Liverpool 1-3 Arsenal – 06/01/07 – (FA Cup) 7 January, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Cup Games.
What an amazing day. I got the 11 o’clock train out of London Euston and arrived in Liverpool at about half 2, stupidly I started walking to the stadium not having a clue how far it actually was. Along the way a Scoucer told us that the ground was miles away and we got a bus to the ground. Anfield is a really nice ground; The Hillsborough memorial is a nice touch too. There were plenty of Gooners about singing before the game and everyone felt pretty confident before the game. I was sitting lower tier, 10 seats from the edge of the stand, not an amazing view but I could still see everything and we were right next to the Scoucers which was good.
There was a massive following of Gooners there, we’d been allocated a large number of seats and they were sold out for some time. We made a great noise but so did the Anfield faithful. One of the things I was interested to see (or hear) was the famous atmosphere, and it lived up to the expectation. They did this 6 minutes for 96 (the amount off people that died) thing where they sang about the Hillsborough disaster and held things up saying ‘The Truth’ which was to do with what The Sun newspaper said about the disaster. When the six minutes was up there was this massive roar from the Liverpool fans, it was quite inspiring really and you wonder what Ashburton Grove would be like if we had different fans. Our ground has become too corporate but yesterday they stadium was full of all the die-hard fans.
The team was as I expected apart from Manuel Almunia was in goal, I still can’t understand why he was but he did alright. He made no mistakes but to be fair he didn’t have alot to do. Liverpool were dominating possession however they couldn’t really form any dangerous attacks. They tried to but we were excellent at the back. The two centre defenders had a massive game. They got something on every hoof Liverpool tried and made it so difficult for Liverpool to create anything.
We weren’t creating anything either though but we were very dangerous from the counter-attack and all three goals came from these. For the first goal Rosicky picked up the ball in the middle and played Hleb down the right wing, then some clever link up play gave Alex some room out wide. Liverpool packed the box expecting the to cross and left ‘Super-Tom’ unmarked on the edge of the box. Hleb passed to Rosicky who shot first time with a looping shot over the ‘keeper, as soon as it left his foot you could tell it was going it and Dudek was struggling. When it went in I and thousands of other Gooners’ who’d made the long trip north went fucking mental. The goal was against the run of play but we were not complaining. Arsenal were 1-0 up with 8 minutes of the half to go.
We weren’t finished with the first 45 though; Tomas Rosicky added another just before the whistle. Henry gave the Czech the ball in a fairly safe position as far as Liverpool were concerned but Tom just drove and drove and avoided tackles from about 5 defenders. He shot low into the far corner, which the stretched Dudek couldn’t get to. Arsenal were now two goals up in a matter of minutes and the Arsenal fans went insane again. If the Scoucers were to lay the blame on anyone it would have to be Steven Gerrard. Just before Rosicky shot Gerrard was there for the tackle but his attempt at getting the ball was so feeble I just don’t have a clue what he was doing. He just sort of stuck his foot out a bit and spun round. It was him who won the Cup for Liverpool last year but you might say it was him who lost it for them this year.
So we went in at half time two goals to the good. The bloke in front of me said it is a very dodgy score line and he was right. The next goal was so important, a third for Arsenal would put it to bed but a Liverpool goal could start a comeback and we all know how good they are at those. The home team came out with a bang in the second half, they’d obviously been told to go at us from the word go and we were struggling with them a bit. However, that sort of play does suit us attacking-wise, as soon as we got the ball all we had to do was pass it around in all the space from Liverpool’s lack of shape. However as in the first half they were finding it hard to create any clear-cut chances. They did come close a few times and Ashley’s boyfriend was getting down the right wing well.
In the 72nd minute Liverpool did mange to get a goal back. It came from a corner which Crouch headed towards goal and then Kuyt got a flick on to confuse Almunia. There was nothing we could’ve really done about it to be fair, it was a well taken corner and the only thing really was that nobody challenged Dirk Kuyt for his touch. It went straight above Almunia but you can’t really complain at him for not saving it.
After the goal Liverpool really looked like they were going to come back. All I could do is just stand there and watch nervously. We just couldn’t keep the ball to save our lives; every time we won it back it was only a matter of seconds before we gave it away again. It was incredibly frustrating to watch and you just hoped that we wouldn’t concede again. Thankfully Senderos and Toure were excellent at the back and let nothing pass. As time went by I believed more and more that we were going to hang on to the lead and win. We needed to get the ball and slow it down to keep possession but the home side were having none of it and really made it hard for us to do anything.
In the end it took a single-handed effort from Thierry Henry for us to get our third 5 minutes from time. He picked up the ball near the centre circle and played a through ball to himself down the left. Carragher nearly won the ball but Henry’s speed and strength won through and Jamie was left on the floor out wide. Henry drove into the box, skipped passed the defender and shot low underneath Dudek to make it 3-1. It wasn’t a particularly great shot, a better goalie might’ve saved it but it wasn’t to be. Thierry ran over to the fans saying: “I’m back. I’m back!” And he is, I fancied him to score today and he did.
Nothing much really happened after that, the remainder of the game was just spent singing about Wembley and waving goodbye to the Scoucers. It was a bit of a rush after the game as we packed onto a bus and it looked like we were going to miss the last train home but in the end we made it to the station in plenty of time and there was even a few minutes to get a pasty and snacks for the journey home.
It was an amazing day and one I will never forget. Just an amazing day out and I will definitely be going to more long distance away games. If the score went the other way it could’ve been a very different day but I think we played well enough and deserved the win in the end. And as we sang at Anfield:
“We’ll be back, we’ll be back. We’ll be back on Tuesday night.”