After The Match 


Arsenal-Liverpool 2-1 (1-1)           28.10.09                 CC, 4.r
Goals: Insua (26)                         Merida (19), Bendtner (50)
Team: Cavalieri, Degen, Insua, Skrtel, Kyrgiakos, Plessis, Spearing, Babel, Kuyt, Voronin, Ngog
Subs: Benayoun (Ngog 75), Aquilani (Plessis 77),
Eccleston (Degen 88)
Not used: Reina, Darby, Dossena, Ayala
Yellow: None
Red: None
Referee: Alan Wiley
Attendance: 60,004
Shots on target:
Shots off target:
Blocked shots:
Fouls conceded:

HEADLINES “I’m proud
to be
the captain of a Liverpool team..."

Dirk Kuyt
2910: Insua: Debut strike will spur me on
2910: Kuyt hails Liverpool FC
          new boy Alberto Aquilani

2910: Wenger delighted by Merida showing
2810: Rafa focuses on positives
2810: Young guns see off Liverpool 

Insua: Debut strike will spur me on

By Steve Hunter - LFC Official Website

Emiliano Insua admitted he was delighted to net his first ever goal in a red shirt but was left frustrated after Liverpool fell to defeat against Arsenal at
the Emirates Stadium.

The Reds No.22 scored a superb first goal for the club to cancel out Fran Merida's stunning opener but Arsene Wenger's young side sealed a place in the Carling Cup quarter-final when Nicklas Bendtner netted a second half winner.

"I'm really happy to have scored my first goal for the club but disappointed to have lost the game because I thought we played well," Insua told

"We knew before they are a good team, especially at home, but we had some good moments in the game.

"We pressed them all of the time and tried to keep the ball. Unfortunately we conceded two goals and we missed some chances and couldn't score again.

"I never want to lose as a player and it's the same for all of us. We are not in the Carling Cup any more but we still have three competitions left to play for so we have to keep improving."

The Reds produced an impressive display in the capital and although Liverpool's name will not be in the hat come Saturday, Insua will take home fond memories of his magnificent strike.

"It was a really nice moment for me," he said. "I chested the ball down and just decided to hit it. I couldn't believe it went in but it was nice and hopefully I can score more goals for the team in the future.

"Now we have to try and win at Fulham and then in the Champions League. We had a big win against Manchester United and we have always had belief in ourselves. We know we can do good things as a team.

"We have a very good team and we need to keep going."

The former Boca Juniors youngster has enjoyed an impressive season so far but is intent on making an even bigger impression in the months ahead.

"It has been a really good season for me, for my club and country, but I have to keep it going," he added.

"I know I can keep on improving and I have a lot of confidence."

Kuyt hails Liverpool FC
new boy Alberto Aquilani

By Dominic King - Liverpool Echo

Dirk Kuyt today reflected on a bittersweet first experience as Liverpool captain – as he hailed the launch of Alberto Aquilani’s English career.

With Steven Gerrard injured and Jamie Carragher rested, Kuyt took charge of the skipper’s armband for last night’s Carling Cup fourth round clash at Arsenal.

But despite his best efforts, the Dutchman was powerless to prevent the Reds slipping to their fifth defeat in six matches, this time a 2-1 reverse at the Emirates.

Kuyt, though, believes Liverpool were unlucky not to get more from a performance that saw a spectacular Emiliano Insua goal cancel out Fran Merida’s opener.

Nicklas Bendtner’s second half strike was the difference between the two sides but Kuyt feels Liverpool should have been awarded a late penalty when Philippe Senderos handled.

“We are really disappointed because we had a few chances to at least force the game to extra time and we worked very hard for it,” said Kuyt.

“In my opinion, I believe we should (have had a penalty). I thought he (Senderos) put his hands out to stop the ball and not protect his face.

“But it was just one of those things. We put a lot of effort into it, we tried to win the game and we had the belief that we could win it.

"They scored two great goals but we didn’t give up. We created enough chances to at least equalise but that was the problem.”

