Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal – 28/10/07 – (Premier League) 29 October, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Premiership.
Well I said it would be good and it was. A great performance from our kids against a team who grabbed an early goal and defended. We should’ve won. Liverpool hand a handful of chances, most of which didn’t really come of anything, when they did though Alumina was there to make the save. Manuel made two or three great saves which kept Jens Lehmann’s bum firmly on the Anfield bench.
I surprised at the formation, it was a 4-5-1 with Adebayor alone upfront with Eboue and Rosicky on the wings. Fabregas, Flamini and Hleb controlled things in the middle. We only had the one striker but it didn’t stop our attacking presence. We were getting forward well and I don’t think it’s too much of an exaggeration to say we were all over them.
There was a lot of talk about whether our kids could hold up the strong Liverpool. We needed a good start and get ourselves into the game but we let Liverpool take the lead after just 6 minutes. The home side won possession and drove forward, Almunia made a good save from Gerrard but it wasn’t cleared and they had the ball in a dangerous position, we panicked and gave a way a free-kick in a bad position. Gerrard was obviously getting ready to stick his foot behind it so the wall had to be strong; Also, Fabregas was nominated to change the kick down but his run was being blocked. The ball was laid off and Gerrard smacked it. Fabregas’ charge was unsuccessful and the wall missed it. You can’t blame Almunia for not saving it either. 1-0 to Liverpool but we had a long time to find a goal.
We reacted well to going one down and were creating chances, the best fell to Adebayor when got through but Reina came out well to block. At the other end Gerrard hit a great volley that was dipping under the bar but Manuel made an excellent, match-saving stop. That was about it for the first half. I texted my mate at half time saying ’1-0 to them but we’re all over them’ and I think the majority would agree with me.
I wasn’t too worried at this point; I knew there would be goals in the second half. Not from mega-summer-signing Torres though. I don’t remember him doing anything useful in the first half and he was taken off at half time for Crouch. I believe he picked up an injury but I think if he carried on that way he would’ve got subbed anyway.
The lanky Englishman who scored a hat trick against us last season nearly got another 10 minutes in. A decent shot was matched with an even better shot from our no.24. However just after that we nearly found our equaliser, Eboue got down the right and unleashed a shot, it smacked against the post forcing me to jump out of my seat. On the re-bound it fell straight to Cesc on the edge of the box with an open goal, but his first-time shot was off target. I held my hands and I could not believe it was still 1-0. It was a difficult shot to finish though. The ball was coming at pace after Eboue’s shot and ye wouldn’t have much to time to react to it anyway. Our best opportunity was lost and we were still losing.
Time ticked by and we were still yet to find that goal. Changes had to be made. Walcott came on for Rosicky after 66 minutes, and a bit later Gilberto and Bendtner replaced Clichy and Eboue. Clichy was brilliant again, I remember saying ‘I love Clichy’ several times but he had to make way for a more attacking approach. Eboue on the other hand didn’t really impress me. Don’t get me wrong, he did have some really good moments, but he was misplacing passes, miss-timing runs and making the wrong decisions.
We were really getting forward now but you did worry that we’d be caught on the counter. Riise hit a good shot but it went just over the bar, it beat Manuel but he probably had it covered.
With ten minutes to go we found that ever-so important goal and my voice is still hurting from the celebrations now. Hleb was in possession and pushing forward, surrounded by defenders. Adebayor and Bendtner made each two good runs but Hleb must’ve been the only one in the ground who noticed Fabregas coming through the midfield. Hleb held up the ball and then played a perfectly timed and perfectly weighted pass to Cesc who tucked the ball neatly inside the near post. The celebrations were wild and it was such a relief to have finally got that goal.
The job wasn’t over though. Cesc nearly got an incredible winner in the 86th minute. He took a long-range curving effort that hit the post. I couldn’t believe it! But again, the rebound came to an Arsenal player and this time Bendtner missed. For fuck sake.
Gerrard nearly got his side a winner at the other end but Captain Gallas was on by to stop him. In the end it finished 1-1. We did everything to get that win but when I side as good as Liverpool decides to park the bus it’s a really big obstacle to get around. We came so close; 10cm close to be precise with those two attempts hitting the post. We should’ve won and most Scoucers would agree. They might not be happy with the point after going ahead and nearly hanging on but if they’re realistic they’ll be happy with it.
Almunia was great, I don’t see Jens playing for us ever again to be honest. Gallas and Toure we inspiring at the back. Clicht and Sagna were making great runs. Fabregas had a quiet game but still managed to getthat goal. Hleb was fantastic, strange to think how much he’s changed in a season. Everone was great, the only time I was annoyed was with Eboue but it’s hard to say he had a bad game, we should be proud of that performance.
A point at Anfield is by no means a bad result and we’re happy with that, we can take encouragement from the performance. Wenger and Gallas have warned United over this performance. Win on Saturday and our rivals are in trouble. But first it’s Sheffield United in the Carling Cup, build up to that tomorrow.