After The Match 


Liverpool-Arsenal 4-1 (2-0)             31.3. 07                      PL
Goals: Crouch (4, 35 & 82), Agger (60)               Gallas (73)
Team: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Agger, Aurelio, Gonzalez, Alonso, Sissoko, Pennant, Gerrard, Crouch
Subs: Kuyt (Gerrard 56), Zenden (Gonzalez 69),
Riise (Mascherano 83)
Not used: Dudek, Fowler
Yellow: Alonso (54)         Diaby (21), Lehmann (48), Fabregas (50)
Red: None
Referee: S Bennett
Attendance: 43,958
Shots on target: 7-3
Shots off target: 5-8
Blocked shots: 0-0
Possession: 55-45
Fouls conceded: 17-9
Corners: 2-7
Offsides: 0-2
Yellow: 1-3
HEADLINES "There was fantastic service."
      Peter Crouch

0204: Aurelio: Im ready to impress
3103: Rafa: Gerrard fine for PSV
3103: Hat-trick hero Crouch hails Redmen
3103: Wenger slams defending
3103: Reds exact Gunners revenge 

Peter Crouch celebrates his hat-trick at Anfield. (Photo: AFP)

Aurelio: Im ready to impress

By David Prentice - Liverpool Echo

Liverpools first Brazilian footballer is finally ready to parade his samba skills after a frustrating stop-start opening to his Anfield career.

Fabio Aurelio was an unsung hero in Liverpools 4-1 demolition of Arsenal on Saturday.

The summer signing from Valencia created two goals with devastating crosses and was only denied a goal himself by Jens Lehmanns fingertips.

I thought Id scored, the Reds defender smiled afterwards. It was my wifes birthday and she said to me before the game to try and score a goal as a present for her.

I think Saturday was probably the most effective match I have had since Ive been at Liverpool.

I managed to get two good crosses in for goals so Im pretty happy with the way Ive done my job.

I am very happy in Liverpool. The only problem has been the injuries which have kept me out.

I hope now I can get a run of games so I can continue improving.

It is frustrating when youre ready to play and you pick up another injury.

But now Im feeling good again and I want to keep going forward and help the team.

My fitness will improve the more I play so I hope to continue playing and I hope to continue doing the things I did today.

Aurelio arrived on a free transfer from Valencia last summer, but after featuring in each of the first 10 games of the season he sustained a niggling knee injury which kept him out until Christmas.

Restored to the team in the 1-0 win at Tottenham, he then showed his versatility with appearances at left-back, left midfield and even central midfield in the Carling Cup tie against Arsenal, before a calf strain sidelined him for another month.

But now he is fully fit and ready to carry on delivering goal creating crosses.

It makes things a little easier as a wide player who is expected to overlap and cross, when you have a target like Peter Crouch to aim for, he added.

I know that my first priority is to defend, because Im a full-back. But I like to go forward whenever possible.

Rafa: Gerrard fine for PSV

By James Pearson - Sky Sports

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez believes Steven Gerrard will be fit to face PSV Eindhoven next week.

The England international was withdrawn before the hour mark in Saturday's 4-1 win over Arsenal.

It had been thought Gerrard was feeling an injury, but Benitez was simply trying to protect him.

"I don't think that it'll be serious," he told Sky Sports 1. "We were trying to protect all the players."

Meanwhile, Benitez was delighted to exact revenge on Arsenal after three previous defeats to The Gunners this season.

"We knew that it was a difficult game, but we knew what to do," he continued.

"We had confidence. We wanted to beat them. We wanted revenge on them.

"We were doing the same things, but sometimes you score and then the game changes.

"We scored two good goals and then we were playing with confidence."

Hat-trick hero Crouch hails Redmen

The Daily Mail

Hat-trick hero Peter Crouch paid tribute to his team-mates after inspiring Liverpool to a 4-1 victory over Barclays Premiership rivals Arsenal.

Crouch's goals helped give Liverpool revenge for the three previous defeats they have suffered at Arsenal's hands this season.

He scored two before the break, with Daniel Agger heading a third before Arsenal pulled one back through William Gallas. But the third, which sent Liverpool above Arsenal into third place in the Premiership, sealed a fine performance by the Anfield club.

"It's a special moment, obviously against Arsenal it is a massive game for us. The win was the most important thing but I'm so pleased with the hat-trick," Crouch told Sky Sports 1.

"You don't care how they come but it was a nice hat-trick, I'm pleased with it.

