The Liver Bird  

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Three Times Liverpool V Arsenal Was Awesome For The Neutral

It's funny, when you ask people to name classic football matches and rivalries not many people come up with Liverpool v Arsenal. In my opinion, this has thrown up some of the most exciting league fixtures of recent times.

The game often has lots of goals and although there have been times when the match has felt one-sided (see Liverpool 5 Arsenal 1, December 2018) on the whole it makes for an evenly pitched clash and I for one am looking forward to Saturday's game.

So for this post, I thought I'd take a trip down memory lane and look back on some of the close ties between the two sides.

Arsenal 3 Liverpool 3 - Friday 22nd December 2017

A cold December evening three days before Christmas saw the two sides line up with Liverpool in 4th place. The Reds needed at least a draw to remain in that position.

It was a great start for Liverpool who opened up the scoring with a rare header from Coutinho after 26 minutes. Mo Salah then went on to score early in the second half with a deflected strike. Things looked comfortable for Klopp until the Reds failed to deal with a cross from Bellerin. His effort was met by Alexis Sanchez who headed home Arsenal's first of three in six minutes.

Image via Sky Sports

Just three minutes later the Gunners had found a second thanks to a strike from Xhaka, Mignolet attempted to save but couldn't get enough on it. The Reds were well and truly under pressure now and with barely a chance to regroup, two minutes later Arsenal had scored again this time thanks to Ozil.

Liverpool looked dumbfounded but the neutrals watching across the country were chuffed this match had been the Friday night selection. It was a crazy game of football and it wasn't done yet.

Never a side to throw in the towel, Klopp's team eventually found an equaliser to keep themselves in 4th. Bobby Firmino's powerful strike was enough to beat Petr Cech and collect a draw.

Arsenal 3 Liverpool 4 - Sunday 14th August 2016

The opening encounter of the 2016/2017 Premier League season and what a belter it was. It took 30 minutes for the first goal to go in after Theo Walcott found the net for Arsenal (after missing a penalty just moments earlier) but from there on out it was goals galore.

Image via The Independent

A lovely free-kick from Coutinho gifted Liverpool an equaliser just before half time and Adam Lallana found the net to put the Reds 2-1 up after 49 minutes. Seven minutes later Coutinho scored again to increase Liverpool's lead and this was closely followed by a strong strike from Sadio Mane.

Things were looking great for the Reds but one minute later, future Liverpool starlet Oxlade-Chamberlain would score for Arsene Wenger's side. Arsenal were starting to gain momentum but despite finding another goal thanks to Chambers at 75 minutes it wasn't enough to earn them any points and on this occasion, Liverpool would walk away victorious.

Liverpool 3 Arsenal 3 - Wednesday 13th January 2016

Liverpool... and Arsenal... loads of goals? Who'd of thought it?

Yep, the two sides were at it again back in January 2016. Bobby Firmino opened up the scoring very early on for the Reds but saw his goal cancelled out when Ramsey found an equaliser.

Clearly not happy with this our Brazilian forward then scored a stunning goal from 20 yards to put Liverpool back in the lead. It was a wet and miserable January evening and neither side wanted to lose this game, Arsenal also had one eye on the title at this stage of the season.

Image via Football 365
Giroud who was influential for Arsenal then went on to score once in the first half and once in the second, Arsenal remained in front for the majority of the second half. That was until a Welsh substitute entered play.

Joe Allen was brought on for Emre Can at 82 minutes, perhaps not the most likely goalscorer, Joe converted a low drive on the stroke of 90 minutes to grab Liverpool a point and dent Arsenal's title hopes.

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Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Liverpool Versus Wenger

Arsene Wenger has been at Arsenal for 20 years... That's a bloody long time in football and during that time it's fair to say we've had several scrapes with the Gunners so in the run up to our opening league fixture on Sunday I thought it would be good to take a look back through the Wenger years.

