Liverpool maintained their place at the top of the Premier League and their 100% start to the season as Arsenal were well beaten at Anfield.
The Gunners, the only other side in the top flight to win their first two games, had opportunities to shock Liverpool in a tight first half, especially when record £72m signing Nicolas Pepe shot straight at keeper Adrian after running clear.
Liverpool took control when Joel Matip put them ahead with a powerful header from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner four minutes before the interval.
And any hopes manager Unai Emery had of watching his side mount a recovery were snuffed out in the 49th minute after a moment of madness from new signing David Luiz, who needlessly dragged Mohamed Salah back in the area.
Liverpool’s Egyptian attacker drilled home the penalty and then embarrassed Luiz again out on the touchline at the start of a dazzling run that ended with a low, curling finish into the bottom corner just before the hour.
Arsenal substitute Lucas Torreira pulled one back late on, but nothing was getting in the way of Liverpool’s 12th successive Premier League victory, equalling their best sequence in the top flight under Kenny Dalglish between April and October 1990.
Liverpool back in the old routine
Liverpool had moments when they stuttered against Southampton and their defence has looked unusually fallible – but this was a movie we have seen many times before at Anfield under Jurgen Klopp.
Arsenal have suffered badly here in recent seasons, losing 5-1 last season and 4-0 in Arsene Wenger’s final season. Once again, despite taking their time to hit top gear, Liverpool’s ruthlessness and intensity simply proved too much for Arsenal.
True, they gratefully accepted Luiz’s gifts but once Matip put Liverpool ahead the pressure and intensity applied to Arsenal was simply too much for the Gunners to resist.
And, as Arsenal discovered, when you fail to take chances to punish Liverpool, the inevitable outcome is that you will be punished yourselves.
Liverpool do not simply have a prodigious work ethic that makes life permanently uncomfortable for opponents; they also have world-class attacking options as illustrated by Salah’s brilliant weaving run and slide-rule finish for their third.
Klopp’s side missed out on the title by a single point despite only one loss, to champions Manchester City, last season – and three wins from three has quickly put the marker down that they intend to go one better and claim that first title in 30 years.
Liability Luiz kills Arsenal chances
Luiz has a track record of success that suggests he may be able to bring moments of quality to Arsenal’s defence after his surprise £8m move from Chelsea – but there is no escaping he has the enduring capability to be a complete liability.
The Brazilian, at 32, is not going to change and so it proved as he delivered a moment of crass stupidity that killed stone dead Arsenal’s hopes of taking anything away from Anfield.
It is a stretch to say Arsenal had Liverpool on the ropes but, despite the overall domination of the European champions, the Gunners certainly had moments of threat through the pace and menace of Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. They would have started the second half with hope.
Luiz made it all count for nothing when he felt his best method of dealing with Salah’s 49th-minute raid into the penalty area was to blatantly drag him back by the shirt in a red-mist moment that did not even seriously require the intervention of the video assistant referee.
Salah, despite some ludicrous protests from Luiz, drilled home the penalty before taking him to cleaners when scoring Liverpool’s brilliant third.
Too much of the Arsenal’s playing out from the back was asking for trouble against this Liverpool side. Throw in the act of stupidity from Luiz and ultimately they got what they deserved, despite some areas for Emery to admire.
Man of the match – Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
‘We are not in Disneyland’ – what they said
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, speaking to Sky Sports: “It was a brilliant game from my side so early in the season. It was outstanding. It was a performance full of power, energy, greed and passion, which I think you need to have against a team like Arsenal.
“The last 10 minutes I saw the possession – 53 to 47 or something like that – but over 80 minutes it must have been completely different. We were completely in charge of the game. We are not Disneyland, we do not need to excite everyone in every second.
“We had enough bodies and legs to put them under pressure. We had the full-backs really high. The boys did what we wanted them to do and scored wonderful goals. The penalty decision I think was absolutely obvious. Mo’s third goal was absolutely amazing, but the pedigree of the boys is sensational. Our identity is intensity, and we showed that today.”
