laments Fabregas serious injury
By Laurent Picard - Setanta Sports
Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso laments
that his tackle on Cesc Fabregas caused ligament damage to
his fellow countryman.
While Arsenal captain Fabregas is out for up to four months,
Alonso has revealed being in close contact with his friend
during this painful moment.
The Reds’ midfielder was involved in a challenge with
Fabregas three minutes before half time on Sunday afternoon,
and the Gunner limped off the pitch, visibly in pain after
Alonso told Marca: “I’m not too happy about what happened,
even more annoyed than Fabregas.
“I’m always sad when a team-mate is injured; moreover we are
speaking about Cesc, a friend from the national team.
“I came to see him after the game, and for what he told me
and for the pain he felt, we both expect something serious.
“But today (Monday) I spoke with him again, and all things
considered, he looked in good spirits.”
Alonso has described the dramatic play, and said: “It was
another play and I had no bad intentions. It was a corner
for us and Cesc won the ball. I strongly went for it to stop
his counter attack, and we clashed with the ball in
“We both went very strongly for the ball. I was maybe more
solid in my position, and his leg a bit weak, for that
reason his knee got damaged.”
The Spain international has wished his compatriot to get
well as soon as possible.
He said: “I wish Cesc a prompt recovery. The most annoying
is to come, the recovery, but I’ll be there to motivate
go and draw
the wrong conclusions now
Comment by Ian Rush - Liverpool Echo
The fact there was a sense of frustration
after leaving Arsenal only with a point shows how far
Liverpool have come this season.
It was disappointing that we didn’t create more chances
after Emmanuel Adebayor had been sent off but what happened
was that Arsenal’s players started to work twice as hard.
It isn’t always easy playing a side down to 10 men and so it
proved as Arsenal got men behind the ball and made it
difficult for Liverpool to get through.
In the end I thought a draw was a fair result and there were
a lot of positives to come out of the game for the Reds.
Arsenal had to win more than Liverpool and the onus was on
Arsene Wenger’s side to go for it.
That’s the difference with this season compared to last.
Last year we went into games like Sunday’s having to win to
stay in contention. Now it’s the other way around and others
have to beat us to make up ground.
If we had won then it would have been the end of Arsenal’s
title hopes and it would have been down to a three-horse
A draw means Arsenal are still hanging on in there but it
was a much better result for us than for them. The team
showed a lot of character to come back from a goal behind
again and it was a fantastic strike from Robbie Keane.
I was so made up for Robbie because he was in a position he
doesn’t usual play in. He normally likes to play off
Fernando Torres in the same way as he played behind Dimitar
Berbatov at Spurs.
But at the Emirates he was asked to play the lone striker
role and I thought he was fantastic.
He worked so hard for the team and will take a lot of
confidence from that goal.
It was also a great reaction after the comments made by Mark
Lawrenson last week about Keane’s future.
To come out and say what he did about Keane moving on in
January was absolutely stupid – it didn’t help the club or
I was also impressed by the professionalism the players
showed in the absence of Rafa Benitez.
It would have been strange not having the boss around and it
would have been easy for people to switch off, but everyone
stuck to their task.
Possibly Liverpool could have been more attacking in the
closing stages but Arsenal actually played better with 10
men and a point is a decent return.
Having won at Chelsea, beaten Manchester United at home and
now drawn at Arsenal it just shows it’s not the big teams
that seem to worry us.
It’s against mediocre sides at home that we really need to
raise our game – starting with Bolton on Boxing Day.
Bolton aren’t an easy side to play against and they’ve been
in good form recently but having drawn the last three home
games against Fulham, West Ham and Hull, we can’t afford
With the Bolton game followed by a trip to Newcastle, we’ve
got to be looking to get six points.
We’ve got a good record at Newcastle and I think the fact
they like to attack at home will play into our hands.
It’s vital Liverpool see off the likes of Bolton and
Newcastle so that when they come around to playing against
Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal again they are in
control of their own destiny. We want to be in a position
where those sides have to really go for it against us.
If we can start 2009 in top spot then history shows we’ll
have a fantastic chance of going on to clinch the title.
