Dress rehearsal defeat for Arsenal
Arsenal lost Saturday evening's dress rehearsal for the Champions League last sixteen return against FC Bayern. The Gunners failed to take points in the race for direct qualification for the Champions League, losing 3-1 away to Liverpool on Premier League Matchday 27. Their sixth league defeat so far this term means Arsenal have 50 points and are fifth in the table, whereas Liverpool now have 52 points, moving up to third. The 53,146 crowd at Anfield saw former Hoffenheim forward Roberto Firmino put the home side in front early into the contest, Sadio Mané doubled the lead before half-time. Danny Welbeck pulled one back before the hour-mark, but Georginio Wijnaldum closed out the meeting in injury time. Arsenal entertain Bayern on Tuesday evening. The German record champions won the first leg 5-1.
Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger had to make do without world champion Mesut Özil, sidelined with illness, while top striker Alexis Sánchez (17 goals) started on the bench. Aaron Ramsey returned to the squad after recovering from injury, but failed to get off the bench.
Liverpool dominated proceedings in the first half, and had chances to make it more than two before half-time. On came Sánchez and Arsenal went straight onto the front foot, Sánchez inviting Welbeck to pull one back. It was an exiciting contest before Wijnaldum closed out the meeting with the final whistle imminent.
Arsenal line-up against Liverpool
Cech - Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal – Coquelin (Sánchez 46), Xhaka - Oxlade-Chamberlain, Iwobi, Welbeck (Walcott 74) – Giroud (Lucas Pérez 74)