Arsenal-Liverpool 3-1 (2-0)
Sun May 8. Premier League
Pires (25), Reyes (28), Fabregas (90)
Dudek, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Traore, Riise,
Hamann, Alonso, Garcia, Gerrard, Baros
Kewell (Riise 45), Cisse (Baros 45), Smicer (Hamann
Baros (15), Hamann (23)
MATCH-REPORTS & RESULTS
Shots on target:
Shots off target:
" We have to think
about the future."
0805: Rafa looks to
0805: Gunners end Reds'
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
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
''At home we play well, but we cannot change anything
now about this season, we have to think about the
"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
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
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
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
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
Benitez made two changes during the interval with Baros
replaced by Djibril Cisse and Harry Kewell on in place
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
A sublime ball from Gerrard then put Luis Garcia clear
on goal but Ashley Cole got back to block the Liverpool
In the 88th minute, a Gerrard free-kick was met by
Hyypia but the Liverpool defender's header went wide of
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.