Arsenal boss Unai Emery, speaking to BBC Match of the Day: “Today, the first half, we worked together. We were doing some transition very good and we had some chances but, the second half, the penalty was very soft. After 2-0 our reaction was good. We needed to attack and take a different moment in the match.
“Yes, we are disappointed we lost 3-1 but watching some players we can be optimistic. We need to improve in possession and countering the pressure but Liverpool is the best team with this.
“We have to be realistic but we can fight closer to them. For me, today, without the result there were some good periods.”
Arsenal’s Liverpool woe – the stats
- Since Jurgen Klopp took over in October 2015, Liverpool have scored 26 goals in eight Premier League games against Arsenal – the most one side has netted against another in the competition in that period.
- Only Everton at Arsenal (64) have conceded more away goals against a single opponent in the Premier League than Arsenal at Liverpool (62).
- Arsenal have now failed to win any of their past 23 away league games against fellow ‘Big six’ sides (D8 L15) – during this run they have conceded 53 goals while keeping just one clean sheet.
- Since the start of last season, Arsenal have given away eight Premier League penalties – only Brighton (10) have faced more.
- Liverpool have scored 22 headed goals in the Premier League since the start of last season; seven more than any other side. The Reds have scored three in this campaign already, while no other side has scored more than one.
- Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has faced Arsenal eight times without defeat in the Premier League (W5 D3).
- Mohamed Salah has been directly involved in more Premier League goals against Arsenal than against any other side (eight; six goals and two assists). He has scored in all four of his home games against them.
- Trent Alexander-Arnold has assisted nine goals in his past 10 appearances at Anfield for Liverpool in all competitions, including assisting once in each of his past five competitive home games.
- Nicolas Pepe has become the first player to successfully dribble past Virgil van Dijk in the Dutch defender’s past 50 appearances in the Premier League, since Mikel Merino in March 2018 for Newcastle.
Liverpool travel to Burnley in their next Premier League fixture on Saturday, 31 August (17:30 BST). Arsenal resume league action when they host Tottenham in the first north London derby of the season, on Sunday, 1 September (16:30 BST).
Brentford have signed Greece international striker Nikos Karelis on a one-year deal.
The 27-year-old was a free agent after leaving Belgian side Genk earlier in the summer.
“Nikos is a player that will reinforce our options in attacking areas,” boss Thomas Frank told the club website.
“He is fit now and while he may take a while to be 100% ready to start in the Championship, I know he will have an impact.”
Find all the latest football transfers on our dedicated page.
Tomer Hemed and Erhun Oztumer could both debut for Charlton when they host Nottingham Forest at The Valley.
Defender Chris Solly will be assessed after he suffering a head injury in Saturday’s draw with Barnsley.
Joao Carvalho will travel with Forest as he continues his recovery from an ankle injury, but will not feature.
There are no new injury concerns for Reds boss Sabri Lamouchi, who is not expected to make many changes following Saturday’s win against Birmingham City.
- Charlton Athletic are unbeaten in their past six league games against Nottingham Forest (W2 D4 L0).
- Forest are looking for their first away league win at Charlton since a 2-0 victory in February 2013 under Billy Davies.
- Since the start of last season, Charlton have won 16 penalties in league matches, with Lyle Taylor scoring nine of those spot-kicks. Indeed, only Luka Milivojevic and John Akinde (10 each) have netted more within England’s top four tiers since August 2018.
- Both Charlton and Forest have scored three goals from set-pieces so far this season, the joint most in the competition in 2019-20 (alongside Luton and Preston).
- Charlton are looking to win their opening two home matches of a Championship season for the second successive campaign in the competition, having beaten QPR and Hull in 2015-16, before they were ultimately relegated to League One.
