Liverpool stun Arsenal - Ibrahimovic stars for Man United
A rampant Liverpool came from behind to beat Arsenal 4-3, while Manchester United began their new era under Jose Mourinho with a 3-1 win at Bournemouth in their opening games of the English Premier League season yesterday.
Theo Walcott put Arsenal ahead at Emirates Stadium, but his side was soon overwhelmed after Liverpool levelled through Philippe Coutinho on the stroke of half-time and then raced into a 4-1 lead after the break.
Hit by injuries to Arsenal's first-team regulars, a youthful second-string defence was torn to pieces by Liverpool's fluent passing and clinical finishing in the second half. Classy goals by Adam Lallana, Coutinho, and Sadio Mane put the Reds in control, before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Calum Chambers scored to give Arsenal hope.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp, in his first full season in charge, saw both sides of a sensational result.
"Scoring four goals is wonderful. Conceding three is the opposite of that emotion," he said. "It was hard work but a deserved win in the end. It feels brilliant at the moment, actually.
"We were far away today from showing our whole quality," he added, "but we showed a few nice signs, a few not-so-nice signs."
The signs were not so encouraging for Arsenal, who already look to be struggling to meet fans' expectations after finishing as runners-up to Leicester last season.
With his team booed off the pitch, as much for the club's lack of new signings as for another season-opening defeat, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger pointed to Coutinho's equaliser as the turning point.
"Of course we are bitterly disappointed," said the Frenchman, who will mark his 20th year in charge next month. "It was a contrast between the two halves. We lost this game for many reasons, and one of them is (the impact) of Liverpool making it 1-1 just before half-time."
Wenger also highlighted the absentees in defence - Gabriel Paulista, Per Mertesacker, and Laurent Koscielny - while agreeing on the need to be ready for the first game of the season.
"But we are not stupid," Wenger said. "We prepared well the players we have in, but I think you have to consider we have been a bit unlucky as well ... . You have to sometimes accept that you cannot control absolutely everything."
There was no need for such excuses from Mourinho, whose first league game in charge of United was a far more comfortable affair and included a fine goal by 34-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic on his Premier League debut.
Juan Mata opened the scoring five minutes before half-time, and captain Wayne Rooney headed United's second in the 59th before Ibrahimovic rifled home a shot from 25 yards. Adam Smith later scored Bournemouth's consolation goal.
Mourinho was delighted with the victory and the performance from Ibrahimovic, whose role at United is expected to go beyond just his performances on the pitch.
"The first thing I can tell you is that at his table for breakfast and his table for meals, he is surrounded by the young ones, surrounded by the kids," Mourinho said. "Luke Shaw, Marcus Rashford, these are the guys that are with him on the table. So he knows what he can be for them.
"But for the team, you have to forget the passport, you have to forget 34 years old, because the body and the mentality is not of a 34-year-old guy. So, I think he's at the top of his qualities."
Chelsea host West Ham in a London derby today.