In the time that Arsene has been in London, Liverpool have had a total of seven managers; Roy Evans, Gerard Houllier, Rafael Benitez, Roy Hodgson, Kenny Dalglish, Brendan Rodgers and of course Jurgen Klopp. As far as I am aware, Kenny Dalglish is the only one to have voiceiferously told the Frenchman to "piss off" on the touchline. Good old Kenny.

Images clockwise from top via: arsenal.com, dailymail.co.uk and mirror.co.uk
In the early days under Roy Evans (including his stint with Houllier) Liverpool picked up some strong results against Arsenal namely in the League Cup when they beat Wenger's side 4-2 in the round of 16 thanks to goals from McManaman, Fowler and Berger.

Four seems to be a number that sticks when it comes to games with Arsenal during the Wenger era, on eight occasions one or both sides have netted four goals. Perhaps the most famous incident of four goals was the one involving Andrey Arshavin. He bagged four in a single game against the Reds back in April 2009. Liverpool under manager Rafael Benitez had some tricks of their own though with Fernando Torres and Yossi Benayoun providing two goals a piece.

Arshavin now plays in the Kazakhstan Premier League...


From the Houllier years who can forget little Michael Owen in the Millennium Stadium. It was the treble season for the Reds and Arsene Wenger certainly wasn't going to stand in the way of Gerard. The FA Cup final was a highlight for Liverpool and remains an important moment from the last couple of decades against the Londoners.

The Rafa Benitez era was an exciting one at Liverpool, forever remembered for that Champions League victory in 2005 but Rafa also came across Arsene Wenger's side in 2008 in his pursuit of more European silverware.

Images from top to bottom via: mirror.co.uk and goal.com
The first leg in the quarter finals ended well for Arsenal after they collected a 1-1 draw at the Emirates but they had yet to travel to Anfield. A nail-biting game for the Reds at L4 eventually ended in a 4-2 victory. I remember the game well because I was inconsolable when when Adebayor's goal went in at 84 minutes, head in hands, refusing to look at the screen, then my fella was trying to tell me we had a peno but I just thought he was winding me up! Thankfully he wasn't. The Reds went on to get knocked out by Chelsea in the semi-final.

For Brendan Rodgers, perhaps one of his most impressive games as Liverpool boss came against Arsene Wenger on 8th February 2014.

"It was breathtaking." - Brendan Rodgers

Martin Skrtel of all people had found the back of the net after just one minute at Anfield and that really set the tone for a terrible day at the office on Arsene Wenger's part. Nine minutes later Skrtel had scored again. Most of you know of my strange love for Martin Skrtel, I couldn't believe what I was seeing, up out my seat absolutely elated, every time we had the ball we looked like we'd score. I'd never seen such a confident performance against the Gunners. A Daniel Sturridge goal and a brace from Raheem Sterling sealed the 5-1 victory.

Image via bleacherreport.com
Jurgen Klopp will walk his side out for his second meeting with Arsene Wenger on Sunday and after collecting a 3-3 draw the German will be looking to seal his first win against Arsenal. On their home turf it is always difficult and against the experienced Wenger it could be a tough start for the Reds.

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Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Potentially The Most Exciting 0-0 Draw You've Ever Seen

Image via mirror.co.uk
Ok, maybe "the most exciting 0-0 draw ever" is a bit of an exaggeration but Monday night's clash with Arsenal turned into a far better game than I was expecting for Liverpool. We have a diabolical record at the Emirates and to find myself frustrated slightly after picking up a draw says a lot about our performance in the game. If only we could have found the back of the net!

The game started very brightly for the Reds who were off the mark with a shot from Benteke in just two minutes, shortly followed by a strike that smashed off the woodwork from Coutinho it looked like Liverpool were going to punish Arsenal in the very early stages.

Just before the eight minute mark the only blip in the first half for the Reds occurred when Arsenal had put the ball in the back of the net. Aaron Ramsey was ruled offside by the linesman but on closer inspection there appeared to be little wrong with the goal.

Brendan Rodgers' side continued to build the pressure in the first half as the Gunners struggled to deal with some slick movement from the likes of Coutinho, Firmino, Milner and Benteke. Coupled with a solid defensive display and some confident runs from Clyne and Gomez Liverpool were making Arsenal look like an average side.

