Arsenal maintained their place at the top of the Premier League after a thrilling draw with Liverpool at Anfield.

Victory for either side would have put them top of the table at Christmas but they had to settle for a share of the points in an entertaining encounter.

Arsenal delivered the perfect start when defender Gabriel headed home from Martin Odegaard’s free-kick after only four minutes.

However, Liverpool regrouped and were level after 29 minutes when Mohamed Salah thrashed a finish high past Gunners keeper David Raya at his near post after collecting Trent Alexander-Arnold’s raking pass.

In between, Liverpool looked to be denied a clear penalty when Odegaard handled and after that Jurgen Klopp’s side had the better opportunities, although Arsenal were always a threat.

Substitute Harvey Elliott grazed the outside of the post while Alexander-Arnold wasted the best chance of the half when he blasted against the bar after Liverpool swamped Arsenal on the counter-attack.

“Absolutely we take confidence from the result,” Liverpool manager Klopp told Sky Sports.

“You have to take confidence from these results and performances against a top, top side. We did not play bad against Man City for example but it was not as good as today, and you have to take these things forward.”

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta told BBC Match of the Day: “An unbelievable game of football, one of the most intense I’ve witnessed in 20 years in this league. For many moments we were on top, in the last 20 minutes we wanted it more, but a draw is a fair result.

“We were determined to attack and cause them problems. They are a team who cause chaos – they are so vertical and direct. They are the best in the world at doing that.”

Liverpool miss cutting edge

Liverpool were left counting the cost of the failure to find the finishing touch for the second successive league game at Anfield.

They were held to a draw by a stubborn Manchester United last Sunday and had to settle for a point once more in a contest of much higher quality against Arsenal, responding to Gabriel’s early strike with another magnificent goal from Salah.

Manager Jurgen Klopp will reflect on two big moments which mean his side stay behind the Gunners going into Christmas after an often-frenetic meeting at Anfield.

Liverpool will be furious that they seemed to be denied a clear penalty when Odegaard handled in the first half and Alexander-Arnold should have buried what could have been the match-winner late on.

They restricted Arsenal’s opportunities in the second half but this is an outcome that will satisfy Mikel Arteta’s side and perhaps, most of all, new Club World Cup champions Manchester City.

Kesh Awefada

Kesh Awefada

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