- Forest striker Lewis Grabban has scored three goals in six previous league appearances against Charlton. He scored one goal and created another for Norwich on his last visit to The Valley, helping his side to a 3-2 victory in February 2015.
|Specsavers County Championship Division Two, 1st Central County Ground, Hove (day one):|
|Middlesex 75: Eskinazi 24; Robinson 8-34|
|Sussex 126-3: Wells 52; Roland-Jones 2-34|
|Sussex (3 pts) lead Middlesex (1 pt) by 53 runs with 7 wickets remaining|
Sussex seamer Ollie Robinson took a career-best 8-34 to put his side well on top as Middlesex were bowled out for just 75 on day one at Hove.
England Lions man Robinson was at one point was on course to take all 10 of the visitors’ wickets.
But, having reduced them to 44-8, last man Tim Murtagh hit 20* as Middlesex were bowled out inside 21.4 overs.
The hosts initially struggled in reply and were 15-3 before Luke Wells 52* and Alex Carey 46* steadied the ship.
Rain delayed the start of the match until 14:30 BST but Robinson soon made up for lost time, claiming opener Sam Robson with the first delivery of the day.
The former Yorkshire paceman has now taken 48 wickets in eight County Championship matches this season.
“These conditions suit Adam Peaty more than Adam Lyth.”
That post on Yorkshire’s Twitter account referencing the Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer summed up the situation at Headingley and several other county grounds hoping to stage T20 Blast matches on Friday.
Rain caused the abandonment of all eight scheduled games:
- Essex v Glamorgan
- Hampshire v Surrey
- Kent v Sussex
- Lancashire v Birmingham Bears
- Northamptonshire v Leicestershire
- Nottinghamshire v Derbyshire
- Somerset v Gloucestershire
- Yorkshire v Durham
All 18 counties have either three or four group games left to play as they bid to reach the final at Edgbaston on 21 September.
Lancashire are four points clear at the top of the North Group, despite having four of their 11 matches rained off, and will qualify for the quarter-finals if they win one of their last three group matches.
Below them, the other eight teams are separated by only five points.
“This group’s very tight and I’d take getting three points off the top team,” said Jim Troughton, whose Birmingham Bears side beat Lancashire at Edgbaston on Sunday and saw their reverse fixture at Old Trafford washed out.
“Everyone has a chance if they string together some performances. But, if you can get some momentum at this stage, it gives you a really good chance of getting to the quarter-finals.”
The South Group is evenly poised too, with just four points between leaders Sussex and fifth-placed Somerset.
The player who suffered the first recorded case of racist abuse in women’s professional football has no regrets about reporting it despite “sinking into depression” as a result of subsequent online abuse.
An independent Football Association regulatory commission found that Tottenham defender Renee Hector was racially abused by Sheffield United’s Sophie Jones during a Championship match in January.
Jones was banned for five games and fined £200 but denied allegations she made monkey noises towards Hector.
The forward, whose contract at Sheffield United was terminated by mutual consent in March, told the BBC: “I’m not a racist.”
Hector, who has since joined Charlton Athletic, says that, as a result of the case, she was was sent pictures of baby gorillas and abused about her weight.
The 24-year-old believes harsher punishments should be administered for racist abuse in football and more support should be offered to semi-professional players like her.
But she hopes Jones, who was found by an FA hearing to have lied to “conceal wrongdoing”, can learn from her mistake.
Speaking about the incident for the first time, Hector says the abuse started with accusations of her of “playing the race card” and increased when “unflattering pictures” of her appeared online.
“The online abuse affected me really deeply, but it wasn’t just me, it affected my family and really affected my mum,” Hector told BBC Sport.
“I was just spiralling out of control, basically, I started sinking into depression because there were lots of insecurities that I had already and it was highlighted for the world to see.
“I had spent years struggling with my weight, it first started when my mum got diagnosed with breast cancer and I also tore my anterior cruciate ligament in my knee so I couldn’t play for a year.
“All the comments online sparked all those stories back in my head, and I was my own worst enemy.
