After The Match 

            


Liverpool-Arsenal 2-1 (1-0)              Sun Nov 28.              Premier League
Goals: Alonso (41), Mellor (90)            Viera (57)
Team: Kirkland, Riise, Carragher, Hyypia, Finnan, Kewell, Alonso, Hamann, Gerrard, Mellor, Pongolle
Subs: Nunez (Pongolle 70)
Not used: Dudek, Biscan, Diao, Warnock
Yellow: Viera (59), Henry (84)
Red: None
Referee: A.  Wiley
Attendance: 43.730

                                               MATCH-REPORTS & RESULTS 
TEAM STATS
Shots on target: 7-2
Shots off target: 4-1
Fouls conceded: 6-16
Corners: 6-0
Yellow: 0-2
Red:

 

 

0-0

HEADLINES

"Neil will
be dreaming
about that goal
for years."

             Steven Gerrard
 

2911: Benitez: Gerrard creates fear-factor
2811: Gerrard lauds match-winner Mellor
2811: Wenger praises Rafa's Reds
2811: Benitez joy at win
2811: Mellor stuns Arsenal
 

NOVEMBER 29
Benitez: Gerrard creates fear-factor

Sporting Life

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez believes Steven Gerrard strikes fear into opponents when they see his name on the team sheet.

The England midfielder's all-action display inspired his side to victory over Arsenal on Sunday - and Benitez wants the win to kick-start their season.

The 24-year-old set up the opener for Xabi Alonso before Neil Mellor snatched the points with a splendid injury-time winner.

Arsene Wenger recently suggested Chelsea could step up their interest in the midfielder when the transfer window reopens, but Gerrard showed no signs of being disrupted by the Arsenal manager's claims.

"We want the top four but we are aiming higher than that," said Gerrard, who stayed at the club this summer after being linked to a move to Stamford Bridge.

Benitez, who barely flinched at Mellor's spectacular winner, is desperate to keep his skipper at the club.

He admitted to not sleeping properly because of the mounting pressure as Liverpool boss - but must surely be reassured by Gerrard's return to fitness.

"This could be the turning point," Benitez said. "We are talking of being in the top four, that is our aim, and when we win games against teams like Arsenal then you know that you can do it.

"It gives us confidence and belief that we can achieve what we are aiming for. We have many players out injured at the moment but we can still produce a performance of this quality. I am very pleased with them all."

Benitez tried to explain his lack of outward emotion as Mellor's drive hit the net at the Kop end, adding: "My wife keeps saying to me, why do you show no emotion on the line?

"Maybe I should show more. But when we got the winner I was on the line thinking about changing players, that is why you did not see me celebrating.

"I was still trying to change players after the goal but my coaches told me the game was over, finished.

"It was great for everyone, not just the Liverpool supporters but surely for everyone watching, it was a great game."

With Djibril Cisse, Milan Baros and Luis Garcia missing, Benitez assembled a makeshift team and adapted his tactics to take on the champions.

The former Valencia boss' five-month reign at Anfield has been blighted by injuries to his key players - but Gerrard's return has raised expectations.

He added: "With Gerrard in our side we know opponents are frightened of him.

"Steven is very important to us. Hamann and Alonso are playing well in midfield and have been very good while Steven has been out injured.

"Now we know that when opponents see Gerrard in our team they are frightened. For us that is important, we are talking about our mentality and spirit, he brings that to us."


NOVEMBER 28
Gerrard lauds match-winner Mellor

Soccer Weekend

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard hailed match-winner Neil Mellor after his superb late winner against Arsenal.

Mellor claimed his first Premiership goal with a stunning strike from outside the area which saw Liverpool snatch a deserved 2-1 win at Anfield.

The win lifted spirits at Liverpool after losses to Middlesbrough and Monaco in the last week and Gerrard was impressed with the performance.

Gerrard told Sky Sports: "We're very pleased with the first-half performance. The gameplan was to stop them playing and press them back.

"But Arsenal came back into it. We expected that, they are a fantastic team but we never gave up.

"Neil will be dreaming about that goal for years. He deserved it. He worked hard.

"When you come off a couple of defeats Arsenal is the game you don't want but we went in with the right attitude. We want the top four but we are aiming higher than that."

Mellor was thrilled to score against such top opposition, his goal condemning Arsenal to only their second defeat in 55 games.

The young striker said: "The ball just dropped and I hit it, in front of the Kop in the last minute, against one of the top sides in Europe.

"I went into it like any ordinary game. The lads have been supportive of me and I came up with the goods in the last minute, which was nice."


NOVEMBER 28
Wenger praises Rafa's Reds

By Paul Eaton - LFC Official Website

Arsene Wenger today admitted his Arsenal side were second best to Liverpool during their 2-1 defeat at Anfield.

The Gunners looked to be heading for a point when Patrick Vieira equalised Xabi Alonso's first half strike, but Neil Mellor's late strike won a dramatic game for the home side.

