SI Staff
Sunday August 14th, 2016

Liverpool turned in a masterful second half and then held on for a riveting 4-3 win over Arsenal to kick off the Premier League season at the Emirates.

Philippe Coutinho scored twice, including on a spectacular free kick, and new signing Sadio Mane netted a highlight-reel goal of his own in his club debut, as Liverpool overcame a 1-0 deficit and then fended off an Arsenal rally. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Calum Chambers scored consecutive goals to pull Arsenal back from a 4-1 deficit, but the Gunners couldn't find an equalizer. 

Arsenal began the season amid an injury and absence crisis. Olivier Giroud, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil, Danny Welbeck and Gabriel were all out for the match, leaving Arsene Wenger shorthanded from the start.

One healthy star is Theo Walcott, who went from zero to hero in matter of moments for Arsenal. After Alberto Moreno needlessly fouled him in the area, Walcott had his ensuing penalty kick denied by Simon Mignolet. A minute later, though, Walcott delivered a silky finish to the far post to open the scoring in the 31st minute.

Just when it looked like Arsenal would be taking the lead into halftime, Coutinho struck for his free kick. He curled a right-footed blast from 30 yards into the upper left-hand corner and out of the reach of Petr Cech, bringing Liverpool level at 1-1.

Adam Lallana gave Liverpool its first lead minutes after the restart off a fine finish after chesting down a cross from new signing Georginio Wijnaldum and hitting it off the half-volley.

Coutinho netted his second in the 56th minute, finishing off a tidy series of passing with a first-time redirect off a cross from Nathaniel Clyne that left Cech no chance.

Mane piled on to make it 4-1 in the 63rd with a fantastic individual effort. He split a pair of defenders, cutting back to his left and then curling a left-footer to the far top corner to send fans at the Emirates to the exits and leave Klopp in shock.

Oxlade-Chamberlain answered immediately, though, making like Mane in splitting two defenders and then firing with his right. His shot took a deflection and beat Mignolet, cutting into the deficit and making it 4-2.

Arsenal's comeback continued through Chambers. The defender headed home Santi Cazorla's free kick in the 75th minute to cut into the deficit more and make it a 4-3 game.

Liverpool held on despite late Arsenal pressure and turns its attention to next Saturday's match at Burnley.

Arsenal heads to King Power Stadium to face reigning Premier League champion Leicester City, which is coming off a stunning 2-1 loss to Hull.

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