Liverpool and Arsenal played out an eventful scoring draw at Anfield. Liverpool after being reduced to ten men displayed spirit and dogged resilience as they seemed to inch towards victory only to be denied by a momentary piece of ill luck for Pepe Reina, who conceded an own goal to gift Arsenal a point.
On a bright and sunny afternoon, both teams got off to a scrappy start vying for possession with tackles flying around. Arsenal had the first real glimpse of goal with Vermelen striking a ferocious left footed drive right into Reina’s outstretched hands. The teams then settled into a slow paced game with the midfielders fighting for the ball. Jovanovic had a half chance which he spurned due to his poor decision making. Jovanovic, although on a Bosman transfer seems like a league 2 striker at best. He was average throughout the game and Hodgson will be hoping that he steps up the plate in the coming games. Just as the half was drawing to a close without much talking points, Joe Cole lunged at Koscileny and consequently saw himself red carded. It was a reckless challenge, deserving of a yellow card but the referee sent Cole off, drawing his Anfield debut to a screeching halt.
Arsenal, with an extra man was expected to come into the second half gunning, but was thrown aback by a typical Liverpool display of determination. Down by a man, Liverpool refused to give in as they harried Arsenal defensive lines looking to latch on to any frailties. Their persistence was rewarded as Ngog released by Mascherano, struck a sweet shot to beat Almunia in his near post. Liverpool saw their lead almost double with a resulting corner, as Arsene Wenger ringed in the changes bringing in Rosiscky and Walcott for Wilshere and Eboue.Even with a superior numerical advantage, Arsenal looked off colour for most of the match as their attack was desultory and lacked definite purpose.
Liverpool was temporarily reduced to 9 men as Agger received treatment on what seemed to be a case of dehydration. Arsenal weren’t able to capitalize as Liverpool edged towards victory. As the clock ticked, Rosiscky saw a lovely shot parried off by Reina and minutes later saw Arsenal draw level. A cross was delivered by Rosicksy towards Chamakh, which the Moroccan missed and the ball bounced off Reina’s hands onto the post and reflected back into the goal off Reina again.
Arsenal goes back to London with an undeserved point and a lot to ponder about, and as far as Liverpool is concerned a number of positives emerged from the game. Fernando Torres got onto the pitch after his niggle and most importantly the famous Anfield spirit seems to be floating in the air near Merseyside.
By: Anerudh Balaji