Insua's show of strength
I was really impressed by Emiliano Insua’s performance at
I’ve heard people say he’s too short but the young Argentine
did nothing wrong against Arsenal.
He was very solid defensively and got forward well to
support our attacks.
Left-back is one of those positions that nobody has really
nailed down this season.
It’s up for grabs and it was great to see someone come into
the side and show they are determined to hang on to their
I believe Insua did enough to keep his place for the game
against Bolton on Boxing Day.
He took his chance and now he has to prove he can perform
like that on a regular basis.
denies dive talk
By Alex Livie - Setanta Sports
Liverpool full back Alvaro Arbeloa has hit
back at Emmanuel Adebayor, insisting he did not exaggerate
contact in the challenge which led to the Arsenal man’s
Adebayor was sent off for two yellow cards on Sunday, the
second of which came following a clash with Arbeloa.
The Togo star was sent off for a high challenge, although
plenty was made of Arbeloa’s tumble to the floor following a
coming together with Adebayor.
Adebayor suggested Arbeloa had ‘gone down as if knifed’, but
the Spaniard has insisted he would never exaggerate a foul.
”Adebayor is player who uses his arms and elbows when
playing and that usually means a foul,” Arbeloa is quoted as
saying in The Daily Star. “I had nothing to do with the
”I don’t feel like it was my fault, it was what Adebayor
”I am a professional and would never play act to get someone
”I do not want to get involved in any controversy with
Arsenal, but I received a blow in the face and a foul and if
the ref then shows a yellow card that is not my problem.”
Insua eyes first team place
By Richard Buxton - Shanklygates
Emiliano Insua is hoping that his
performance against Arsenal yesterday will earn him a place
in the Liverpool side for the game against Bolton Wanderers.
The Argentine played the full 90 minutes at left back in
place of the injured Andrea Dossena and he is hoping that
manager Rafael Benitez will reward his efforts with a
starting role against the Trotters on Boxing Day.
"The boss gave me an opportunity to show what I can do and
maybe I might get another chance to play at Anfield against
Bolton," Insua told Liverpoolfc.tv.
"Anfield is always a very special place to play and
hopefully I can stay in the first team squad.
"I thought we played well and could have won the game but a
point away against a team like Arsenal is a good result.
"I enjoyed the game and tried to do the simple things well
and to get forward as much as I could to help the attack.
"Playing at Arsenal is always very difficult as they are a
good team but I thought we did well."
Insua is hoping to build on his success in the reserves last
season which saw Gary Ablett's men sweep all before them
with an impressive treble.
"Last season I played for the reserves which was a fantastic
season for us and the boss gave me my first team chance when
I played in the final two games of last season, which I
really enjoyed," he added.
"This year I have played in the Carling Cup and got my
chance against Blackburn and Arsenal in the Premier League.
"The manager has given me a lot of confidence and I will
keep training hard in every session and always give my best,
because when you get your chance you have to take it.
"There is a lot of competition for places at Liverpool but
that is a good thing."
an end to
By Ben Blackmore - Setanta Sports
Robbie Keane has aimed a veiled riposte in
the direction of Mark Lawrenson, calling for people ‘outside
the football club’ to stop making up stories about him.
Keane grabbed the most important goal of his Liverpool
career against Arsenal on Sunday, and he declared afterwards
that he intends to do more of the same for The Reds until
the end of the season.
The £20.3 million forward wants to be judged at the end of
the campaign, and he also wants stories about his future to
Lawrenson claimed Steven Gerrard had told him Keane might
leave Anfield in January, something the former defender
later retracted, but clearly Keane was disappointed by the
“The only thing that I sometimes get frustrated by is when
people outside the football club are talking about things to
do with me because they are trying to create something
that's not there,” the Liverpool number seven told the
club’s official website.
"I've already said that I know I will score goals for this
club and I would prefer to be judged at the end of this
season, not in December."
Carragher: Reds belong on top
Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher is not
surprised the Reds are top of the Premier League table -
because he believes they belong there.
The Reds have not won the domestic crown since 1990 but
topped the table at the end of the weekend fixtures after a
1-1 draw with Arsenal.
