Arsenal will have known deep down this meeting with Premier League leaders Liverpool had the potential to effectively end their Premier League title challenge – which may explain the wild celebrations that greeted victory.
It may have been too early to declare this a “must-win” match but it was certainly a “must not lose” as defeat would have left Arsenal eight points adrift of a Liverpool team who had lost only one league game on arrival at Emirates Stadium.
And, in the moments after the Gunners unpicked an outstanding first-half’s work by gifting Liverpool a farcical equaliser seconds before the break, the audible groans around the stadium and the stunned expressions on the faces of their players suggested old fears were about to be realised again.
In the first half in particular, Arsenal were more intense than Liverpool, pressed harder than Liverpool, the characteristics that have made Jurgen Klopp’s side so feared turned back on themselves.
And yet Arsenal somehow failed to hold the lead. It was the Liverpool fans who were singing during the interval.
Were Arsenal about to be undone by Liverpool again?
Instead, with the stakes so high, Arsenal showed character to overcome the doubts, regroup and – admittedly aided by some abysmal Liverpool defending wrapped up in an abysmal Liverpool performance – place themselves right at the heart of a three-way title pursuit.
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