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Liverpool (Torres 49′, 72′, Benayoun 56′, 90′ + 3) 4-4 Arsenal (Arshavin 36′, 67′, 70′, 90′)
Stadium: Anfield Stadium, England
Competition: English Premier League
Date: 21 April 2009
Kickoff: 20:00 GMT, 15:00 ET
Arsenal and Liverpool fought to an exciting 4-4 draw that was enough to take Liverpool to the top of the Premiership! Soccerlens brought you the action live! Click below for the live-blog and feel free to leave comments!
Liverpool and Arsenal will both limp into this match with key personnel missing. Liverpool, despite not having played since they were knocked out of Europe by Chelsea, will not have their captain, Steven Gerrard, as he is still recovering from a groin injury. They were able to defeat Blackburn, 4-0, without him, and made a great showing against Chelsea with their skipper on the bench. Nevertheless, against a quality team like Arsenal, they’ll need all their best available players, and losing Gerrard is a huge blow. Especially if, according to some reports, he’s going to be out the rest of the month.
Then again, Liverpool might not have much to fear from this Arsenal squad. Despite playing well over the last couple of months, Arsenal will limp into this match without many of their top players. Their patchwork defense should get a boost as Bacary Sagna should be available after recovering from a virus, however, Gael Clichy and long-term absentee Willam Gallas will remain sidelined. Additionally, anyone who saw Fabianski in goal over the weekend should be relieved as Manuel Almunia should be back and ready to go. However, their strikeforce of Robin Van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor will both miss out due to injuries suffered against Chelsea over the weekend. As such, Arsenal, who were already playing with a makeshift defense, will have to make due with a patchwork offense as well. It could be a difficult mountain to climb for Wenger’s boys, however, Liverpool would be wise not to sleep on the likes of Fabregas, Arshavin, and Nasri.
Who will win between these two Premiership powers? Will Liverpool defeat a depleted Arsenal and keep the pressure on Manchester United at the top of the table? Or will Arsenal rise to the occasion and punish a Gerrard-less Liverpool squad? Tune in and find out!
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher (c), Agger, Aurelio, Alonso, Mascherano, Benayoun, Kuyt, Riera, Torres.
Subs: Cavalieri, Dossena, Babel, Lucas, Ngog, El Zhar, Skrtel.
No Gerrard means that Carragher will lead his team out of the tunnel. Only two changes from the side that lost to Chelsea last week as Agger will come in for Skrtel to partner Carragher in the heart of the defense, while Lucas drops the bench in favor of Riera.
Arsenal: Fabianski, Sagna, Toure, Silvestre, Gibbs, Arshavin, Song Billong, Fabregas (c), Denilson, Nasri, Bendtner.
Subs: Mannone, Diaby, Eduardo, Vela, Walcott, Ramsey, Eboue.
Arsenal fans were hoping that Almunia would be fit in time to start this match. No such luck, and they’ll have to hope that Fabianski has recovered from his horrendous outing on Saturday. Sagna returns to the lineup, which moves the People’s Choice, Emmanuel Eboue, to the bench. Bendtner will start in place of Adebayor while Arshavin will come in to replace Van Persie, and Nasri will replace Diaby.
Minute by Minute
90′ + 6 Fabregas puts it into the net, but he’s ruled offside. Reina kicks it into the Arsenal box, and Liverpool are yelling for a handball on Diaby, but no call! There’s the whistle and we’re done! What a great match and both of these squads really showed their quality here today (except on defense). Thanks to everyone who followed along and apologize for the technical difficulties. Hopefully, I can get a free month or two out of Setanta…
90′ + 3 GOAL! Reina comes up for the corner, but Arsenal knock it away. Liverpool come back and Arbeloa heads it towards the center of goal. Torres flicks it back to Benayoun and he puts it into the net past a helpless Fabianski! What a match!
90′ + 2 Arsenal’s defense goes to sleep as Benayoun finds an unmarked El Zhar on the right edge of the box. He sends in a shot and Fabianski makes a good save to concede the corner.
