LIVERPOOL 2-2 ARSENAL
If there is something wrong with the scoreline, who are you gonna call?
When the Reds need someone to score through headings, who are you gonna call?
Well, it does look like Liverpool are back on their feet! With 10 men and 2-1 down, until the 90th minute, it looked like Liverpool’s bad run would be continuing despite having played fairly well. But, then came Skrtel, who perfectly headed goal in the sixth minute of added time to earn a well deserved draw for the Reds. While a victory would have been great, judging by the injuries and suspension that Liverpool are facing of late, it was indeed a great result.
The game started on a good note for Liverpool. Manager Brendan Rodgers had opted to play the European Golden Boy, Raheem Sterling, as the sole striker, with Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho behind him. It looked like the strange formation was able to exert a lot of pressure on Arsenal.
The first half statistics clearly showed that Liverpool were the better side with over 60% of the possession and several shots on and off target. In the 44th minute, the joyous moment came at Anfield when Coutinho shot past the opposing goalie Mertesacker to give the Reds the lead. Coutinho’s shot hit the left corner of the post and then went inside to put Liverpool 1-0. However, the celebrations lasted less than a minute, when in the 45th minute, Arsenal drew level through Debuchy. The first half thus ended 1-1.
Arsenal regained their composure in the second half and then finally started threatening the Liverpool defense. Although, Liverpool clearly had more possession even in the second half, they could hardly capitalize it.
Then, in the 64th minute, Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud scored for the away team. It looked like Arsenal’s policy after the goal was to ‘park the bus’ and they did succeed in stopping Liverpool from scoring until 90 minutes.
Rodgers then fielded Fabio Borini in place of Lazar Markovic in the 74th minute. Although Borini worked hard and played energetically, he also looked somewhat over-anxious at times. He was booked within 5 minutes of his arrival onto the pitch and started making silly moves. In the 88th minute Borini raised his feet high while trying to win the ball from Cazorla and ended up injuring the Frenchman. The referee showed no mercy and immediately showed the Italian another yellow card, and sent him towards the tunnel.
Liverpool now were left with only 10 men and it looked like it would end a miserable day for the home team. However, Skrtel, who suffered a head injury and had to be bandaged on the head in the first half emerged as a lucky charm for Liverpool for two reasons. Firstly, his treatment in the first half had disrupted the game for some time and the referee thus added 9 minutes of injury time, after the 90 minutes. Secondly, it was the Slovakian who headed the ball past Mertesacker in the 96th minute, sending waves at the Kop end.
It thus ended 2-2 and the day was saved.
The draw meant that Liverpool climbed to the 10th place with 22 points and are 9 points away from the fourth position.
In my opinion, Liverpool finally seem to be back on track. While winning the title already looks like a distant dream, the 4th place finish still looks achievable. A couple of good buys in January could well see us end the season on a good note.