The Guardian

Liverpool's late show overwhelms Arsenal in FA Cup, De Bruyne returns against Man City

Liverpool survived Arsenal's barrage and secured a 2-0 victory on Sunday with a late goal to book their place in the FA Cup fourth round in dramatic fashion.

Kevin De Bruyne's long-awaited return for Manchester City against Huddersfield on Sunday was a memorable moment, but it was Liverpool's grit in a blockbuster third-round clash at the Emirates Stadium that stole the show. It was a victory.

Arsenal squandered a series of chances, with 10 minutes remaining when Trent Alexander-Arnold's free-kick was headed into their own net by Polish defender Jakub Kiwior, but Jurgen Klopp's side had a long spell of luck. I grabbed it.

Luis Diaz made a smash and grab attack in stoppage time.

It was Liverpool's first win against Arsenal in the FA Cup since the 2001 final, and it was a key moment as the Premier League leaders dealt a psychological blow to one of their main title rivals.

Arsenal have won just one of their last six games in all competitions, and an unexpected setback saw them knocked out of the FA Cup and League Cup, leaving them five points behind Liverpool in the title race.

No wonder Klopp was so elated as he pumped his fist at the final whistle, acknowledging the victory that would give Liverpool the impetus to win four trophies.

The Reds, who drew 1-1 with Arsenal in the Premier League in December, faced Fulham in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final in midweek and have also secured a place in the last 16 of the Europa League.

Klopp has appointed Kodi Gakpo and Harvey Elliott to replace Mohamed Salah and Wataru Endo, who will be playing in the Africa Cup of Nations and Asia Cup respectively.

However, with Liverpool's centre-back Virgil van Dijk absent due to illness, Arsenal pushed forward aggressively from the first half.

Martin Odegaard should have rewarded the Gunners' strong start, but the midfielder sent his shot over the bar from 12 yards out.

Arteta's side cut Liverpool open at will, with Ben White's powerful strike from just inside the area forcing Alisson Becker into a spectacular fall.

With Havertz squandering two good chances in quick succession, Arteta must have feared Arsenal would pay the price for their profligacy.

Arteta held his head in frustration as Bukayo Saka volleyed home from a dangerous position, but Alisson saved with his fingertips from Kai Havertz's deflected cross.

Liverpool finally came alive and Luis Diaz's snap shot was saved well by Ramsdale, but Diogo Jota hit the woodwork.

Kivior headed Alexander-Arnold's corner kick into his own goal in the 80th minute, and in the final seconds of stoppage time, Dias received a pass from Jota and fired home from 10 yards to seal the victory.

Rampant City Welcome Home De Bruyne

Manchester City midfielder De Bruyne has been sidelined since tearing his hamstring in the Premier League opener against Burnley in August.

He finally returned to the game as a substitute in the 57th minute in City's dramatic victory over the Championship-contending side at the Etihad Stadium.

Josep Guardiola's side were leading with goals from Phil Foden and Alvarez when the 32-year-old was brought on.

City scored a further three goals through an own goal from Ben Jackson, a goal from Foden and a goal from Jeremy Doku, who came off the bench in the second half after returning from injury.

Fittingly, Doc's goal was set up by a deft lofted pass from De Bruyne.

City are still surviving without De Bruyne, but his world-class quality in midfield will be a key factor in their bid to remain in the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.

“Kevin helps us win games, so we're very happy to have him back. It's very important to have him back after a long injury,” Guardiola said.

“Of course he has special abilities and qualities to accomplish things that are hard to find. Kevin is special. He is unique.”

Luton, who are struggling in the Premier League, lost 0-0 to third-tier Bolton at Kenilworth Road.

Nottingham Forest also gave a scare to their League One opponents as Nuno Espirito Santo's side recovered from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with Blackpool.

West Ham ended in a 1-1 draw with second division Bristol City at the London Stadium.


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