“My lowest point was when I had to have a week off work, because I couldn’t physically leave my bed and didn’t really leave the house. Every time I looked in the mirror I felt disgusted with myself.”
‘Raheem Sterling shouldn’t be the only one fighting racism’
Hector says she reported the incident to the referee and her mum at half-time of the match, and she later posted a Tweet detailing what happened without naming Jones.
But despite all the online abuse, she “would do exactly the same thing again”.
“One thing I do know if I stay true to myself,” she said. “If it gets one more person off the pitch who has said something racist then I’ve done what I can to help the cause.
“Take Raheem Sterling, for example. He’s out there as a bit of an advocate to fight racism against football, but it shouldn’t just be him.
“What I went through was difficult, but I’d say don’t be scared in stepping forward because the more that people step forward, the more seriously racism will be taken.”
Since the incident, the FA has increased its sanction for racism involving players to a minimum six-game ban, but Hector said: “I think the punishment needs to be a bit stronger.
“Players need know they are going to be punished significantly, and think twice about doing it because to some people a month out from playing matches isn’t really that long.”
‘I have no hatred towards Jones’
Hector says she was “shocked” to hear racist abuse, given it is almost unheard of in women’s football.
She says she heard monkey noises just before half-time as she contested a corner.
“I was so in shock,” she said. “I thought ‘did I just hear that right?’ And then I could hear my team-mate complaining to the referee about it, so it confirmed I did hear correctly.
“I had to run back into my position but when the whistle blew [to end the half], that’s when it sunk in.
“I went to tell the referee what I heard and my team-mate confirmed it. When we got back to the changing room my team-mate told me who it was. Then I began to get a bit more emotional and angry about it.
“On the way out for the second half I told the referee who it was and she said she would listen out for anything else. Then I just had to get to get back out there and make sure I played the second half to the best of my ability.
“It was probably one of my best games of the season. So obviously I channelled my anger in the right way. It wasn’t until the final whistle that it all hit me. I felt quite emotional and just sat on the floor, reflecting on the situation.
“I couldn’t believe it because I think this is probably the only incident that’s been reported anywhere in women’s football.”
Following the FA verdict, Jones described the hearing as a “kangaroo court”, said she was quitting football and was “unable to play under an organisation that I do not have any confidence in”.
Jones has since told the BBC: “It’s been very mentally challenging. I still struggle today.
“I’ve become a lot more anxious, paranoid and people still stare at me now even though it’s in the past. What really gets me is I’ve had to give up a sport that I love due to somebody’s allegation.”
Asked how she felt towards Jones now, Hector added: “I don’t have any hatred, I just hope she’s learned from the incident and can move forward and obviously try to better herself to make sure she doesn’t make those mistakes again.
“But all the abuse and stuff like that, I wouldn’t wish on her on anybody. I don’t want a life to be ruined.
“It’s just when you do something so wrong, you deserve what comes your way in terms of the punishment by the FA. I just hope she can move forward and make a better choice.”
Players need more support
Despite leaving Tottenham, Hector says she felt supported by “individuals at the club”, her team-mates and coach.
The team, who are semi-professional, were involved in a promotion push and reached the Women’s Super League, where they will become a fully professional club.
But Hector, who will play at Championship level again with new club Charlton, says she would have benefited from access to a psychologist, as away from matches and training she was “a mess”.
“It was difficult because they didn’t have the resources, a sports psychologist or anything like that,” she said.
“In terms of counselling, the coaches offered their support but at the same time, the main concentration was promotion so it was probably quite difficult for them to completely focus their attention on me.”
She added: “Becoming a professional will always be my dream until I’m too old to run around a pitch any more.
“Hopefully we can achieve that this season.”
A former child refugee trying to track down a camp worker who bought her a bike has been inundated with offers to help trace him.
Mevan Babbakar, 29, lived in a refugee camp near Zwolle in the Netherlands for five years during the 1990s.
She posted a photo on Twitter of the “generous man” who bought her a bike “out of the kindness of his own heart” asking for help to find him.