90′ + 1 Diaby is on for Bendtner. Agger takes a spill, but no foul.
90′ GOAL! Gibbs has trouble clearing the ball away and it’s out for a corner. Aurelio’s corner gets punched away by Fabianski and Arsenal have a great breakaway chance as Walcott goes off to the races. Liverpool’s defense is stretched thin and Walcott centers it to Arshavin. He sets up his left foot and he easily beats Reina yet again! Wow!
89′ Bendtner gives it away and Babel keys the counterattack. He tries to give it to Benayoun on the edge of the box, but he loses it. Walcott with a cross from the right edge of the box towards Bendtner in front of goal, but Carragher gets the crucial touch on it.
88′ Carragher tries another shot from long-range and it’s a bad sign for your offense if he’s the one that’s taking those shots.
87′ Arshavin gets it and makes a run towards the center of the box. He has Bendtner on the left, but he plays it to Walcott down the right. Can’t blame him for making that decision. Walcott tries a shot, but it’s over the bar.
86′ Song tries to send the pass to Arshavin, but it’s long and out for a Liverpool throw. Meanwhile Kuyt is off for El Zhar.
85′ El Zhar is getting ready for Liverpool.
84′ Nasri tries a shot from long-range, but it’s well wide of the post and doesn’t trouble Reina at all.
83′ Alonso sends in the corner and Fabianski punches it out to Carragher. He tries a shot from long-range, but let’s just say that he isn’t paid to score goals and leave it at that.
82′ Babel wins a corner and Liverpool nearly converts as Torres heads it to the far post and it beats Fabianski, but Gibbs is there to clear it off the line! It’ll be another corner to Liverpool.
80′ Benayoun wins a free kick from about 30 yards out as he gets run over. Alonso then fires a shot that’s well over the crossbar. Poor effort there.
78′ Arbeloa with a great cross into the center of the box towards Benayoun, but it’s just behind him and he can’t get his shot off. Sagna gives it away, but then does well to recover and knock it away from danger.
77′ Torres nearly gets another chance as he gets into the box, but Toure is able to knock it away. Torres keeps chasing it, but Fabianski is able to dive on it.
76′ Aurelio fouls Arshavin with a hard tackle. That’s one way to stop him.
74′ Riera is off for Babel. Meanwhile, Bendtner finds the back of the net, but he’s offside. At least he hit the target…
72′ GOAL! Let there be goals! And there were goals! Torres gets the ball from Riera inside the box, and he turns Silvestre inside out. Man, he’s been terrible today, hasn’t he? Torres then fires it past Fabianski and it’s all tied up!
70′ GOAL! Oh my God! Nasri makes a great run along the edge of the box and sends a poor cross from deep down the left flank. Aurelio makes a mess of his clearance and it’s right to Arshavin in the box. He then lets loose with another shot and it beats Reina! Hat trick for Arshavin and even he can’t believe it! Wow!
68′ It’s a cracking match now! That goal, literally, came out of nothing. I still can’t believe he scored there! Now we see what all the fuss was about regarding Arshavin.
67′GOAL! Wow! Carragher heads it down towards Arbeloa, but he can’t handle it. Arshavin then pounces on it and beats Arbeloa into the box, where he unleashes a rocket of a shot that beats Reina to the far post! What a great goal and Arsenal would be lost without him today!
66′ Arshavin gives away a foul and Liverpool will have another free kick opportunity, this time from the left wing near the touchline. Liverpool send it in, but Fabianski is fouled as he tries to collect it at the far post.
65′ Walcott is getting ready to come in, and is it too little too late? Denilson (I forgot he was even playing) will come off for him.
64′ Alonso’s corner is knocked away, but Liverpool keep it. Benayoun gets it deep down the right, so deep that he’s flagged offside. He’s not happy about it, but the video shows that he was clearly off. Gerrard would disagree, I’m sure.
63′ Riera makes a strong run down the left, and his cross is deflected out for a corner.
62′ They play it short and Arbeloa eventually sends a cross from the right flank to Torres, who makes the turn on the edge of the box. He fires a tame effort on target, and Fabianski easily saves it.
