Arsenal slumped to a opening day defeat no thanks to a Philippe Coutinho superb display which ensured Liverpool ran out 4-3 winners over the Gunners at the Emirates stadium on Sunday.
Walcott opened scoring on the half-hour before Coutinho levelled seconds before half-time with stunning free-kick. Lallana netted moments after the break and Coutinho added Reds’ third on 54 minute.
Mane and Oxlade-Chamberlain traded goals in quick succession before Chambers made it 4-3 with glancing header.
Rob Holding lined up alongside Calum Chambers at the heart of defence for Arsenal with new captain Per Mertesacker, Gabriel and Laurent Koscielny all unavailable.
Wenger’s rather more high profile summer signing, Granit Xhaka, started on the bench with Mohamed Elneny alongside Francis Coquelin in midfield. Alexis got the nod at centre forward with Walcott edging out Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for a place on the right.
Sadio Mane, Ragnar Klavan and Georginio Wijnaldum made their Premier League debuts for Liverpool having been included in Jürgen Klopp’s first line-up of the new campaign, while Alex Manninger, Joel Matip and Marko Grujic are on the bench.
There were encouraging early touches from Walcott and promising link-up play between Alexis and Iwobi. Then there was Aaron Ramsey, transmitting his Euro 2016 form into the Premier League.
Ramsey latched onto Alexis’ clever touch to fire straight at Simon Mignolet, and made umpteen forward runs to give his team-mates a penalty-box target.
Liverpool looked lively on the break with Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane, allied to the forward bursts of Nathaniel Clyne. The right back got a shot away but it was straight at Petr Cech.
This was a game of few chances but there was a glorious one in the 28th minute. Walcott was tripped as he wriggled away from Alberto Moreno, got up to take the penalty himself – and was denied by Mignolet’s flying save.
Redemption was almost instant. Iwobi picked out Walcott on the corner of the box with a crisp diagonal pass, and he found the bottom corner with an expert finish.
Georginio Wijnaldum had a decent chance to equalise but his side-footed effort was well saved by Cech. Arsenal’s captain for the day could get nowhere near the next one – a pearler of a free-kick from Coutinho.
Arsenal had bossed most of the first half. Within 11 minutes of the restart they were staring defeat in the face. Liverpool stepped up their pressing game, Arsenal were forced back, and Coutinho took full advantage. His deft flick played in Wijnaldum down the left, and his cross was chested down by Lallana and fired past Cech.
It got much worse. Clyne raced down the right and fizzed in a low cross that Coutinho flicked past Cech after getting ahead of Holding. Then Mane twisted and turned past two defenders before crashing a shot into the top corner. Brilliant from Mane; misery for Arsenal.
By now Oxlade-Chamberlain was on for Iwobi and he gave the home side a flicker of hope with a wonderful solo goal. The substitute burst in between two defenders and cut inside a third before shooting past Mignolet, helped by a minor deflection.
Xhaka made his debut with Arsenal still deep in trouble, but Chambers’ flicked header from Cazorla’s free-kick set up a grandstand finish.
Liverpool were rocking, but the Gunners had left themselves too much damage to repair. For the fifth time in six years, an opening-day win has eluded them.
The result leaves Arsenal below the top ten spots on the log while Liverpool have now joined the likes of Manchester City, Hull City and other match-day one winners in the top half of the table.