Liverpool v Arsenal, Premier League

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30 December, 2018

Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea all remained unbeaten in the opening 12 Premier League games.

Pep Guardiola described his Manchester City players as "heroes" and refused to point the finger of blame at them after back-to-back Premier League defeats, but he admitted good fortune "will not come from above" as they prepare to face Southampton. They have taken 54 points from a possible 60 this season.

They have won 8 league games in a row: their best sequence since 11 straight victories from February to April 2014.

The Reds made it three just after the half hour mark and it was Mane who turned provider to goalscorer as Salah latched on to a long pass over the top and cushioned the ball straight towards the Senegalese worldwide.

Only two teams in the history of the Premier League have been top at Christmas and failed to win the title.

"I think you can not blame [the players]", he told a news conference.

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Just a minute later and Liverpool had the lead as Firmino waltzed his way through the Arsenal defence before slotting past Bernd Leno for 2-1 and Sadio Mane then made it 3-1 in the 32nd minute.

Firmino walked off with the match ball at the end of it but Salah and Mane were similarly impressive. This was Liverpool's eighth game in a packed month but their intensity was unrelenting. Robertson plays a wonderful ball over the top for Salah who side-foots it across to Mane and he pokes home for Liverpool's third.

It would be recalled that a 1-1 draw was played in the first leg and that was the last time the Merseyside club were denied full three points and also one of the three draws Liverpool have recorded in 19 games.

"We will have his (Fernandinho's) qualities again and he is an incredible player", said Guardiola.

On this evidence, Liverpool have the stamina to produce more of the same, and there seems little prospect of them losing focus, either. "We will rest now and prepare for that game".

It is nearly as if talk of Manchester United simply clicking their fingers and poaching Pochettino has riled the players to go on and prove that they are a better side, with better prospects to boot.

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