61′ Sagna catches Riera with an elbow, and he gets booked for the foul. Liverpool will have another free kick opportunity, this one a little further out, but closer to the center of goal.
59′ Alonso’s effort goes wide of the post and Fabianski will kick it away.
58′ Riera is fouled from about 35 yards out along the left edge of the box by by Toure.
56′ GOAL! More shakiness from Arsenal as Silvestre with a nervy pass back to Fabianski, and his clearance only goes as far as Kuyt. He then makes the run from the right flank and sends a great cross to the far post to Benayoun. He heads it on target and Fabianski clears it off the line. Or does he? Webb rules that it crossed the line and he awards Liverpool the goal! On the replay, it’s clear that it crossed the line, so great call from Webb. What a massive goal and Arsenal have fallen apart here.
54′ Great response by Liverpool, and I haven’t seen much from Arsenal that would indicate that they have a chance at re-taking the lead. I wonder if Rafa made the “that’s all folks” hand signal after Torres’ goal.
53′ Another giveaway by Arsenal (I think it was Fabregas this time), but Silvestre comes out and actually does well to put it out for a Liverpool throw.
52′ More nervy defending from Silvestre as he nearly gives it away under intense pressure from Torres. Fabianski is able to kick it away for a Liverpool throw, but Arsenal’s defense is clearly making Liverpool’s task much easier for them.
51′ Nice ball into the box for Riera, but it takes a bad bounce and he can’t handle it. It bounces forward to Mascherano, but he’s offside.
49′ GOAL! Terrible giveaway from Sagna as he muffs his clearance and it goes right to Kuyt on the right edge of the box. He basically crossed it to Kuyt there! Kuyt sends a great cross to the far post where Torres gets a free header that easily beats Fabianski to the lower-lefthand corner! That didn’t take long…
47′ Corner is out to the left edge of the box where Aurelio waits for it. He tries to volley it, but he shanks it wide and it’s out for a goal-kick.
46′ No changes for either side at halftime. Liverpool kick off and we’re underway! Torres gets it deep down the right, but Gibbs closes him down well and Torres only manages a weak shot on goal that Fabianski easily saves. Benayoun then wins a corner.
46′ Despite ample video evidence to the contrary, Steven Gerrard is convinced that Fabregas was offside. Not that he’s biased or anything…
Well, it was an eventful first half (based on what I watched, of course), and while Liverpool have had more chances, Arsenal hold the first-half lead. Arsenal have had some anxious moments in the back, and their offense has yet to really click into gear. However, Fabianski is playing much better and has done well to keep Liverpool out of the net. Of course, we all know what Liverpool are capable of, and I’d be shocked if they didn’t come back in the second half.
45′ One minute will be added on. Good chance for Liverpool as Benayoun makes a great run into the box. He flicks a back-heel to Riera, and he sends a dangerous cross to the far edge of the box. Arbeloa then tries a shot, but Fabianski makes the comfortable save. There’s the whistle and we’re at halftime!
44′ Messy defending on the corner as Fabianski gets stranded at his near post. It’s out for a throw and Liverpool come back as Benayoun gets a good header that is just over the crossbar.
43′ Torres tries to flick it past Silvestre as he tries to go around the defender, but he hits his own face. Liverpool come back and Kuyt’s pass to Benayoun is slightly behind him. Torres tries to shoot, but it’s out for a corner.
40′ Fabianski is out to collect the corner. Liverpool come back and Fabianski gets his signals crossed with Silvestre. The former Man Utd. man’s back-pass is poor, and Fabianski is just able to knock it away before any harm came of it. Not a good showing by Silvestre today.
39′ Riera gets down deep the left flank. He sends a dangerous cross towards the center of goal, but Silvestre knocks it out for the corner. The corner goes out off Toure for another one.
38′ Benayoun gets it in the Arsenal box and he turns Silvestre inside-out. He then fires a hard shot on goal that Fabianski saves.
