Reds Held By Gunners

31 Jan

Reds Held By Gunners

 

Liverpool travelled to London to face Arsenal hoping to bounce back after that disappointing defeat to Oldham in the FA Cup at the weekend.  The match was played at a frenetic pace between two teams looking for a vital win, and an early goal from Suarez and a second half goal from Henderson looked like giving the visitors the three points, but two quick goals from Giroud and Walcott set the game up for an exciting finale. Neither team could find a winning goal but it wasn’t for the lack of trying.

 

The Team

 

Brendan Rodgers made a host of changes to the team that lost to Oldham with Reina returning to keep goal for the Reds. Wisdom kept his place at right-back and fit again Johnson played at left-back. Jamie Carragher returned to the centre of defence to partner Agger to martial the defence. Lucas, Gerrard and Henderson played in the centre of midfield with Suarez in an unfamiliar role on the left and Downing on the right of midfield. Daniel Sturridge played as the lone striker.

 

The Match

 

Liverpool got the perfect start with a goal in 5 minutes from Luis Suarez after Sagna’s slip allowed Johnson to drive into the box before crossing to Sturridge, his close range strike was blocked by Szczesny but fell for Henderson who squared for Suarez to sweep home via the aid of a deflection.

 

Arsenal made an immediate response but Walcott was denied by a terrific save from Reina. The game developed a pattern of Arsenal dominating possession but Liverpool breaking dangerously on the counter-attack, next Suarez’s stunning outside-of-the-foot pass set Sturridge clear, but his volley bounced the wrong side of the upright.

 

Then Giroud sliced wide from the edge of the box. And Reina denied Walcott again tipping a curling effort round the post.

 

Liverpool continued to pose a threat and almost doubled their lead when Agger rose highest to head a Gerrard corner downward towards goal but Podolksi was alert to clear off the line.

 

Then just on the stroke of half-time Downing sent Henderson clear, but his lobbed effort landed on the roof of the net.

 

The second half produced long spells of dominance by the home side forcing Liverpool deep into their own half and made it difficult for the visitors to gain any respite in a sustained onslaught. Liverpool continued to defend resolutely, superbly martialled by Carragher.

 

Then just after the hour mark Henderson doubled Liverpool’s lead when he showed great strength to drive into the box before making the most of a fortunate ricochet to tap the ball into an empty net.

 

Liverpool’s lead was short lived with two goals in as many minutes. First, Giroud nodded home a Podolski free-kick unmarked to reduce the deficit before Walcott beat Reina with a fierce angled drive to level up the contest and leave the Reds rocking.

It was Arsenal who finished the stronger, but Liverpool held on for a point – though Suarez could have won it at the death when only a fine stop from Szczesny denied him a winner.

 

Summary

Rodgers selected a strong side with an attacking threat. Rodgers brought Carragher back into the defence to help organise the defence and it worked a treat, Carragher was immense, putting his body on the line to make blocks, constantly organising his troops and making timely interceptions. Liverpool defended well against a very dangerous Arsenal side and looked like scoring every time they counter-attacked. But in the second half Liverpool struggled to cope with Arsenal’s movement and scored a second goal against the run of play. But losing the two goals so soon was disastrous and it seemed as if Arsenal would go on to win the match, but Liverpool came back into the match and could have scored a late winner in an exciting finish to the match. Overall it was a good point and a gritty performance by Liverpool.

 

 

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