals against us (10) than any other opponent.
Martinelli opened the scoring after just 58 seconds, our quickest goal in this fixture in the Premier League
What it means
The games keep on coming in October, and we travel into the Arctic Circle for our next match, away to Bodo/Glimt in the Europa League on Thursday.
Our next action in the Premier League is next Sunday, away to Leeds United.
Copyright 2024 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.