37′ Carragher and Co. thought Fabregas was offside. On the replay, it looks like he was just on-side and timed his run perfectly. Great no-call from the officials.
36′ GOAL! Nasri loses it near the corner flag, but Mascherano then gives it away on the edge of his box. Terrible mistake by the Argentine as Fabregas picks his pocket and gives it back to Nasri. He sends it forward to Fabregas, who is deep down the right edge of the box, and he centers it to Arshavin. The Russian then fires a shot that beats Reina and strikes the underside of the crossbar but bounces over the line for the score! Arshavin motions to the crowd to be quiet, and Anfield seems shocked. What a huge goal!
34′ Fabregas goes down from the Carragher challenge, and Alonso puts it out of play. Carragher gives his teammate an earful, as he is less-than-convinced by Fabregas’ display. So is Howard Webb, who tells the Arsenal skipper to get on with it.
33′ Arshavin bursts past Arbeloa, but he shanks his cross off his own leg. He’s down on the pitch wincing, but I think the only thing that’s hurt is his pride.
31′ Liverpool win a corner, and let’s see what they can do here. Great chance on the corner as Agger heads it past a stranded Fabianski, but Nasri clears it off the line. Looked like it was going wide, but still a great play from Nasri.
30′ Reina plays it long to Benayoun, and he nearly gets on the end of it. However, Fabianski comes out and confidently takes it away before Benayoun can do anything with it. Torres then comes back with a hard shot from the edge of the box, and Fabianski makes a great diving save to keep it out. He can’t hold on, but Silvestre kicks it away from danger. Much better showing from Fabianski today.
29′ Great chance for Arsenal as Gibbs cross from the left wing causes Arbeloa and Reina problems. They collide and the ball goes out to Fabregas on the right edge of the box. He slides it to an unmarked Bendtner at the far post, but it’s just beyond his grasp. That was close.
28′ Benayoun with a nice run into the box, and he wins a corner off Song. Nothing doing on the corner and Arsenal go on the counterattack.
27′ Arsenal get a free kick deep down the right wing. Nasri sends it towards the far post, but it’s long and wasteful.
26′ Bendtner tries a fancy back-heel to Nasri, but it’s slightly behind him. Back the other way as Kuyt gets a long-ball on the edge of the box, and he collapses in a heap after Silvestre glances his arm off Kuyt’s head. No foul, though, and Webb motions to Kuyt to get up.
24′ Poor back pass from Gibbs nearly puts Silvestre in a terrible position. He is able to kick it away before Torres can pounce on it, though.
22′ Alonso’s free kick into the box is headed away by Silvestre. Riera gets it on the edge of the box, but he doesn’t see Nasri sneak up behind him and take it away.
21′ Silvestre fouls Torres and he’s called over by Howard Webb and given a warning. Alonso will send in the free kick from about 40 yards out.
19′ Corner goes to Torres in the box, and he heads it but it goes straight up into the air. More pressure on the Arsenal goal as they can’t clear the ball away from danger. Fabianski with a weak punch of the ball that only makes things worse. Ultimately, they are able to win a throw.
18′ Alonso tees it up to Torres on the edge of the box. He delivers a great shot on goal that Fabianski manages to tip over the crossbar.
16′ Good passing between Fabregas, Bendtner, and Arshavin and the Russian nearly gets a chance in the box. However, Benayoun does a good job to track back and knock it away from danger.
14′ Long pass down the right flank for Torres, and he still looks like he’s limping from the earlier challenge. He takes another hard tackle from Toure, and that shouldn’t make things easier for him. Mascherano tries a long-range effort from the edge of the box, but it’s well wide of the post.
13′ Promising Arsenal counterattack is cut out when Sagna’s pass down the right flank towards Nasri is long. Aurelio clears it away from danger.
12′ Bendtner tries to send a long pass to Fabregas, but he can’t get past Carragher. Back the other way as Gibbs knocks it away from Benayoun deep down the right flank for a Liverpool throw.
