Diogo Jota scores in debut as Liverpool beats Arsenal

Liverpool's Diogo Jota, centre, is congratulated by teammate Fabinho after scoring his team's third goal against Arsenal. (Jason Cairnduff/Pool via AP)

LIVERPOOL, England — Diogo Jota marked his first game for Liverpool in the English Premier League with the last goal as the champions beat Arsenal 3-1 for a third straight victory to open their title defence on Monday.

Signed this month from Wolverhampton to add depth to Liverpool’s forward options, Jota looked dangerous after coming on as a second-half substitute for Sadio Mane, and got his goal in the 88th minute with a shot from the edge of the area following a poor headed clearance from David Luiz.

Before that, Andrew Robertson atoned for an error that led to the opening goal for Arsenal by Alexandre Lacazette by scoring himself to put Liverpool in front in the 34th, capping a chaotic nine-minute period when three goals went in.

Sadio Mane equalized between those goals.

It is an ominous start to the season by Liverpool, which has already beaten Chelsea and is one of three teams on a maximum of nine points after three rounds.

Arsenal dropped points for the first time, after earlier wins over Fulham and West Ham, but will rue two big missed chances by Lacazette at 2-1.

On both occasions, Lacazette was played through one-on-one with goalkeeper Alisson, who kept out weak efforts from the French striker. Lacazette was seen hiding his head in his jersey in the dugout after being substituted soon after.

Arsenal took the lead in the 25th and the blame lay squarely with Robertson, who failed to deal with a routine cross from the right and succeeded in only setting up Lacazette to force in a scruffy finish over the stranded Alisson.

Mane got Liverpool back on level terms inside three minutes, tapping in a rebound after Mohamed Salah cut inside and sent in a shot that was parried out by goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

Then it was left for Robertson, Liverpool’s attacking left back, to make amends by getting on the end of a cross by the team’s other full back, Trent Alexander-Arnold, to control the ball with his chest and lift a deft shot into the net in the 34th.

Jota, who played in the English League Cup last week for his Liverpool debut, came on in the 80th minute and spurned a clear opportunity from Salah’s pass before finding the net to end Arsenal’s hopes.

Fulham’s defence exposed again in loss to Villa in Premier League

LONDON — Fulham maintained its unwanted record of conceding at least three goals in each game since the team’s return to the English Premier League by losing to Aston Villa 3-0 on Monday.

It is now 10 goals conceded and three defeats in three games for the promoted southwest London club after midfielders Jack Grealish and Conor Hourihane scored in the first half at Craven Cottage and defender Tyrone Mings added on soon after the break.

All the goals came from dreadful defending by Fulham, which conceded a league-high 81 goals the last time the team was in the top division, in 2018-19.

There looks to be no difference two seasons on.

Villa, on the other hand, has yet to let in a goal in this campaign having opened with a 1-0 win over Sheffield United.

Fulham manager Scott Parker switched to a five-man defence in an attempt to stem the tide of goals conceded after losing to Arsenal 3-0 and to Leeds 4-3 over the first two rounds.

Yet Grealish was allowed to race through and latch onto a ball over the top by John McGinn, before the Villa captain directed his low shot past goalkeeper Alphonse Areola after just four minutes.

Ollie Watkins, Grealish and McGinn combined to set up Hourihane to slot into the corner from 10 yards (meters) out in the 15th, with Fulham’s defenders flat-footed from a throw-in and simply pointing at each other to pick up runners.

Mings’ goal might have been the worst of the lot, from Fulham’s point of view.

Hourihane swung in a free kick from the left and Mings was left completely free to slide in and direct home a finish with his studs in the 48th.

Fulham pressed in the second half without ever looking threatening, and was denied a goal by Bobby Reid because Aleksandar Mitrovic was adjudged to have bundled over Ezri Konsa before Reid tapped in following goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez’s fumble.

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