I haven't seen us play that well at the Emirates in a very long time but it was becoming more and more evident that despite our best efforts we just weren't going to find that all important goal. The final nail in the coffin came when Christian Benteke missed what looked like a simple shot at goal. A superb searching cross whipped in by Firmino was begging to be reached by the Belgian, he got a foot on it but Cech with a good save prevented the Reds from taking the lead. For me, he should have smashed it high into the net and over the keeper, or just put some height on it to be safe really. I don't mean to complain but I can't help but feel he could have done better there. A frustrating moment for sure.

Benteke's chance wasn't even the final of the half, at 44 minutes a shot from Philippe Coutinho looked destined to find the back of the net but Cech kept his side in the game once again with a sublime save to push the effort onto the post.

After failing to score in the first half Liverpool knew that Arsenal would benefit from the break, able to regroup and pounce on their visitors after stalling their rhythm.

Wenger's side did begin to get a foothold in the second half but the game was still scrappy (I hate that term but it describes what I saw) neither side really could maintain a strong enough grip on possession which led to rapid breaks, increasing the excitement for both sets of fans.

Alexis Sanchez hit the post at 59 minutes for the home side but just ten minutes later hearts were in mouths as Giroud's shot from close range may have won the game for Arsenal if it wasn't for the quick reactions of Simon Mignolet. Another brilliant save in a game where the goalkeepers both shone.

Arsenal continued to push but Liverpool would not let up. A special highlight should be placed on the performance from Martin Skrtel who was an absolute rock in defence getting all his tackles and aerial duals spot on throughout the 90 minutes. He's often moaned at and he definitely is prone to a mistake but the service that man has given to this club is phenomenal, proud to have him on my shirt.

And so, Liverpool were forced to settle for a point in an enthralling 0-0 draw. The plus side is that it was a fantastic performance from the Reds and they are yet to concede in the league. With West Ham up next, things are looking good for Brendan Rodgers' side.

I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweets I received:

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Saturday, 20 August 2011

We Just Can't Get Enough


Full marks for passion lad!

We're only two games into the new season and spectacular penalty miss aside Suarez is stamping smiles on Liverpool fans faces everywhere. The Uruguayan got Liverpool's second on Saturday after an Ramsey own goal.

Dalglish set up his side with Suarez originally on the bench and Dutchman Dirk Kuyt was chosen to start with big man Andy Carroll up front. For Arsene Wenger he already had an endless list of injuries and suspensions and so fielded as best a side he could, Nasri was in the starting eleven and many believe that was his last game in an Arsenal shirt.

Early proceedings appeared to favour Liverpool after some strength in attack made the gunners work hard. Emmanuel Pingpong Frimpong was an early booking for Wenger's side when tempers frayed.

Things went from bad to worse for the home side too as minutes later Koscielny limped off injured. He was replaced with Miquel.

Stewart Downing was once again providing the pace for Liverpool down the flank. He was unfortunate with some of his attempts to play Carroll through. Adam in midfield was also looking lively and some speculative long range attempts from the ex Blackpool man nearly put the Reds ahead before half time.

The second half was much of the same, Arsenal despite some renewed energy didn't pose any real threat on the Liverpool goal. Reina at every Arsenal attempt had it more than covered.

With 20 minutes still left on the clock and both teams still without a goal, it was perhaps not the best of moments for Wenger's boys to go down to ten men. Pingpong Frimpong after a rash challenge on Lucas Leiva received his second yellow and was sent walking.

I'm not sure if it would be fair to say Arsenal were missing Fabregas's leadership skills and presence in midfield, because I'm not a believer in one man making a team, but whatever was wrong with Arsenal, it needs sorting fast.

Liverpool got their first goal shortly after bringing on Suarez and Meireles. It was more involvement from the Arsenal players than our own and a comical own goal from Ramsey put Liverpool ahead. The Reds caused enough problems in the box to help put the ball in the back of the net and the momentum from here on in continued strongly.

