After The Match 


Arsenal-Liverpool 3-1 (2-0)                     Sun May 8.    Premier League
Goals: Gerrard (51)             Pires (25), Reyes (28), Fabregas (90)
Team: Dudek, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Traore, Riise, Hamann, Alonso, Garcia, Gerrard, Baros
Subs: Kewell (Riise 45), Cisse (Baros 45), Smicer (Hamann 78)
Not used: Carson, Biscan
Yellow: Baros (15), Hamann (23)
Red: None
Referee: G Poll
Attendance: 38,119

                            MATCH-REPORTS & RESULTS 
Shots on target: 8-6
Shots off target: 3-5
Fouls conceded: 13-10
Corners: 1-4
Yellow: 0-2




HEADLINES " We have to think
about the future."
       Rafael Benitez

0805: Rafa looks to positves
0805: Gunners end Reds' Euro hope


Rafa looks to positives

By Alex Dunn - Planet Football/Sky Sports

Rafa Benitez refused to be downbeat despite watching his Liverpool side fall to a 3-1 defeat on their travels to Highbury.

In a miserable first period, Liverpool were outclassed by their North London counterparts but responded well in the second period.

Steven Gerrard's deflected free-kick reduced the deficit after the break but ultimately, Francesc Fabregas all but certainly secured second spot for Arsenal with a last minute strike.

However, despite the loss, Benitez remains in a positive frame of mind for the remainder of the season.

"In the first half, and in particular the first 15 minutes we played well and had opportunities, but after we conceded the goal we put our heads down and conceded another one,'' Benitez told Prem Plus.

"In the second half we started again with a high tempo and we tried hard until the end.

''We are disappointed but we must think about positive things, prepare for the next game and look to the [Champions League] final."

"I am very disappointed with things we have done away in the league.

''At home we play well, but we cannot change anything now about this season, we have to think about the future.

"Everton have done a good season; we don't play well away and this is the difference."

Gunners end Reds' Euro hope


Arsenal virtually sealed second place with a 3-1 Premiership win over Liverpool - a result which ensured Champions League football for Everton.

The Londoners survived a second-half fightback to virtually assure themselves of the runners-up spot in the Premiership and rule out any hope of Liverpool snatching the fourth and final Champions League berth from near-neighbours Everton.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard gave the visitors some hope after the break when he scored with a long-range shot in the 51st minute but Cesc Fabregas put the game beyond doubt with a well-worked third in added time.

Liverpool went into the game needing to win their two remaining games and hope that rivals Everton would slip-up as they both chased the coveted fourth place.

Liverpool were the first to seek an opening in the sunshine of north London but Milan Baros' control let him down when Luis Garcia put him in the clear with a delightful chipped pass inside the opening three minutes.

Arsenal had a goal ruled out in the 11th minute when Sami Hyypia gave the ball away to Fabregas. Robin van Persie's shot was pushed into the path of Reyes by Jerzy Dudek but the Arsenal striker was adjudged offside.

At the opposite end, John Arne Riise was prevented from opening the scoring by Jens Lehmann while Baros was booked for handball after knocking it past Philippe Senderos and firing into the net through the legs of the Arsenal goalkeeper.

In the 20th minute Liverpool defender Djimi Traore unleashed a crisp, low drive that Lehmann momentarily fumbled before claiming correctly at the second time of asking.

Liverpool escaped again in the 22nd minute when a cross from Pires was met at the far post by Lauren but Dudek pushed his side-footed volley onto the crossbar. Seconds later Pires went close with a drive from 20 yards.

Arsenal went ahead in the 24th minute with a stunning free-kick from Pires. The Frenchman's goal was just reward for Arsenal after Dietmar Hamann had been yellow-carded for bringing down skipper Patrick Vieira on the edge of the penalty area.

Arsenal were now in rampant mood and Liverpool's dream of clinching fourth appeared to have evaporated when Reyes fired a second a goal in the 29th minute.

The Arsenal striker took control of a pass from Fabregas and burst into the penalty area as the Liverpool defence backed off.

Reyes then completed a fine run with a low left-footed drive into the bottom corner of the net to put the Gunners in total control.

Arsenal's youngsters were now enjoying plenty of freedom, especially in attack, and van Persie brought another fine save from Dudek as Liverpool's defence failed to cope with the fluidity of the home side's football.

Benitez made two changes during the interval with Baros replaced by Djibril Cisse and Harry Kewell on in place of Riise.

The changes had an immediate impact and Reyes gave away a needless free-kick with a push in the back of Kewell on the edge of the penalty area in the 51st minute.

It brought Liverpool back into the game when Hamann laid the ball off to Gerrard and the England midfielder's shot cannoned off Fabregas and into the corner of the net.

A sublime ball from Gerrard then put Luis Garcia clear on goal but Ashley Cole got back to block the Liverpool player's effort.

In the 88th minute, a Gerrard free-kick was met by Hyypia but the Liverpool defender's header went wide of the target.

At the other end, Gilberto squandered a clear chance to put the game beyond Liverpool's reach when he latched on to Dennis Bergkamp's pass but blazed his effort over the bar from an acute angle.

Fabregas made it three in added time when he finished off a fine move. Lauren cut in from the right and squared the ball to Bergkamp who produced a sublime first-time lay-off to the 18-year-old Spaniard, who poked a shot past Dudek.

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Thor Zakariassen