Wenger said: "Liverpool were very good in the first half. They were physically very strong and they made it hard for us.

"In the second half we improved and we should have got a point but we made a mistake at the end and they scored. It's hard to swallow when that happens because it is very disappointing. We just have to live with it and accept it.

"Liverpool were tough, they were well disciplined and they defended very well. I'm surprised they are where they are in the table after that performance.

"You could say all three goals were brilliant but I disagree. The first two were, but in my opinion the third goal came from a bad mistake by us in the last seconds of the game."


NOVEMBER 28
Benitez joy at win

By Mark Buckingham - Planet Football/Sky Sports

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez was delighted his players followed instructions in the dramatic 2-1 success against Arsenal.

Neil Mellor struck a magnificent winner in injury time after Xabi Alonso's excellent goal had been cancelled out by another cracking effort from Patrick Vieira.

Benitez was proud of the result which boosts The Reds' prospects of forcing their way back into the Premiership title race.

The Reds fully deserved the three points, restricting Arsenal to just one chance, with Benitez happy his tactics worked.

"It was a fantastic result," Benitez told Sky Sports. "I think it was a fantastic game for all the supporters.

"We played very, very well in the first half, but in the second half they kept the ball, but it was a fantastic game.

"We have worked very hard. The players ran a lot and tried to do all the things we have prepared in the week.

"In the first half, we have done all the things perfect - without the ball and with the ball.

"Like I say, congratulations."

Benitez also feels the last-gasp victory over the reigning champions will inject morale into his Liverpool squad.

He added: "At the end, we talk only about three points against a very, very good team, but it's more important for the confidence.

"I know we can finish higher than fourth. We need to do the same things."


NOVEMBER 28
Mellor stuns Arsenal

By Mark Buckingham - Planet Footbvall/Sky Sports

Neil Mellor's stunning injury time volley earned Liverpool a deserved 2-1 victory over Premiership champions Arsenal at Anfield.

Xabi Alonso's wonderful goal had The Reds in a merited first half advantage before Patrick Vieira levelled things up with a majestic equaliser.

Vieira was then lucky not to be sent off before Mellor unleashed a rasping strike in the final seconds of the match to further dent The Gunners' title aspirations.

There was a sense of deja vu for the Arsenal defence after just three minutes, when memories of Manchester United's controversial penalty came flooding back.

Reds skipper Steven Gerrard burst into the box and nudged the ball past Kolo Toure before falling over the African's trailing leg - similar to Wayne Rooney's tumble from Sol Campbell's challenge at Old Trafford.

A penalty could easily have been given but, from his vantage point, referee Alan Wiley erred on the side of caution.

Alonso drove wide from 30 yards before Mellor clipped the crossbar with a shot after he had wrongly been penalised for offside.

Arsenal offered little as an attacking force and appeared to lack the desire and commitment being shown by the hosts in the first half.

Jens Lehmann scrambled across his goal to grasp Harry Kewell's far post header while Sami Hyypia could have done better when heading over from a corner.

Liverpool gained their deserved breakthrough four minutes before half time following a move displaying the hallmarks of true class.

A sweeping pass from the back was headed into Gerrard's path by Harry Kewell. Mellor's clever run created space for the Reds captain to slip a beautiful pass to Alonso, who struck with power and precision from the edge of the area to rock the champions on their heels.

Arsenal still looked sluggish at the start of the second half before they cut the Liverpool defence to ribbons on 57 minutes and haul themselves back into a match to which they had previously contributed nothing.

Vieira fed the ball into the feet of Thierry Henry and galloped towards the penalty area. Henry laid off to Robert Pires, who played in Vieira for the Arsenal skipper to dink a delightful shot over Chris Kirkland and score with his team's first shot of the game.

But the French powerhouse soured his performance on 71 minutes when he should have been dismissed for a blatant dive. Vieira had been booked earlier for a foul on Alonso and then threw himself to the ground in search of a free kick.

Wiley, bizarrely, chose to meekly accept the player's admission of the act, rather than show a second yellow card for the piece of gamesmanship.

Goalkeepers were rarely tested in the second half but Lehmann showed no rustiness in diving at full stretch to beat away Gerrard's swerving shot after the ball broke loose on the edge of the penalty area.

The largely ineffective Henry tried an ambitious shot from just inside the Liverpool half before The Premiership's leading scorer was booked after his frustration boiled over into a poor tackle on Alonso.

In the final five minutes, Pires and substitute Robin van Persie combined to tee up Henry but, after flicking the ball over one defender, he wanted more time than he was afforded by the home rearguard.

With a draw seemingly settled for, the ball bounced kindly for Mellor in the final seconds and the back-up striker unleashed a searing volley which clipped Lehmann's flailing fingertips en route to nestling in the corner of the net.


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Thor Zakariassen