Arsenal brought on Bendtner to try and mix things up a bit but less than 10 minutes later none other than Luis Suarez put the game to bed for the Reds.

Meireles played in by Lucas Leiva swept the ball across the Suarez who after the best efforts of the Arsenal defence still received the pass deep in the box and slotted home to put Liverpool 2 nil up.

2 goals in 2 games for El Pistolero ain't half bad and in a win over Arsenal at their home ground, a feat we haven't managed in 11 years... Well he's a kop hero already.

Ramsey had a shot late on in an attempt to redeem himself but Charlie Adam managed to get a block in. It was an uninspiring performance from Arsenal's team of apparent "sexy footballists". The one thing they used to rely on, a good flowing style of football was utterly absent today and it was a great victory for Dalglish's eleven.

Next up for Liverpool is a Carling Cup tie at Exeter. With no Europa League to worry about it would be nice if Liverpool could get to the latter stages of either the Carling Cup or the FA Cup.

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Friday, 19 August 2011

Fab Without Cesc?


Can Arsenal quickly forget their midfield maestro?
After the somewhat disappointing draw with Sunderland last week, Liverpool tomorrow will be looking to change their fortunes in this surely exciting clash with Arsenal.

The last three matches at the Emirates for Liverpool haven't been excellent. A draw and two loses only fuel the fire for Dalglish and the boys looking for all three points. Games against Arsenal tend to bring out the best in the Reds though it's just some times we appear to start with too much punch and are then unable to see out the result.

For Saturday's clash Liverpool will be without captain Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson is still a doubt. Arsenal are without new signing Gervinho who starts his three match ban along with Alex Song. Gibbs is also unavailable for manager Arsene Wenger and doubtful are Rosicky, Djourou and Traore.

Tensions in the Arsenal fan base appear to be rising of late, after Cesc Fabregas finally made his lucrative move to Barcelona, there seems to be a system in the Arsenal ranks of selling star players and not really replacing them. Add to this their hunt for some silverware since 2005 and you have a bubbling cauldron of impatience.

Arsene Wenger i feel was once a man with a plan but unlike other managers such as Alex Ferguson, over the time period, he has struggled to adapt. In my opinion Arsenal had the quality to win more titles in recent years and unfortunately the goods haven't been delivered. A win for Liverpool on Saturday would be another nail in the coffin for Arsene Wenger.

Of course, we at Liverpool aren't really ones to have a valid opinion on Arsenal's situation after suffering a similar fate ourselves. The difference is though with new investment, brilliant signings and a hero at the helm, things just automatically look brighter for Liverpool, it feels like we are building an architectural statement where as Arsenal are looking at settling down in Uncle Keown's semi detached off the Thames.

My prediction for tomorrow is a slim 2-1 to Liverpool with plenty of action in the 90 minutes and more than likely a red card. Andy Carroll was unfortunate against Sunderland and I'd fancy him to get the opener for the Reds tomorrow.

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Monday, 18 April 2011

102nd Minute Penalty Grabs Liverpool A Point

Awful sight: Jamie Carragher out cold after collision with Flanagan...

Liverpool gave 110% yesterday in a hard fought battle at the Emirates. With the thoughts looming from some fans of handing United the title it was nice to see the lads were on the same wavelength as myself and were going to strive to get the better over Arsenal.

It's a shame some fans wanted us to hand Arsenal a boost because to be honest, Arsenal have been victims of their own downfall, if we drew, lost or won yesterday Arsenal have already made so many mistakes and will probably continue to do so.

The same side put out by Dalglish would quickly become disorganised for Liverpool as the bad luck continued injury wise.

Just 20 minutes in and an injury to Fabio Aurelio who has only just come back to fitness meant he had to be replaced with youngster Jack Robinson. The teenager made an appearance at the end of last season making him the youngest to ever feature in a Liverpool first team.

With John Flanagan playing as the other full back Liverpool now had a very different looking defence. For 20 minutes the back four along with inspired performances from Spearing and Lucas kept Arsenal from putting anything past Reina.

