LIVERPOOL 3-3 ARSENAL
Liverpool came away from their fixture against league leaders Arsenal with a point.
The Reds anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone held significant meaning for players and fans alike as there was quite a storm in Liverpool, which the players were forced to play in and the fans were forced to watch from the stands in. We walked out to Anfield in the dark with no fear. We walked on through the wind, walked on through the rain. All we’re waiting for now is the golden sky that will come in the morning.
Facing harsh weather conditions and a squad wracked with injuries, Jürgen Klopp’s men would battle with the (current) Premier League’s best and would not come away from the fixture empty handed as we held strong at our “fortress” to take a point.
Jürgen Klopp would have some fortune heading into this game, as it was announced before kickoff that previous club captain Jordan Henderson was finally back to match fitness and would be in the starting 11. We’d also managed to acquire a new player on loan who was instantly eligible for this fixture and he’d go straight onto the substitute bench, ready for use and would eventually play in the second half. Steven Caulker is his name. He’s officially a Queens Park Rangers player but will be joining Liverpool for the rest of the season, to help out while certain members of our existing squad try to regain full fitness. A natural centre back, which is one position we’re sorely lacking players for with the injury list being quite large this season. Welcome to Liverpool, mr Caulker.
The game saw plenty of action with goals in both halves and right from the start, too. It took less than ten minutes for the home side to take a lead and then 4 more minutes for the visitors to equalise.
Roberto Firmino scored Liverpool’s first goal, to the delight of Reds fans. It was a shame the delight would not last longer than a few minutes and that Liverpool could not hold out very long before conceding a goal of their own.
Firmino’s goal was just after a set piece, the Brazilian collected the ball from a corner. He’d then go on to strike a beautifully placed shot with his left foot right past the Arsenal goalkeeper from inside the penalty area. Liverpool 1-0 Arsenal.
Now it was time to take the ball back to the centre circle and start the game with possession in Arsenal’s favour now. The counter attacking began. It built and built until in the 13th minute, Joel Campbell would provide a through ball to Aaron Ramsey, who’d strike a powerful ball that in the rain, must have seemed impossible for Mignolet to catch as the slippery ball shot at speed past Liverpool’s goalkeeper and into the bottom right corner of our net. Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal.
The pressure was building and the excitement was everywhere around Anfield. I was sat in The Kop and everyone was excited to be there, watching and giving their full support as one of the toughest and best fixtures of the season was being played out.
Here’s a few pictures to give you an idea of how the view looks like of Anfield from The Kop.
Not bad views huh? Pretty special for any Liverpool fan.
Liverpool’s game continued and we sought to do as we had already, to take a lead again. 5 more minutes would pass after Arsenal’s equaliser and Liverpool would again go ahead of the visitors for a second time as Firmino once again, made Anfield crazy with cheers and love for him as scored around the 19th minute.James Milner had provided a crucial pass into an area which allowed Firmino enough space to get his shot off and put the ball precisely into the top right corner of the net, making it Liverpool 2-1. At this point, it felt like Liverpool may just go on to win this game with a scoreline of 2-1. It could have happened if we were a little tighter at the back and perhaps in less harsh weather conditions, but saving a ball that’s being blasted towards goal in the rain just isn’t so easy. We were to concede twice more and so the feeling we had here would not be the end result.
6 more minutes would go by in this tense game, before Arsenal would yet again equalise and let us know that we’d have to work harder and score even more if we wanted to keep a lead and get all the points.
Arsenal’s second goal was just a set piece, that was not very well defended. Of course, I don’t like to be criticise Liverpool. I love them with all my heart. However, a punch from the goalkeeper or a clearance from a defender here would have seen Arsenal not score but as it turned out, they would take their opportunity as Aaron Ramsey crossed over to Olivier Giroud who would stick his left foot out and poke the ball from close range past defenders and the goalkeeper to get the second for the visiting team. Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal.
Surprisingly, all of this action and the first 4 goals of the game had happened within the first 25 minutes and there would still be 25 more minutes of the first half (including extra time) that would not have any goals in it at all. Liverpool seemed to be trying to stop conceding by half time and many fans had likely thought during the break that we’d either see a 2-2 draw or perhaps Liverpool could score a single goal (while defending tightly enough to concede again) to make a 3-2 victory. Neither of these predictions would come true, either.
