Mikel Arteta said Arsenal dropped two points in their Premier League title chase by throwing away a 2-0 lead at Liverpool, but admitted it needed ‘magic’ from goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale to avoid an even worse outcome for his team at Anfield.
Mohamed Salah‘s goal late in the first half and Roberto Firmino‘s 87th minute header salvaged a 2-2 draw for Liverpool after Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus had put Arsenal 2-0 up inside the opening 28 minutes.
By failing to hold onto their lead, Arsenal emerged with one point to move six points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table.
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However, with City having a game in hand and a home clash with Arsenal still to come this season, Pep Guardiola’s side can now retain the title by winning their remaining 9 league games.
Yet Arsenal would have lost but for two stunning saves by Ramsdale in stoppage time from Salah and Ibrahima Konate which enabled Arsenal to hold onto a point.
“When you concede at the end, it’s always like two dropped points,” Arteta said. “But Liverpool had four big chances and could have scored a penalty [missed by Salah].
“You also need your goalkeeper in title races — you need magic moments from your keeper — and Aaron was there for us, just like Alisson has been for Liverpool so many times.
“But we look at ourselves in mirror and could have done better with some big chances.
“We started well in the first few minutes [of the second half] but then lost control. It became a very transitional game, very chaotic. Liverpool could score three or four, but it is true we could have scored two or three, so maybe at the end the score is fair.”
Arteta said that Arsenal suffered from playing against Liverpool at Anfield due to backing of the home supporters and the ability of Jurgen Klopp’s team to raise their level against the leading sides.
“I haven’t seen anyone dominate in this ground this season,” Arteta said. “They beat every big team here, they played Real Madrid and could have been four up after 20 minutes [before losing 5-2].
“They are going to have moments. You need to deal with them and we did. Our goalkeeper had a big part in that.
“It was a super-intense game, we had to suffer and rely on big defensive moments. But when you look at what Liverpool have done to big teams, even this season, they are an exceptional team. When they raise their level to that, even the big teams can’t cope with them.
“We could taken three points, but we didn’t. We have to take the point and move on. We’ve been responding for 31 games. Every game is a test for us.”