10′ Sorry folks. This is the worst time I’ve had since I started doing this. Hopefully that should be the end of it. I’m more wound up that Wayne Rooney before a Liverpool match. Anyway, Kuyt threads a great pass through to Benayoun, but Fabianski comes out and does well to take it away. That should make Arsenal fans feel better about their keeper.
6′ Okay, I’ve managed to get a feed going. Torres is on the pitch and is complaining of an ankle injury. He’s limping off now, and Liverpool are royally screwed if he’s hurt.
0′ Ever since Setanta upgraded their video, I’ve had nothing but problems.
0′ Bear with me folks. I’m having problems with my Setanta feed.
0′ If Liverpool can win this match, then they could be in pole-position for the Premiership crown. They’ll have 5 fixtures left: Hull City (a), Newcastle (h), West Ham (a), West Brom (a), Tottenham (h). They could easily win all five of those matches, and, most importantly, they won’t have to worry about Europe. Meanwhile, Manchester United will have a much tougher schedule as they still have matches against Arsenal, Tottenham, and Manchester City, as well as the Champions League Semis against Arsenal.
0′ Here’s an interesting stat to ponder. Arsenal are on their longest unbeaten Premiership streak since the “Invincibles” Era.
0′ Oh yeah, the last time these two teams played one another, it was an eventful 1-1 draw that featured Emmanuel Adebayor’s controversial sending off, Cesc Fabregas’ knee injury that kept him out until only recently, seven yellow cards (and many, many more whistles) from Howard Webb (who will be our ref today, woohoo!), and Robbie Keane scoring his biggest goal in a Liverpool shirt. Hopefully, today’s match will be every bit as compelling as December’s was.
0′ Arsene Wenger has refused to rule out a title challenge from the Gunners. I’m not sure I share his optimism. With a depleted squad, a tough European fixture coming up against Manchester United, and remaining League matches against Chelsea and Manchester United (in addition to today’s clash with Liverpool), I think it’s simply a bridge too far for them. The biggest effect they’ll have on the race will likely be as a spoiler.
0′ Welcome to Soccerlens’ live coverage of the English Premier League! Today, we’ll be bringing you the huge clash between Liverpool and Arsenal! I’m Victor and I’ll be your liveblogger! I’m watching this match on Setanta Broadband. For information on how to access that fine service, feel free to consult this article. Click here for other, free, options.
No Gerrard? No Van Persie and Adebayor? Who needs them? We sure didn’t, as we were treated to one of the most exciting matches of the season. It looked like Liverpool’s title chances had taken a huge hit, but once again, Yossi Benayoun scored in stoppage time to save his club. Liverpool can certainly relish this draw, and argue, justifiably, that these are the kinds of results that you need if you want to be champions. However, when they break down this tape, they’ll have a lot to be upset about. Their defense played very poorly and sloppily gave the ball away. Arshavin was brilliant for Arsenal, but three of his four goals came about due to mistakes by the Liverpool defense. Plus, you could argue that they never should have been in this position at all, what with all of Arsenal’s injuries, abysmal defending from Silvestre and Sagna, and a poor effort from Fabregas. Still, it says a lot about their character that they never gave up and were able to salvage a point from this match.
As for Arsenal, they have a lot to be proud of, despite the fact that they couldn’t hold on to the lead. They were severely undermanned and Silvestre seemed intent on helping Liverpool take all three points. However, they rose about that and earned the point. Arshavin justified Wenger’s faith in him and Fabianski put Saturday’s effort out of his mind as he single-handedly kept Arsenal in the match during their shaky first half. However, they have serious problems on defense, and if they don’t get things straightened out, then they’ll struggle to hold on to fourth place, let alone challenge for the title. Even if Clichy comes back and plays well (and he’s been struggling all year), they still have a gigantic hole in the center where Gallas’ absence will loom large for the rest of the season.
Man of the Match:
Four goals at Anfield. That’s all you need to say. Torres had a good game, as did Benayoun. But they didn’t score four. Arshavin did, and he just made everyone who questioned Wenger’s acquisition of him (myself included) look stupid.
A look at what makes the Liverpool – Arsenal rivalry so special.