Within 30 minutes of posting more than 100 people had retweeted the message.
Hundreds more have since offered to help, with one person claiming to know who he is.
Ms Babakar and her parents fled Iraq during the first Gulf war, travelling to refugee camps in Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Russia before spending a year at the one near Zwolle between 1994 and 1995.
The family eventually settled in London.
Asked on Twitter what she would do if she found her benefactor, she replied: “Honestly I’d cry my eyes out.
“There was so much hardship at that point in our lives and this was such a generous act, it taught me kindness can exist everywhere, no matter how terrible it may seem.”
The tech manager said her mother, who was also given a bike, believes the man was nicknamed “Ab” and he was an odd-job staffer.
He also invited the family to spend one Christmas with him at his home.
Ms Babakar has taken a sabbatical from work to retrace her refugee journey and is in Zwolle carrying out research.
But she said she has had more success with a single Twitter post.
“We have some leads, someone has said they might know him. I would love to meet him and thank him in person.
“It’s quite important for me to find him. When I go through bleak times I always go back to that feeling I had when he was so generous to us.
“Acts of kindness can shape a person and I hope I can do the same for others.”
Charlton’s players need to start believing they are worthy Championship competitors, says manager Lee Bowyer, after starting the season with successive victories.
The Addicks beat Stoke City 3-1 to join Sheffield Wednesday as one of only two second-tier teams with a 100% record after two games.
“Sooner or later they’ll start to realise that they are a good side and they do deserve to be in this league,” Bowyer, who guided Charlton to promotion via the League One play-offs last season, told BBC Radio London.
“When people keep saying negative stuff and saying we’ll get relegated, it’s tough for them.
“I’m constantly telling them that they’re good and they’ll surprise teams. If teams do underestimate us, that’ll be their choice. We’ll be professional and respect everyone we play.”
Lyle Taylor fired Charlton into the lead at The Valley, only for Tom Ince to level before half-time.
Substitute Chuks Aneke scored six minutes into his Charlton debut to restore the home lead after 75 minutes and on-loan midfielder Conor Gallagher hit a late third to seal the points.
“My lads were great again,” Bowyer added. “They keep on going and going. They’ve left everything out there and they’ve got their reward for it.
“Man for man, I thought we were stronger than them and more hungry than them. It gives you momentum and the lads are gaining confidence from these results.”
The two sides cancelled each other out in a drab opening, but Taylor broke the deadlock in the 25th minute with his second goal in as many games, collecting the ball on the edge of the box and rifling the ball into the far corner.
Taylor’s strike roused Stoke and Scott Hogan struck the crossbar before Ince snatched the equaliser, unleashing a left-foot drive that zipped into the net.
Lee Gregory squandered opportunities to put the Potters ahead either side of half-time, hitting the post and then blazing an effort over from close range after Sam Clucas had teed him up.
But Jonny Williams and Josh Cullen combined to set up summer signing Aneke, who dispatched the chance from 10 yards.
Chelsea midfielder Gallagher completed the scoring with his first senior goal seven minutes from time, finding the roof of the net after Taylor had flicked on Cullen’s corner.
Stoke City boss Nathan Jones told BBC Radio Stoke:
“We’re creating enough chances. We created 10 chances and scored one – they created four and scored three. That’s a hell of a difference and goals win games, but that’s what we’re not doing.
“We hit the post, we hit the bar – and then they’ve scored with their first chance. Second half we’re dominating the game, get a glorious chance and don’t take it and we’re hit with the sucker punch, which is frustrating.
“The third goal we got undone by a set-play, but we’re not giving ourselves a chance. People are not having to score good goals against us at the moment.
“Last year we were really sound defensively and we’re showing a little creakiness. We’ve got to be better in both boxes – in between, not a problem.”
Everton have agreed to sign forward Alex Iwobi from Arsenal in a deal worth up to £34m.
