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 Liverpoolfc.tv.
"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
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
"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
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
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
“Everyone knows that Stevie and Carra are our two captains
but with them not being here, it was really nice to be
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
“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.”
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
"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
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
"It is always difficult to convince people we do not need
players, but when you see them tonight, you understand why,"
"We see them every day in training and have so much quality
with our young players that we are not specially out on the
"Fran is 19, [Aaron] Ramsey and [Craig] Eastmond still only
18. To play in a game at that level, they deserve a lot of
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
"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
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."
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
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
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
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.