And Carragher is full of optimism for the second half of the
He told the club's official website: "People keep talking
about us being top of the league, but that's not a surprise
"We are Liverpool Football Club and we are where we should
be. It's been too long without the title and hopefully we
can change that this season.
"Some of our younger supporters have never seen us win the
title and the last time we did it I was an Everton fan!
"All the teams are taking points off each other and it's a
lot more competitive this year. I think it makes for a
"There is a long way to go and we will see what happens. The
best team wins the league and hopefully that will be us this
Carragher acknowledged a sense of disappointment at the
failure to capitalise on Emmanuel Adebayor's dismissal at
He added: "We are a bit disappointed not to have won the
game because of the fact Arsenal went down to 10 men.
"To be fair when they were down a man they probably looked
more dangerous while we looked less dangerous.
"At the start of the second half I really thought we were
going to go on and win the game, but sometimes it's more
difficult to play against 10 men."
Reds show credentials
to claim the moral victory
Comment by David Prentice - Liverpool Echo
The message rang out loud and clear from
assistant-boss Sammy Lee at The Emirates yesterday.
"Rafa was in complete control."
So were Liverpool. Which is why there was just a tinge of
regret at a result which would normally be celebrated.
The Reds would usually take a point all day long on
Arsenal's own turf, but especially so on an afternoon when
they faced up to the loss of their manager, their midfield
enforcer and even a matching kit.
But after an unexpectedly one-sided show, they were left
bemoaning two points dropped.
Liverpool have taken on all three of their likeliest title
And while the winning run came to a halt against Arsenal,
the moral victory was all Liverpool's.
Liverpool have already beaten Chelsea and Manchester United
this season. So, too, have The Gunners.
This was a clash between the last-two standing.
And it was the home team who staggered across the finish
line grateful to hear Howard Webb's final whistle.
Rafa Benitez's enforced watching brief means he will have
been treated to a quite remarkable statistic on his TV
After 55 minutes Liverpool had boasted 72 per cent
Arsenal, the team who won't use one pass when five will do,
were being passed off the park.
And such was the level of Liverpool's dominance there only
looked like being one winner.
The turning point was Howard Webb's decision to dismiss
It was a harsh sending-off.
But it had the opposite effect to what might have been
The Reds struggle against teams whose priority is not to
And Arsenal immediately made it their mission to hold what
They were galvanised, a sedentary atmosphere suddenly became
incendiary - all Arsene Wenger needed was a branch to
complete an uncanny Basil Fawlty impersonation on the
touchline - and Liverpool suddenly found themselves facing a
team fuelled by a sense of injustice.
But Pepe Reina was still untested, while the visitors carved
out the best two chances.
Daniel Agger launched an exocet which shaved one goalpost
and Nabil El Zhar guided a header just as close to the
There were other plus points, too.
Whisper it quietly, but the left-back conundrum finally
looks like it may have a long-term solution.
Emiliano Insua is a full-back who looks like he can combine
the ability to overlap without neglecting his defensive
duties. And he was excellent yesterday.
It would be wrong to get too carried away about a polished
performance in one match at Arsenal.
Damien Plessis strode onto the scene like a junior Molby in
the making last season, but failed to build on that
But Insua has now produced two composed away performances
this season and surely deserves more opportunities to
Then there was Robbie Keane.
The under-pressure Irishman finally played as a
All too often throughout his Anfield career he has dropped
deep, trying to prove he can be a foil for the usually up
top - fitness permitting - Torres.
But yesterday he was a line leader of pace and menace, as
well as displaying his usual tenacity and work-rate.
He also did what £20m strikers are expected to do - he
scored a stunning goal, racing clear of a trailing defence.
Keane was usually so far upfield he was even caught offside
a couple of times.
So while Reds fans were reluctantly wrestling yet again with
thoughts of what might have been, this was not against West
Ham, Fulham or Hull, but a team expected to challenge for
the biggest prize of all.
Liverpool underlined their title credentials once again
They have passed all their biggest challenges so far. It's
just the minor challenges they have to get to grips with.