Iwobi came through the ranks at the Gunners, playing 149 times and scoring 15 goals.
The Nigeria forward is Marco Silva’s seventh summer signing.
Iwobi will join fellow new arrivals goalkeeper Jonas Lossl, defender Djibril Sidibe, midfielders Andre Gomes, Fabian Delph and Jean-Philippe Gbamin, and striker Moise Kean.
Everton had an initial bid of £30m turned down but their improved offer – reported to be an initial £28m, rising to £34m with potential add-ons – has been accepted by Arsenal.
The player is undergoing a medical in London, but a deal sheet was submitted by the 17:00 BST deadline and the transfer should be completed without a problem by the extended cut-off time of 19:00.
Iwobi featured regularly last season under manager Unai Emery, appearing in all but three Premier League games, and he scored in the Europa League final defeat by Chelsea in what was his last appearance for the club.
There is increased competition in Iwobi’s position at Arsenal following the arrival of Nicolas Pepe from Lille this summer for a club record £72m.
Iwobi now begins a new chapter of his career at Everton, as the Toffees target an improvement on last season’s eighth place finish.
In an attempt to do that, Silva has reshaped his squad over the summer with seven arrivals and nine permanent departures.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian woman jailed in Iran for alleged spying, is now in a hospital psychiatric ward, her husband says.
Richard Ratcliffe said his wife was being held by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in a Tehran hospital and the family feared she was being isolated.
It comes after Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 40, went on hunger strike for 15 days last month in protest at her detention.
She was jailed in 2016 after being convicted of spying, which she denies.
In a press release, the Free Nazanin Campaign said it was not known what treatment she was receiving or how long she was expected to remain in hospital.
Her father said he visited the hospital on Tuesday but was not allowed to see his daughter and that she has not been allowed to contact her family.
The campaign said before being transferred, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe had told relatives: “I was healthy and happy when I came to Iran to see my parents.
“Three and a bit years later and I am admitted to a mental health clinic.
“Look at me now – I ended up in an asylum. It should be an embarrassment.
“Prison is getting harder and harder for me. I hate being played in the middle of a political game. I just hate it.”
Her transfer follows her hunger strike last month in protest at her “unfair imprisonment”, during which time Mr Ratcliffe also did not eat and camped on the pavement outside the Iranian Embassy in London.
In January, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe went on a three-day hunger strike in protest against being denied specialist medical care.
Mr Ratcliffe said he had felt “euphoric” when he first heard his wife had been moved to a hospital. thinking it could be a prelude to getting treatment or even her release.
However, after her father was refused access to visit her in hospital or even allowed a phone call, the family has grown increasingly concerned.
“Are they isolating her again to squeeze her?” he said, in an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, suggesting the Iranian Revolutionary Guard may be putting pressure on her to sign various denouncements.
He said he had asked embassy officials to visit her as soon as possible.
Earlier he said it was “unnerving” not knowing what was happening, adding he would follow up the case with the next prime minister.
Earlier this year, foreign secretary and Tory leadership hopeful Jeremy Hunt granted Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe diplomatic protection in a bid to resolve her case.
In 2017 Boris Johnson, his rival to become Conservative leader and prime minister apologised after saying that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in Iran “teaching people journalism” – despite her family’s insistence she was there to visit relatives.
He also told MPs the government was in “no doubt that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in Iran on holiday and that was the sole purpose of her visit”.
He has repeatedly said the responsibility for her continued detention lies with the Revolutionary Guard.
In a statement, the Foreign Office said it was “extremely concerned about the welfare of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe”.
A spokesman said: “We urge Iran to allow family members to visit and check on her care as a matter of urgency.
“We will continue to call for her release at the highest levels.”
Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport in April 2016 and has always maintained the visit was to introduce her daughter, Gabriella, to her relatives.
The couple’s five-year-old daughter, Gabriella, has stayed in Iran with her grandparents since her mother’s arrest.
Before being transferred, she was being detained in Tehran’s Evin Prison.