For fans looking on, especially neutrals, the constant attacks from Arsenal looked like they may begin to take their toll on the defence. But Flanagan and Robinson were fearless, getting stuck in and flying in for tackles, the Emirates couldn't believe it. At one stage Robinson even showed Walcott a taste of his own medicine after pumping some pace into a run that the Arsenal winger would be proud of.

Arsenal's best chance of the first half was a header cleared by the cross bar. The defence and Reina were beaten and this could have been dangerous had it given Arsenal the lead with Liverpool under the cosh.

Half time was a bonus for Liverpool who looked like they needed the fifteen minutes. As good as we were in keeping the Gunnars at bay we weren't providing much in terms of attack. Attempts to get the ball up to Carroll were sometimes more detrimental than beneficial.

Early into the second half and the Reds appeared to have rectified their problems in attack when an attempt from Luis Suarez was sent just wide.

An hour in though and things took another turn for the worse. Jamie Carragher was knocked out cold after a clattering with John Flanagan's head. Horrible to watch and very scary for any player. Thankfully the number 23 was ok and apparently appeared in the tunnel at the final whistle. Hopefully he'll be ready and raring to go next match.

On came Sotirios Kyrgiakos and now the only one left in the regular back four set up was Martin Skrtel, Arsenal probably thought they would be gifted a goal with this much of a shake up but Soto is experienced and he continued as did the other 3 to block out Wenger's boys.

Just ten minutes later and Andy Carroll had seen enough, an awkward landing earlier in the match saw him twist his ankle and i think as a precautionary method Dalglish replaced the number 9 with Jonjo Shelvey.

Shelvey was now the fourth youngster on the pitch who last season wouldn't have stood a chance but all the lads put in a spectacular display alongside the regulars.

Wenger brought on Arshavin and Bendtner with 20 minutes still to go in an attempt to strengthen Arsenal's quantity in attack with the hope of some quality.

As we all know Arshavin quite fancies a goal against Liverpool but even with the fresh legs Arsenal still struggled to make a real impact in open play.

It took until the 7th minute off added time for things to change. A penalty decision after a clumsy Spearing tackle gave Arsenal a glimmer of hope. Van Persie sent his effort low to the right of Pepe Reina and the Arsenal fans thought for sure they had just bagged 3 very important points in the title race.

With the time added on after the celebrations and the booking for Van Persie removing his shirt though Liverpool had other ideas.

A free kick on the edge of the box from Suarez saw the ball remain in the area, Lucas received the ball and after a push from Eboue Liverpool were unbelievably handed their own penalty.

Some people think it was a penalty, if I'm honest i don't think it really was but the fact is Eboue had no need or reason there to even go anywhere near Lucas was what swayed it. Lucas was running away from goal and the chances of us whipping in a threatening ball after going 100minutes without any real chances was low. Eboue should have left it and just the slight push plus the way he fell on top of Lucas was enough to encourage the referee, on another day though i could see that case being denied.

Dirk Kuyt, the man i popped a quid on stepped up for the penalty. A confident strike saw Liverpool grab a point and left Arsenal wondering where they went wrong.

Emphatic celebrations from the whole team was great to see once again. At this stage i had jumped off my chair in the pub, bouncing up and down with some quality fans who were near the big screen with me. We felt vindicated after shouting all sorts at the tele when Arsenal had their penalty.

It was a penalty i thought but there was no way after grafting for 97minutes that Liverpool deserved to lose.

Somewhat unfortunately but hilariously at the same time the highlight of the game appears to be the clash between Arsene Wenger and Kenny Dalglish at the end.

Wenger already moaning as he walks over to Dalglish prompts a reaction from the Reds manager. Still approaching each other it appears Wenger makes another comment, i assume about the penalty decision to which Dalglish waves his hand in the air and apparently shouts "Piss off".

I personally thought it was hilarious and as the man said himself, we shouldn't get so worked up over what managers say to each other.

All these people on Twitter bringing up the slating Rooney got, well that's just ridiculous, for a starters Rooney swore directly down a camera after scoring a hat trick. A time when you are supposed to be happy, Dalglish swore at another manager after a disgruntled approach. I'm not saying swearing is right, of course it's not and I'm sure Dalglish is regretful but people are making a mountain out of a molehill.