So, onto the 2nd half we would go. A push to take a lead for the third time in the game was made, Alberto Moreno would have a shot early on in this half. He had some excellent opportunities in this game and tight defending from Arsenal saw his powerful shots that were going on target and towards goal blocked or saved, denying him a goal. Not that I need the ball to go into the net to value his contribution, I was very happy with what Alberto brought to the game. It’s not just the goalscorers that bring us the results we get. Well done Moreno, you deserve some praise and credit too.
Ten minutes would go by and then Arsenal shocked Anfield, by taking the lead for the first time in this game. A left footed shot from Olivier Giroud would power past our goalkeeper as Mignolet would not be able to keep a clean sheet in either half, with the ball slipping past his fingers making the score 2-3. At this point, a lot of jeers and boos were being made towards Simon Mignolet though I was not one of the ones booing. I felt sorry for the man who had to stand between the goalposts on a night when the rain pouring down which would provide little stability for running and diving on the pitch and every shot was incredibly difficult to hold or even parry as saving a wet match ball travelling at many Miles Per Hour was a task that surely nobody could have been any more successful than Mignolet was. He did his best in the harsh weather conditions. That’s all I would ask of him and try not to be too negative about how he conceded goals during this fixture.
Liverpool now had to score at least once more again, not to keep a lead this time but to catch up and claim a point and to make sure we would not be defeated. It was not an easy task, but we would eventually achieve it.
More time went by and Arsenal seemed confident that they could make it to the final whistle without conceding again. It’d take some time, but they’d be wrong about that. We’d score again before full time.
Liverpool made three changes to the lineup in the second half. in the 65th minute, we’d see Christian Benteke replace James Milner. Milner had done well, but it was time to add more firepower to the attacking force we had. I was confident Benteke would score in this game, though he did not. Arsenal defended well against him, closing him down and not allowing him much space to get a shot off that would make it to the goalkeeper even, blocking him as often as he would shoot.
Later, beyond the 80th minute we would see Joe Allen replace Emre Can and Stephen Caulker made his debut by replacing Adam Lallana.
The Benteke substitution hadn’t had much of an impact but the later changes made a big difference. Caulker did well in defence, making sure not let Arsenal do any more damage than already had been done. A fourth goal from them would have been devastating. Our new defender stopped that from happening and all we had to do other than that was make sure to get another goal. That’s where Joe Allen would come in, to save the day and claim a point for Liverpool.
In the 89th minute, Liverpool were deep in the Arsenal penalty area. Some balls were blocked and it looked a little scrappy at times. Eventually, Christian Benteke would see an aerial ball that had been cleared right to him, heading it over to Joe Allen who was inside the box in a dangerous position. The midfielder who is commonly known by Liverpool fans as “the Welsh Xavi” showed some incredible skill that was much like anything the real Xavi could do as he struck a powerful and well placed right footed shot that would blast past the Arsenal goalkeeper and into the net at the Kop end. Boy, did I enjoy watching that shot go right into the net in front of me! If I’d have cried with happiness nobody would have noticed due to the rain on my face but I almost did at that moment. Joy was all around Anfield.
It was a great and relieving moment, as the entire Kop EXPLODED! Everyone went crazy, cheering Allen and Liverpool and the feeling now was that we’d get a draw. Only one more minute of regular time and a few minutes of extra time was played and our feeling was proven to be true. The final whistle of the game would blow and the score would end as Liverpool 3-3 Arsenal. The fans would sing You’ll Never Walk Alone to the players once more as they came to fans after the game had ended. We didn’t win this game, but we had claimed a point when we could have lost 2-3 to our visiting Premier League leaders opponents. Most people were just happy to have done that and not gone away from this fixture with nothing to show for it. Three goals and one point from our side and that’s all that matters.
Without this final third goal, Liverpool would have lost. In a game where Liverpool may have won 1-0 from a Joe Allen goal, I’d likely proclaim him to the best player on the pitch. However, one player scored not just once but twice in this game and I feel he worked harder and made more of an impact on the game than Allen had.
Roberto Firmino was the Man Of The Match.
I doubt the Brazilian knows much about rainy days in England, but he worked tirelessly in the horrible weather and contributed two of our three goals. Very impressive. I was very sad not to see him complete a hat trick, I so wanted him to get a third goal and walk away with the match ball. However, it will still be a memorable match for him, I’m sure. The fans around would sing his name and I was one of them.
If you thought playing Arsenal was tough, wait until you hear what our next fixture is… Manchester United, at home.
We’ll soon have more excitement from Anfield as the season progressed. I can’t wait to share it all with you.
Walk on with hope in your hearts, Anfield Family.
[written by] Stuart Drewery.
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red.
I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (about 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s