Roll on Bolton and Newcastle . . .
proves it was
business as usual
Comment by Nick Smith - Liverpool Daily Post
Would Rafael Benitez have as much
influence from the sofa as he would from the dugout? Well,
Robbie Keane was taken off before the end so there’s your
As Sammy Lee said, his presence would be missed. But as his
assistant also said, it would be business as usual.
Unfortunately for Keane, that’s exactly what it was.
Maybe goalkeeping coach Xavi Valero’s phone ran out of
battery (perfectly conceivable given the amount of time he
spent on it) and Lee took a wild guess at what his manager
would be thinking with nine minutes left to play against 10
men in a game there to be won.
Or maybe Benitez had left to put the kettle on in time for
his half-time brew and missed a rare glimpse of what Keane
is really capable of.
Because in that moment, he showed his true worth – and
showed why he needed to be on the field for the duration of
Keane proved he has the ability to sniff on scraps like a
hungry rat and gobble them up with just as much ferocity.
And in times when there’s no Fernando Torres to call on,
that is an invaluable weapon to have at any stage of a
Especially, you would think, in the final 10 minutes of a
Before the equaliser, Liverpool were a bit like the hoof
forward by Daniel Agger that set the goal up – heading
nowhere and hoping for the best.
But it was the best possible response from Keane, who
watched all (count them) two of its bounces all the way on
to his right foot and the half-volley was unstoppable.
So why is he not capable of producing something like that in
the later stages? Why would he not, particularly with the
confidence coursing through him on making such a stunning
impact on his return to north London, be able to compose
himself and execute such skill during a late chase for a
The type of questions that Benitez was able to avoid
yesterday. He would have been only too happy to face them if
he had been there, of course, and would have had his
considered replies and responses at the ready.
And to be fair to him, has Keane’s replacement Nabil
El-Zhar’s glancing header crept in, that would have been the
most emphatic answer of all.
But after deciding that his £20million signing wasn’t good
enough to be one of his three substitutions in the search
for a winner against Hull, the willing soldier was once
again been excluded from the final battle yesterday.
And there will be disbelief that Keane spent part of the
afternoon cupping his hands to his ears and revelling in the
silence, yet ended it with an over-riding feeling of
Not just over his personal experience, of course, but over
the fact that Liverpool missed another great chance.
Not the one Steven Gerrard slid in to fire wildly wide not
long after Keane made it 1-1, but the one that means they
have again failed to ease further away from the chasing
Adding a point to the lead may be an outcome that was seen
as acceptable before the game because away to Arsenal is
still a tough ask, despite the somewhat limited squad
currently under Wenger’s guidance.
But that extended lead will be wiped out completely if
Chelsea record their 12th successive victory on the road
tonight. Rarely have Everton, especially in modern times,
had such universal support across Merseyside.
But that’s what it’s come to. Hoping they can get a first
win for eight years against Chelsea and hoping that David
Moyes can lift his threadbare squad to a result he has never
achieved against them.
It is possible of course, but wouldn’t have been necessary
if Liverpool had made the most of their chance to guarantee
being top over Christmas.
If they had really gone for broke when Emanuel Adebayor’s
rash second booking reduced Arsenal to 10 men. If they had
put more men in front of the ball and not acted as if the
Gunners, without their main target man, were somehow more of
If Keane had been allowed to complete a game, maybe?
“Nothing,” was Arsene Wenger’s response when asked what a
point means in the title race. And he has a point too.
But it will certainly have meaning if Chelsea break the
pattern of this most unpredictable of Premier League seasons
and actually pounce on a rival’s slip-up.
Then this will be another occasion when Liverpool pay the
price for a game in which more points are dropped than are
And that definitely can’t be dismissed as meaning “nothing”.
out at Arbeloa
By Alex Livie - Setanta Sports
Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor has
accused Alvaro Arbeloa of theatrics in the aftermath of the
African’s dismissal on Sunday.
Adebayor appeared to be dismissed for going over the top of
the ball in a bid to win possession, but it did not help
that Arbeloa fell to the floor clutching his face after
brushing with the African.