If he's punished fair enough, those are the rules but I've seen the likes of Ferguson and Warnock just to name a couple of examples swear at managers and officials on an almost match by match basis so all of you that think otherwise can piss off!

Roll on Birmingham!

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Friday, 13 August 2010

This Time It's Gunner Be Different

Apr 21, 2009 - Liverpool, United Kingdom - Premier League: Liverpool 4 v 4 Arsenal.Arsenal's ANDREY ARSHAVIN second goal celebration Photo via Newscom
Ohhh shush yerself!...

I don't know about you lot but i don't fancy an early dose of smug mug Arshavin as the starter for my Premier League 5star meal do you?

It's a very strange thing because although Arshavin is clearly a good player he just seems to come alive at our glorious Anfield and i for one am just about sick of it. For Sundays fresh start under Roy Hodgson and with a team that shall have elements of surprise for Arsene Wengers boys, it may not be such a bad result.

A lot of people like myself are probably thinking we're gonna get hammered. At the same time however when you sit back and really have a good old think about things... Why can't we go and get a slim win over Arsenal? We've got some goalscorers, some game changers, we shouldn't have to fear Arsenal surely? A draw is more than feasible but it's the pundit fuelled ruling out of a win for Liverpool that i feel spurs on this negative attitude into the game.

Yes, maybe Arsenal will beat us and yes, with the continuing malarkey going on with the ownership it's hard to get more important things off your mind but let's enjoy our super Sunday clash, i for one feel we need cheering up, let's just hope the lads can provide something to smile about.

With Roy not showing any real hint as to how he is going to set up or who he is going to play it is again guess work for our first Premier League game of the season.

It's safe to say the likes of Reina, Carragher and Gerrard will be starting and if passed as fit enough El Nino himself but for the other positions Roy has many options.

New signing Poulsen could also more than likely feature, he's experienced and has already voiced his want to get going. Alberto Aquilani will also be pushing his name forward in the hope that he gets more game time this season to show his talent.

Joe Cole and Milan Jovanovic i would say will most likely be in the mix and i wouldn't be surprised if this leads to 110% man Kuyt getting a rest this week. As for the back four, the now age old dilemma of Skrtel or Agger will be in full swing but with the added influence of Kelly from the last few games and big man Kyrgiakos, it will be a difficult decision for Hodgson.

Glen, Insua and Aurelio ... You have to say that it's two out of those three who will be filling in the full back rolls if Kelly isn't selected.

Arsenal haven't been too busy in the transfer market so i assume it will be a familiar system from Emirates long stay resident Arsene Wenger. New signing Chamakh who Liverpool were very interested in is believed to be making his debut too, fans further North will surely hope that he is not as big a prodigy as once thought.

Whatever the outcome of tomorrows game, at least judging by games gone by against the gunners we know it should be an action packed 90minutes. Let's just hope Liverpool get the last laugh and get off to a good start in their 2010/2011 league campaign.

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Thursday, 11 February 2010

We Gave Arsenal Their Boost

Sports News - February 11, 2010
Just in case you missed it.

They had been outdone by United and outdone by Chelsea, unfortunately, Liverpool who make up the big four could not enforce a similar humiliation of a weak looking Arsenal side.

Before we go on though, in all honesty, was anybody realistically expecting much? Although i felt as though we "could" get a win, it was the draw that was looking more feasible and definitely acceptable, but after calming down from the result yesterday, i don't know about your selves but there is a strange feeling of "I'm not really surprised."

We have never won at The Emirates, Arsenal had a point to prove, we are lacking attacking options at the moment, throw in the loss of Kyrgiakos, the forced substitution of Jamie Carragher and Howard Webb's bad eyesight then you have a recipe for Arsene Wenger's bragging rights breakfast.

Let's not fall back on refereeing decisions, substitutions and missing players though because the performance was just not good enough.

The first half reminded me of when we faced Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux back in January, we started the first half in almost identical situations.