"There was fantastic service. Up there on my own I had Stevie (Gerrard) around me. Sometimes you are a bit isolated but that wasn't the case today at all, my team-mates got round me and it makes it easier.

"Today it was pleasing for us to get four goals and beat a class side. The manager let us know beforehand we've had some disappointing results against Arsenal this season."

Wenger slams defending

By James Pearson - Sky Sports

Arsene Wenger pulled no punches after slamming Arsenal's defensive display in their 4-1 loss at Liverpool.

The Gunners were not at the races at Anfield with Peter Crouch inspiring The Reds to success on Merseyside.

Wenger did not feel Jens Lehmann was protected enough and that Crouch was too good on the day for his troops.

"Defensively our performance was horrendous," he said. "The difference was Crouch, we just did not handle him at all.

"He was the big difference. We could not cope with him in the air and his three goals all came from crosses from wide areas.

"He made fine runs and we never got close enough to him, and with Steven Gerrard also finding gaps between our defenders, Liverpool more than deserved to win."

The result lifted Liverpool over Arsenal and Wenger is keen for his side to avoid slipping any further down the table.

"If we want to finish third now we will have to produce better performances than that. We are not certain of being in the top four," he added.

"There is not a big enough gap, even if maybe my players felt they had done enough. We will have to give our best in every game now."

Reds exact Gunners revenge

By James Pearson - Sky Sports

Peter Crouch bagged an impressive hat-trick as Liverpool exacted revenge on Arsenal with a fine 4-1 success over
The Gunners at Anfield.

Rafa Benitez's charges were on the front foot from the off with Crouch's well-taken double no more than the home side deserved for their first half endeavours.

Daniel Agger padded The Reds' lead after half time and while William Gallas pulled one back late on there was still time for Crouch to complete his hat-trick from close range.

The win, which lifts Liverpool ahead of Arsenal into third in the Premiership, was sweet revenge for the club's fans who had seen their side lose three times to The Gunners this season.

Liverpool started the contest positively although Steven Gerrard's speculative long-range shot inside the first minute was well wide of Jens Lehmann's goal.

However, the effort set the tone and The Reds forged ahead in the fourth minute when Alvaro Arbeloa played a neat one-two with Jermaine Pennant before crossing for Crouch to net.

Crouch made a superb run to the near post to guide home a first-time shot past the helpless Lehmann for a crucial early lead at Anfield.

Arsenal, to their credit, responded positively, but despite controlling possession they never gave Jose Reina anything to worry about in the Liverpool goal.

Emmanuel Adebayor headed over the visitors' first attempt on goal while Crouch's flick was easy for Lehmann after Arsenal failed to clear a free-kick.

Gallas nearly fired into his own net after sliding at full stretch to block Mark Gonzalez's cross with Crouch ready to pounce behind the French defender.

Arsenal's best chance of the half arrived just after the half hour mark when Adebayor fed Baptista only for the on-loan Brazilian to scuff his effort well wide of Reina's goal.

The miss proved costly as minutes later Fabio Aurelio's cross from the left was superbly headed home by Crouch in the middle for his eighth league goal of the season.

A quickly-taken free-kick left Aurelio in acres of space and he played in a pin-point ball for Crouch, who out-jumped Diaby, to guide home from six-yards to give the home side a commanding half-time lead.

Gerrard had the first attempt of the second half with a first-time left-footer from Gonzalez's cross, although his shot was straight at the scrambling Lehmann.

Arsenal nearly got back into the game seconds later when Adebayor's neat turn and shot beat Reina, but the low drive struck the inside of the post and rebound to safety.

The contest was effectively over on the hour mark when Aurelio's dangerous free-kick was guided into the far post by Agger to give Liverpool an unassailable lead.

Arsenal would have pulled back within minutes, but for Reina's superb finger-tip save. Adebayor's header from Baptista's cross looked destined for the net before the Spaniard palmed the shot onto the post.

The visitors did eventually find the back of the net on 73 minutes when Gallas was well-placed at the far post to tap home after Kolo Toure helped on Cesc's corner.

Liverpool then weathered a few nervy moments before Crouch capped a fine individual display by completing his hat-trick on 81 minutes.

The England international turned smartly in the area before smashing home with his left-foot leaving Lehmann no chance of a save.

Liverpool nearly added a fifth with only an outstretched hand from Lehmann keeping out Aurelio's driving effort that looked destined to nestle in the far post.

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Thor Zakariassen