Philippe Coutinho struck a sublime brace and Sadio Mane hit a debut winner as Liverpool produced a sensational second-half display to edge out Arsenal 4-3 in a classic Premier League opener at Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners had looked in control and deservedly led towards the end of the first half when Theo Walcott went from villain to hero in the space of 69 seconds, following up a penalty saved bySimon Mignolet with a driven shot into the far corner. But Coutinho levelled seconds before the break with a wonderful free-kick and finished off a flowing move to make it 3-1 after Adam Lallana had got the second period off to a flyer.
Debutant Mane looked to have put the icing on the cake with a wonderful solo attempt just past the hour, but the effort proved much more decisive as the Gunners ensured it was a nervy finale with further goals from substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Calum Chambers.
Arsenal are known for first-match jitters and have now won one of their last seven openers with Arsene Wenger perhaps left to rue the defensive crisis that meant he had to pair 20-year-old debutant Rob Holding with Chambers at the back. The Gunners boss left the pitch to boos at the start of his 21st season at the helm, with many predicting it will be his last.
Liverpool will be pleased with the way new signings Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum complemented the attack but the defensive question marks remain as they were forced to dig deep for a win that should have been much more comfortable at 4-1 deep in the second half.