Passing the ball around, sitting back, happy to wait until a chance came to us, too patient to go and make something happen.

Now when you are playing a team like Wolves, this attitude can make more sense, however when you are facing an Arsenal side, known for their attacking flair, although we were the ones obviously happy to come away with a draw, this ideology would never work. We should have known Arsenal would come up trumps eventually and when it happened, it was far to late for Liverpool to change tactics and try to get one back.

The first half therefore quite predictably was lacking chances and action, the only real moments to highlight were a Maxi Rodriguez attempt that appeared to hit Vermaelen on the arm, an Arshavin chance that hit the side netting, an Arsenal sub Nasri off, Rosicky on and two cautions given to Arsenal players.

Not forgetting Jamie Carragher running around with what seemed like a split lip, blood everywhere, on the shirt on the floor, did he come off? Did he heck! He was told to change his shirt but then ran straight back onto the pitch good old fashioned English football that. What would follow in the second half for Carragher though would prove a big blow to Liverpool.

Just ten minutes into the second 45minutes and Carragher was forced off due to a tightness felt in his thigh. The problem doesn't appear to be too serious though so hopefully he will be back for the clash with Unirea.

Degen was the man who came on in replacement, now my first thoughts were of his impressive stints in past games and also the attacking aspect he could add to the game, something we clearly needed. However, it didn't turn out to be a good game for the Swiss man, unfortunately, it was mostly him to blame as result of the goal to come.

Thomas Rosicky who had earlier took a terrible second touch on his run into the box and blew a fantastic chance for Arsenal made sure that he could redeem himself. He produced a great cross which was met by a free in space Diaby and Reina was beaten.

Degen who was too far forward when the attack was coming in did track back, and because he is pacey he made it back in time, thing was though he was nowhere near his position, he should have been covering Clichy who was on the left of the picture and although he had hawk eyes on the man miles away from him, even when Kuyt spotted the problem and covered Clichy for Degen he didn't pick up on the forward pushing Diaby and was left standing to watch the header go into the back of the net.

Despite this, and without denying that Degen did have a poor game, fact is, you can't win games without scoring and you can't get a draw from 1-0 without doing that either, and let's be true, we never really looked like getting anything past Almunia.

Our best chance in the second half came from Ryan Babel, no denying this, full credit given although still, i don't see enough in his full game to reason his choice before say the likes of Riera. He did very well to get his chance in though a powerful run and then a snapshot effort which saw the Arsenal goalkeeper tip it onto the cross bar.

Our final and only hope of an equalizer was the last kick of the game, Steven Gerrard lines up for a free kick, if there was anyone on the pitch that could spark a miracle it was him. A fantastic take which was almost certainly goal bound was then saved by Cesc Fabregas's hand.

Well done.

I'm not going to sit back and complain but the camera never lies, ball + Fabregas's hand = Howard Webb is blind.

With Man City up next, we could seriously do with beating them. Although we still find ourselves 4th in the league, above Mancini's side on goal difference, they do still have 2 games in hand. City have been dropping some silly points though and there is no denying that a win here would allow our confidence to continue despite this loss to Arsenal.

One to forget i'd say, time to look forward to Unirea and the prospect of some silverware for Liverpool.

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Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Can Liverpool Shoot Down Gunners?

How punditry can change within the space of... A month?

December was a pretty shoddy month for Liverpool, heads were hanging, confidence was low, we'd been knocked out the Champions League, beaten by Portsmouth and beaten by Arsenal. With things beginning to hit a new low it was Arsenal who were on form winning 5 out of their 6 Premier League fixtures that month.

Now were into February though it appears the tides have turned.

Arsenal are now showing the poor results including a draw with Everton (pah!), loss to Stoke and they have failed to beat either of their big rivals in Chelsea and Manchester United.

Even looking at our own season we can still say we have beaten United, beaten Stoke and also got a draw. Not to mention our double over the bluenoses, yet it's Arsenal who's decline continued to be ignored, pundits remained confident that they would still find themselves in a title race despite all the warning signs.