Gunners chief Arsene Wenger felt the decision cost his side
victory and Adebayor was not happy with the way Liverpool’s
Spanish full back conducted himself.
”I cannot say he cheated, but what he did wasn't fair play
at all,” said Adebayor.
"The defender threw himself on the floor as if I put a knife
Adebayor has called on referee Howard Webb to review the
incident which led to his dismissal.
He added: "I hope when the referee gets home and watches it
on TV he will see it was a foul but that I didn't deserve a
[second yellow] card," said Adebayor. "It was a mistake from
"He said it was for the leg [rather than the arm] but if I
don't put my body in there I would never score a goal in
Lee: Rafa was
in complete control
By Jimmy Rice at the Emirates - LFC Official Website
Sammy Lee revealed how Rafa Benitez was in
constant contact during Liverpool's 1-1 draw at the Emirates
- and rang to congratulate his players after the final
Benitez, who stayed on Merseyside to recover from his kidney
stone operation, was reportedly delighted with his team
after Robbie Keane cancelled out Robin van Persie's opener
with a sweet half-volley.
Lee joked: "His phone bill will be quite big! Technology
meant it was never going to be a problem. It's testament to
his professionalism because he was in a lot of pain.
"Our hope now is that he can settle down for a while and get
himself 100 per cent right so that he's ready for the really
busy schedule that's coming up."
Asked how Benitez had responded to the result, Lee added:
"He was pleased. He wanted the lads to know what a good
point it was against a very good football team."
Lee admitted there was a tinge of disappointment among the
players themselves after failing to capitalise on Emmanuel
Adebayor's 62nd minute dismissal.
He explained: "There's all kinds of clichés but we'd have
settled for a point before the game. The lads are a bit
disappointed but great credit should be given to Arsenal for
the way they fought when they went a man down.
"Once they went a man down they organised themselves right
and made sure they kept shape and kept tight. We worked hard
to use a numerical advantage but we don't feel we did that -
that's maybe why there's a bit of disappointment among the
"Great credit should also be given to our lads because we
felt we took control of the game after going a goal down. We
got ourselves back into it.
"We would have been happy to come here and come away with a
point beforehand, but being Liverpool Football Club means we
never settle for a draw. We always go out to try to win the
"So, to that extent we are a little bit disappointed."
Lee was quizzed on whether Keane's goal would boost his
confidence after missing out on a starting place in recent
The assistant boss said: "Ask anyone - goals always give you
confidence. But I'm being honest when I say Robbie hasn't
been lacking in confidence.
"We pick a team for any given team and any given match and
opposition. We're fully aware of the programme we've got
ahead of us and we're going to have to use all our players.
If sometimes certain players don't get picked, it's because
it's a long, arduous season. We have to make sure we have
"I think he looked superb today. And if you saw him out
there, he certainly wasn't lacking in any confidence."
On whether Arsenal were now out of the title race following
another home draw, Lee added: "I have got far too much
respect for Arsenal Football Club to say that and I don't
know of anything that's won in December. There's no way
they're out of the title."
after Adebayor's red
By Deniz Vehbi - Sport.co.uk
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was fuming
after his side drew 1-1 with Liverpool.
Robin van Persie gave Arsenal the lead before Robbie Keane
equalised but Emmanuel Adebayor saw red with 30 minutes to
go. Wenger reckons referee Howard Webb made the wrong
decision and said Arsenal would have won if it wasn't for
Adebayor's innocuous challenge on Alvaro Arbeloa was deemed
to be a second bookable offence by Webb, but Wenger
He told Sky Sports: "I think it was a wrong decision. If we
had 11 men we would have won the game. We played much better
in the second half and was in a better position.
"We would have won in the final 30 minutes if it wasn't for
the sending off."
Wenger was furious with Liverpool's physical approach and
hinted his side deserved more protection.
"I think Robbie Keane should have been sent off in the first
minute for his foul on Gael Clichy. Liverpool committed foul
after foul, I don't agree with their attitude," he added.
