Arsenalleap-frogged Manchester City into second-place in the Premier League, after theythrashed Liverpool comprehensively at the Emirates.

TheGunners started at a ferocious pace, but found themselves on the back foot forperiods of the first half.  They allowed Liverpool back into the game and thevisitors could have taken the lead after 18 minutes, when Lazar Markovicwas through on goal, but then overhit a pass to the unmarked Raheem Sterling,who rushed his finish and failed to hit the target.  The 20-year old cut an isolated figure upfront for Liverpool, in a week where he cast doubt on his Anfield future.

But theGunners were unstoppable in the last 10 minutes of the first – half, when theyscored three goals during an eight-minute flurry, right before the interval.  Hector Bellerin scored a terrific first goalfor Arsenal in the 37th minute, while three minutes later Mesut Ozilcurled in a left-footed free-kick.  TheGerman striker displayed one of his sublime performances, orchestrating everyaction of the game.  Arsenal’s third goalarrived in the 45th minute, when Alexis Sanchez cut in and hit a crashingshot, which was his 20th goal of the season.

At thestart of the second – half, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers made changes inthe hope for a revival; he introduced Daniel Sturridge for Markovic, but itlooked as though Arsenal were going to score a fourth through Olivier Giroud, whoplaced a fine header, which went high over the bar.

When Bellerinmade a foul on Raheem Sterling in the box, in the 76th minute, Liverpoolwere offered a lifeline.

  Jordan Henderson scored from the spot, but all thevisitors’ hopes were then sunk in the 84th minute, when they were reducedto 10 men as Emre Can picked up his second booking.

Giroud’sinjury time goal put the gloss on a fine Arsenal performance; the Gunners arethe team of the moment, after winning the last seven games on the spin. The three points move Arsenal up to second inthe table, while Liverpool are fifth with eight points behind Manchester United.

Apart from one impressive 15-minute spellin the first-half, Liverpool’s performance was poor; this will give theirmanager Rogers huge concerns ahead of Wednesday’s FA Cup replay at Blackburn.

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