Warning signs such as their inability to defend pacey counter attacks, even though Arsenal boast one of the best goals for totals in the league, it is clear their other weaknesses were becoming more apparent.

But no.

Liverpool are incapable of going on an unbeaten run they said, Spurs or Manchester City are the most likely to take that fourth spot they said, Arsenal could mount a serious challenge they said, Wenger they praised, Arshavin they applauded...

And now where are they?

3rd in the table, 7 points off United, 9 points off Chelsea and the mighty Reds next up on their fixture list.

So lets look at this properly, it was Liverpool who were questioned when the fixture lists for January and February were examined, would they be able to beat 4th spot challengers Spurs? Could they do they double over an Everton side in good form?

Arsenal on the other hand...

Oh of course Arsenal can give Manchester United and Chelsea a run for their money in both those fixtures, what with all that fire power despite having no real striker at the moment, yes, they'll fend fine against attacks, a draw is highly feasible etc etc.

As much as it pains me to say it though United humiliated them, and this followed by Chelsea doing pretty much the same. Letting in 5 goals from the two matches and their only sense of fight being shown in the consolation goal against United, confidence in Wenger's team has only now began to filter out.

And why is this? Because quietly in the background Liverpool had been grinding out the points, game after game after game, whilst the likes of Villa, City, Spurs and Arsenal all began to falter, our boys had been showing the stamina. So much so that on Wednesday night, if we can beat a poor looking Arsenal side of recent, they will no longer be looking up, they will be looking directly behind them.

Liverpool would find themselves 1 point behind the Gunners providing they could walk away from The Emirates with all 3.

With Man City next up in the league, a win over them and we could find ourselves challenging successfully for 3rd! Never mind that coveted 4th spot.

It amazes me how "all of a sudden" the support for Liverpool has come back, the faith and belief from pundits has instantly come flooding back for a dribble of backing and praise after the Everton game. Well, we don't want it...

A good analyst of football would have noted beforehand to not rule out a Liverpool push and run, but Andy Gray and Jamie Redknapp are more concerned in following a Sky media bandwagon, "Oooo the propaganda of highlighting a none existent Liverpool crisis is of utmost importance, never mind Arsenal's almost imminent fall from grace."

The fact is, they all knew it was possible, and now that it has actually happened, it has come back and quite simply bit them on the arse.

They aren't going to hold their hands up and say i thought Liverpool had no chance, just as they aren't going to be left out of the hype knowing that Liverpool could now find themselves leap frogging Arsenal.

So for this and several other reasons, more obviously the extent of the rewards, i sincerely hope we can come away with 3 points.

Liverpool are still without star men; Fernando Torres, Glen Johnson and Yossi Benayoun. Arsenal are without the likes of Eduardo, Van Persie, Gibbs, Vela, Merida and Djourou.

Liverpool will also be without the massive impact of Kyrgiakos, this could prove to be a problem but the defence as a unit of late has been very good, still scrappy, but nevertheless they have continued to get the job done, conceding only 1 goal in the last 5 games.

In terms of team fielded, I'm not quite sure what Rafa will go for, as many people noted after the Everton clash, it was clear he opted for Masch and Lucas in midfield perhaps due to the physical nature of the game, goals were not going to be scored by skill or flair, that was a fact. However this time out, i feel Aquilani could possibly be of better use.

As for the wing, again, i think against a team like Arsenal we may see Riera started and then Rodriguez used as the late sub.

Back four i should imagine will be Carragher, Skrtel, Agger and Insua. Kuyt will almost certainly start along with Gerrard, whether Kuyt will be on the right, behind the striker, or even take the roll of lone striker, i don't know, it's all left to guess work.

Should be a very good match, especially due to all this build up, knowing what a win could do, i unfortunately am working Wolves v Spurs, so just like the first Merseyside derby this season, i have literally got to "dash" home in order to try and catch at least some of the first half, should definitely be back for second half though so all hope is not lost. Fully charged phone i feel will need to be required for constant scoreline updates until i manage to get in front of the TV.

Enjoy folks.

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