"I would like to see referees like that when we get kicked
off the park."
as hosts hold on
Premier League leaders Liverpool failed to
capitalise on Emmanuel Adebayor's sending-off as Arsenal
held on for a 1-1 draw at Emirates Stadium.
Adebayor was sent off just after the hour mark for a second
bookable offence but Liverpool, who had been in the
ascendency, could not find a winner after Robbie Keane had
earlier cancelled out Robin van Persie's strike in the first
Arsene Wenger's men went into the match eight points off the
pace, and perhaps more significantly they were - and remain
- out of the top four following Aston Villa's win at West
Despite taking the lead through a fine strike from van
Persie after 24 minutes, it proved a false dawn as the Reds
levelled before the break when Keane latched onto a long
ball up-field and lashed in a thunderous shot.
Referee Howard Webb showed Adebayor his second yellow card
for a clumsy challenge on Alvaro Arbeloa with just under 30
minutes remaining but Liverpool could not make the most of
the extra man.
The visitors were without Rafael Benitez, who was back on
Merseyside recovering from an operation on his troublesome
His side could yet be knocked off top spot before Christmas
by Chelsea, who play Everton at Goodison Park on Monday
night - but for the Gunners, the New Year looks set to be a
hard battle to prove they have the stomach to somehow claw
themselves back into contention.
Arsenal have beaten both United and Chelsea this season, but
a failure to see off supposedly lesser sides has proved
costly and resulted in them being overtaken by a resurgent
The leaders were, of course, set to present a stern test of
Arsenal's credentials and there was a cagey opening to the
The first decent chance came in the ninth minute.
A long ball was knocked back by Keane from the edge of the
Arsenal penalty area into the path of Reds captain Steven
Gerrard, whose 20-yard effort was straight at Manuel
Arsenal responded and a clipped ball in from Bacary Sagna on
the right floated through to Adebayor, but his glanced,
diving header just lacked the power to beat Jose Reina.
Arsenal then snatched the lead through van Persie after 24
Samir Nasri, fit again after an ankle problem, chipped a
high ball through from just inside his own half towards the
edge of the Liverpool penalty area.
The Dutchman collected it on his chest before turning two
defenders and spinning to fire a right-footed shot into the
Liverpool, whose form has dipped in recent weeks, were
clearly rattled after having looked quite comfortable.
However, slowly they found some composure and were level
three minutes before the break.
The ball was pumped from deep inside the Liverpool half by
Daniel Agger and bounced over centre-half Johan Djourou into
the path of Keane.
The former Tottenham striker - barracked by sections of the
home crowd - let the ball bounce again on into the Arsenal
penalty area before blasting it past Almunia, wheeling away
in delight at having silenced the jeers.
The Reds almost got another ahead of half-time, but Gerrard
was just unable to convert Dirk Kuyt's low ball across goal
when he arrived at the far post.
Almunia then produced a finger-tip save to deny the Dutchman
and keep things level at the break.
Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas had sustained what looked like
a knee problem in a tackle with Spanish compatriot Xabi
Alonso at the end of the first half, and was unable to
continue, with Abou Diaby coming on.
Liverpool started strongly, as Almunia was forced to beat
away a snap-shot from Lucas.
The tempo of the match increased as the hour approached, but
it was the visitors who remained in the ascendancy as Agger
headed wide following a corner.
Referee Webb then caused a storm when he reduced Arsenal to
10 men after Adebayor was shown a second yellow card for a
hefty challenge on Arbeloa, who fell to the ground clutching
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was incensed, but replays
suggested the Togo striker had indeed gone in with a raised
boot, rather than a flaying arm, and as such probably
merited a caution.
The atmosphere in the Emirates was highly charged, and van
Persie was another in the book when he fouled Agger.
To their credit, the Gunners responded by pressing Diaby
further forwards as they looked to get back in front.
Tempers, though, were never far from boiling point as Sagna
became the third Arsenal man into the book when he tripped
Nasri sent a 25-yard effort wide before a deep corner was
whipped across the Liverpool goal from the right.
Almunia saved bravely at the feet of Kuyt as the visitors
pressed for a winner.
Agger fired a 25-yard strike just over as both teams had to
settle for a point.