As frustrated as he was with the final score, there was no mistaking that Kuyt was honoured to have been selected by Rafa Benitez to lead the side out.

“I’m proud to be the captain of a Liverpool team,” said Kuyt. “The only problem was that we didn’t win and that‘s a big disappointment.

“Everyone knows that Stevie and Carra are our two captains but with them not being here, it was really nice to be captain.”

The night was not all doom and gloom for the Reds, however, as the sight of Aquilani emerging for the last 13 minutes was nosily acknowledged by the visiting fans.

Hopes are high that Aquilani, who has been sidelined with an ankle problem, will end up having an influence similar to Xabi Alonso in the future.

Kuyt is loathe to put any pressure on Aquilani’s shoulders but he is optimistic that the Italian midfielder – who played one glorious pass to Philipp Degen – will prove to be a hit.

“We have known Albert for a while and I’m very happy for him that he has made his debut,” said Kuyt.

“Hopefully we will see a lot more from him now. He’s a nice lad on and off the pitch and it’s good for him and us that he has finally played.”

Wenger delighted
by Merida showing


Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has hailed the impact of Fran Merida in Wednesday night's 2-1 Carling Cup win over Liverpool at Emirates Stadium.

The 19-year-old former Barcelona trainee returned from the Under-20 World Cup with Spain to drill in a fine first-half strike as Wenger's faith in youth was once again justified.

Nicklas Bendtner, himself only 21 but now a regular in the side, produced a powerful finish after 50 minutes to put Arsenal into the last eight after Emiliano Insua had equalised.

"Fran is a quality player," said Wenger, who decided against allowing the youngster to go out to Levante on loan.

"He comes from a very good school.

"I kept him because I felt he had the quality to break through, but when you look at all the players who did not play, of course the competition for players is very difficult."

Wenger added: "Fran came to us at a very young age, but our school is in line with the way he was educated.

"He suits perfectly the way we want to play football."

The Arsenal boss believes the performances of the likes of Merida shows just why he continues to believe in the young Gunners.

"It is always difficult to convince people we do not need players, but when you see them tonight, you understand why," said Wenger.

"We see them every day in training and have so much quality with our young players that we are not specially out on the market.

"Fran is 19, [Aaron] Ramsey and [Craig] Eastmond still only 18. To play in a game at that level, they deserve a lot of credit."

Full-back Kieran Gibbs turned in a decent display in front of England manager Fabio Capello and Wenger believes the 20-year-old can force his way into the World Cup squad.

"Gibbs will get games and he has already this season," he said.

"Personally, if Capello asks me my opinion, I will give him a very positive one. I believe he is ready to step up."

Wenger was more than happy with the way all of his team performed.

He said: "Overall it was a game of top quality with two teams who really went for it, played at a high pace.

"We gave people what they paid for - top quality.

"The experienced players played well, so did the young players, some of whom were making their debut.

"Liverpool came back to 1-1, and we still managed to win, that shows we have also mental resources."

Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski made his first-team return having recovered from knee surgery.

With Vito Mannone and Manuel Almunia both also available, Wenger has something of a selection poser ahead of Saturday's north London derby with Tottenham.

"Fabianski is available and he has done very well," the Arsenal manager said.

"Almunia is back to his normal level, and I would have no worries about playing him - but at the moment, I do not know what I will do on Saturday."

Rafa focuses on positives

By James Riach - Sky Sports

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez says there are many positives to take out of the defeat by Arsenal.

The Reds went down 2-1 to Arsenal's young guns at the Emirates Stadium in a match that created a number of chances with flowing football played by both teams.

Emiliano Insua scored a sublime half-volley for the visitors to cancel out an earlier strike from Fran Merida, but Nicklas Bendtner sealed the win for Arsenal in the second half.

Benitez was happy with the performance of his team, with a number of first-team players left out of the starting line-up, and praised both teams' style of play.

"We have to be disappointed because we have lost but we have also shown some quality and I think it was a good game with chances for both teams," he told Sky Sports.

"Both teams were attacking, they were creating chances, and that is good for the fans. But I'm disappointed for us because we have lost."

