After The Match 


Liverpool-Arsenal 1-0 (0-0)          14.02.06                         PL
Goals: Garcia (87)
Team: Dudek, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Riise, Gerrard, Alonso, Sissoko, Kewell, Fowler, Morientes
Subs: Hamann (Alonso 74), Cisse (Fowler 80), Garcia (Sissoko 84)
Not used: Carson, Traore
Yellow: Ljungberg (64)
Red: None
Referee: Grham Poll
Attendance: 44,065
Shots on target: 9-2
Shots off target: 13-4
Fouls conceded: 12-15
Corners: 13-1
Yellow: 0-1


HEADLINES  "I'll have
to give Luis
a kiss when
I get in there!"
Steven Gerrard

1502: Lucky charm Luis
1502: Fowler apologises to fans
1502: Wenger suffers travel sickness
1502: Rafa: We deserved the win
1402: Garcia nets late Liverpool winner

Lucky charm Luis

By Chris Bascombe - Liverpool Echo

John Arne Riise today hailed the unique match-winning skills of 'lucky omen' Luis Garcia, as Liverpool took a major step towards next season's Champions League.

Liverpool have never lost any of the 20 games in which Garcia has scored for the club, and few of his previous strikes were as timely as the one which saw off Arsenal with two minutes to spare.

The Reds have now opened up a 10 point lead over the Gunners as Rafa Benitez eyes his first ambition of a top four place.

Garcia's style isn't always appreciated, but Riise says last night's contribution underlined why the Spaniard is such a key member of the squad.

"We know when the subs come on they've got to be ready to show something. Luis has been away with injury but he's come on and done it for us," said Riise.

"I think it was important for Luis to get a goal to show he's back. He's someone who can miss chances but then pop up with the important goal. That's the type of player he is.

"He is an intelligent player who knows where he needs to be and knows how to score goals. That's the kind of player every team needs.

"He tries things. When it doesn't work, maybe people aren't happy about it, but that's his game.

"Obviously we're really happy because we deserved to win the game. We dominated the first half and we should have had more goals.

"It just goes to prove if you keep going for 90 minutes the goal can come at the end. When it does come late and you win, it's even better."

The Reds are now preparing for the next tough assignment of a testing fortnight as Manchester United visit in the FA Cup.

Riise insists revenge isn't on the players' minds after their last minute Premiership defeat at Old Trafford.

"It's not payback, but we didn't deserve to lose over there and now we're looking forward to playing them at our place," said Riise.

"We want to go to the final, so to do that we'll have to beat them.

"With two wins out of two, two clean sheets and some excellent football against an Arsenal team we outplayed, I think we're definitely back in business."

Fowler apologises to fans

By Adam Marshall - Sky Sports

Robbie Fowler has apologised for keeping the Liverpool fans waiting to celebrate his first goal since his return to Anfield.

The former England striker was denied by a smart stop from Jens Lehmann during the 1-0 victory against Arsenal on Tuesday night and cannot wait to repay The Kop's adulation with a goal.

Even though he is still bidding to get to full fitness, Fowler is setting himself some exacting standards.

"It's been well documented [about my fitness], I've said it a few times," he told Sky Sports. "I've not played much this season but I'm happy to be playing again.

"Obviously I'm just sorry I'm not scoring goals but I know, a few times, if the team is winning and I don't score, I'm happy with that.

"He [Lehmann] was fantastic, to be honest. I think everything we threw at him, he was able to put out.

"I thought he was brilliant, to be honest.

"Didi [Dietmar Hamann] has hit a great shot and he's managed to save it but Luis [Garcia] has followed it up, which we do get told to do."

Reds captain Steven Gerrard was a relieved man after missing a penalty in the first half.

"I definitely was [thinking it was going to be one of those days] after missing the penalty," he said afterwards. "I'll have to give Luis a kiss when I get in there!

"We'll have to wait and see [whether Liverpool finish above Arsenal].

"If we keep playing the way we're playing, nicking results like that, then I don't think they'll catch us.

"But we'll keep fighting until the end and take each game as it comes."

Wenger suffers travel sickness


Arsene Wenger accepts faltering Arsenal are facing a desperate battle to finish in the top four.

After a crucial 1-0 defeat at Liverpool they are now 10 points behind the third-placed Merseysiders and four points adrift of Spurs in fourth.

Wenger said: "Automatic qualification in the top two, certainly not, but qualification is still possible. But it will be hard. The Champions League is important, the reality is there so we just have to fight harder next time."

