Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal: Gunners top of Premier League at Christmas after battling to Anfield draw

Gabriel headed Arsenal into an early lead (REUTERS)
Gabriel headed Arsenal into an early lead (REUTERS)

Arsenal ensured they will be top of the Premier League at Christmas as they earned a 1-1 draw away at Liverpool.

Aston Villa's draw with Sheffield United on Friday night meant the Gunners knew they would remain at the summit should they pick up at least a point at Anfield, a ground where they have not win in the League since 2012.

Mikel Arteta was a player in the Arsenal side that day and he watched on more than a decade later as his side made a flying start, with Gabriel heading home from Martin Odegaard's free-kick inside the opening four minutes.

The inevitable Liverpool response came though and the hosts were level inside half an hour, as Mohamed Salah, picked out by a stunning pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold, skipped past Oleksandr Zinchenko and smashed a wonderful finish into the top corner.

Bukayo Saka went round Alisson as the Gunners threatened to regain the lead, but he couldn't get the shot away and when the ball came to Gabriel Martinelli, he dragged an effort wide.

It remained firmly in the balance throughout the second-half, Liverpool wasting the best chance to edge in front. Salah returned the favour to find Alexander-Arnold as the hosts had three men completely free in the box on the counter, but the right-back hammered a strike against the bar.

The pace of the match did not relent in the closing stages but neither side showed much desire to risk losing what they had, a point for each leaving both firmly on track for serious title challenges.

Liverpool will have the chance to go top of the table themselves when they travel to face Burnley on Boxing Day, before Arsenal host West Ham two days later.