Asked whether Liverpool will now lose the feel-good factor after their weekend win over Manchester United, Benitez said: "No I don't think so. When you change players, they show energy, they show passion, and also we play well so there are many positive things."

The Spaniard brought on Alberto Aquilani with 15 minutes to go in the second half for the Italian midfielder's first-team debut, and Benitez was happy with his run-out.

"I think that he showed quality," he added. "He's a player that has quality, his match fitness is something that he can only improve playing games so we will see.

"You can see today that he did two or three good passes, in training you can see the same."

Young guns see off Liverpool

By James Riach - Sky Sports

A second-half goal from Nicklas Bendtner was enough for Arsenal as they beat Liverpool 2-1 in an entertaining game at the Emirates.

The Gunners progress into the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup but credit should also be given to Liverpool who battled throughout and played some good football for periods of the game.

A great strike from Spanish youngster Fran Merida opened the scoring for Arsenal on 19 minutes - the midfielder let fly from the right edge of the penalty area and the ball flew past the helpless Diego Cavalieri and in off the post.

Not to be outdone, Liverpool responded with an equally sublime goal when Emiliano Insua hit a dipping shot on the half volley from way out which flew over Lukasz Fabianski and into the net.

It was Bendtner who sealed the win though, the Danish striker capping a fine sweeping move from the Gunners to turn well and surge into the box before slamming the ball into the roof of the net five minutes after the break.

As expected, Wenger had shaken things up in the team selection for his 750th game at the helm, naming an entirely different starting XI from the one which let a 2-0 lead slip during the closing stages at West Ham in the Barclays Premier League on Sunday.

Mickael Silvestre captained the side at the ripe old age of 32, while French midfielder Samir Nasri made his first appearance of the season after recovering from a fractured leg, while Croatia striker Eduardo was also in the team.

Only Dirk Kuyt, the Reds captain for the night, remained from the Liverpool side which had defeated Manchester United - although there was a welcome place on the bench for Alberto Aquilani, who had yet to play following his big-money summer move from Roma.

The hosts started well, and Merida - who almost went out on loan to Levante, only for Wenger to pull the plug on the deal at the last minute - fired a low
effort just off target.

Liverpool created a decent opening when a clever backheel from David Ngog, on target at Anfield to help sink United, released Philipp Degen on the edge of the penalty area, but the Swiss defender dragged his shot across the face of goal.

Craig Eastmond then stole possession on the right, and the ball broke for Merida, who promptly smashed a first-time, left-foot shot in off the post past Diego Cavalieri.

Arsenal, though, had their lead only until the 26th minute when Insua netted a fine equaliser. A long ball up field was knocked down by Ryan Babel, and it dropped perfectly for Insua, who drilled a looping shot up over Lukasz Fabianski from 25 yards for the Argentinian defender's first goal in English football.

Arsenal were soon back on the offensive, with Eduardo and Ramsey combining to set Merida clear on the left side of the penalty area, and the youngster did well to stay on his feet as Cavalieri charged out of goal.

There was another let-off for Liverpool when Cavalieri dropped the ball in a crowded six-yard box, but enough black shirts were around to clear.

Arsenal kept up their momentum following the restart, and went ahead again five minutes into the second period. A sweeping move saw Merida feed the ball through to Bendtner on the penalty spot - the Denmark international held off Skrtel before smashing his shot into the roof of the net.

To their credit, Liverpool came back strongly and Fabianski had to get down to save a low, 25-yard free-kick from Babel which would have crept inside the keeper's right-hand post.

With 17 minutes left, Wenger made a change when 20-year-old Mark Randall and Hackney-born striker Sanchez Watt, 18, replaced Eastmond and Bendtner, while Liverpool sent on Yossi Benayoun for Ngog.

Aquilani, the £20million man coming back from knee surgery, also got a long-awaited run-out, Damien Plessis making way.

Liverpool almost snatched an equaliser when Kuyt swept the ball across the six-yard box, but Babel, sliding in, just could not make contact.

backbutton.gif (1697 bytes)

Thor Zakariassen ©