It is a worrying position for the Arsenal chief who now must raise the spirits of his side for next week's Champions League clash with Real Madrid.

And Wenger blamed Arsenal's inability to claim points from away games after the fourth time in recent weeks they lost 1-0 on the road.

Defeats by West Ham, Everton and now Liverpool also mean Arsenal have lost three of their last five games.

"What can I say? We have lost another away game 1-0 and it is happening too often," added Wenger.

"We need to recover now and find the right balance to go to Spain for the Champions League, we must find a way to put Real Madrid under pressure."

Rafa: We deserved the win

By Paul Walker - PA Sport

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez said his side thoroughly deserved their 1-0 Premiership win over Arsenal at Anfield.

Jens Lehmann kept the Reds at bay for 86 minutes with a string of stunning saves - including a penalty stop from Steven Gerrard.

But then Luis Garcia struck late on to finally settle the issue.

Benitez said afterwards: "We deserved to win with the number of chances that we created, even if it was unbelievable to see the saves that Lehmann made.

"It is too soon to write off Arsenal, they still have a lot of games left. If we finish in the top two fantastic, if we don't we at least have shown a lot of fight trying to make it happen.

"We showed we wanted this and worked hard for it. If you play well and don't win then you start having doubts, but at the moment we have great confidence in what we are doing."

The turning point in a tense, critical game was the introduction of substitutes Dietmar Hamann, Djibril Cisse and Garcia in the closing stages.

Gerrard had missed a first half penalty and Liverpool had toiled to make the most of their possession and overall dominance.

Said Benitez: "It was a very difficult match, when it is level you are always worried about a breakaway. But we were able to bring on new players and they made a difference.

"Luis Garcia is a player with an instinct for goals, I told him to play on the right and attack. And the change in the game arrived when these three were brought in."

Garcia nets late Liverpool winner

BBC Sport Online

Substitute Luis Garcia's late goal gave Liverpool a narrow win over Arsenal.

Before Garcia's 86th minute strike, Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann had single-handedly kept Liverpool at bay.

The Arsenal keeper saved Steven Gerrard's first-half penalty having previously brilliantly turned away a wayward header from Philippe Senderos.

But Lehmann was only able to get one hand to a raking shot from Dietmar Hamann and Garcia rushed in to thump the ball past the German goalkeeper.

The win moved Liverpool 10 points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal, who trail rivals Spurs by four points.

Prior to Tuesday Arsenal had lost six times in the league away from Highbury and they featured infrequently as an attacking force.

It took Arsenal 53 minutes before they forced Lehmann's counterpart Jerzy Dudek to make a save, the Pole beating away a Thierry Henry save.

That Arsenal looked as though they might escape from Anfield with a point was largely due to a combination of Lehmann's heroics and some more anxious Liverpool finishing, with Fernando Morientes missing good chances in each half.

The Spaniard first missed his kick from a Harry Kewell cross and might have done better late on when he got to a Gerrard cross, only to be put off by the close attentions of Mathieu Flamini.

If Lehmann turned in a man-of-the-match performance, Senderos had a game he will want to forget on his 21st birthday.

The Swiss international gave his side some anxious moments with a couple of miscued headers in the first half.

Senderos' first failed clearance allowed Kewell to hit a volley that went wide.

The Swiss defender then almost headed a Gerrard cross into his own net but Lehmann spared Senderos' blushes by pawing the ball away just as it looked as if it was going to loop into the net.

Just past the half-hour Morientes won a rather fortunate penalty for Liverpool when he went down under a challenge from Emmanuel Eboue.

But Lehmann again came to his side's rescue, moving quickly to his right to push away Gerrard's penalty.

Starved of possession Arsenal's best chances in that first half came in the opening quarter of an hour.

Kolo Toure went close with a header from a Cesc Fabregas free-kick, while Fredrik Ljungberg dragged a shot wide from a promising position.

Lehmann began the second half in an equally inspired form, foiling Robbie Fowler, after the Liverpool striker's first-time touch left Senderos flat-footed.

Just past the hour Liverpool went close with a Morientes header and Sami Hyypia's clever flick that Ljungberg, who was stationed at the post, cleared off the line.

Kewell was the next Liverpool player to be denied by Lehmann as the German pushed away the Australian's bicycle kick.

Garcia had come on 84 minutes and three minutes later he was the first to react as Lehmann was unable to hold Hamann's powerful shot.

Even then Lehmann got his body in the way the Spaniard's strike, but it was hit with such velocity that it crossed the line.

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Thor Zakariassen