After The Match 


Arsenal-Liverpool 2-1 (1-0)          12.03.06                         PL
Goals: Garcia (75)               Henry (21 & 84)
Team: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Warnock, Kromkamp, Gerrard, Alonso, Hamann, Garcia, Crouch
Subs: Kewell (Kromkamp 46), Fowler (Hamann 73)
Not used: Dudek, Traore, Morientes
Yellow: Alonso (77)
Red: Alonso (81)
Referee: S Bennett
Attendance: 38,221
Shots on target: 4-3
Shots off target: 6-5
Possession: 55.8-44.2
Fouls conceded: 9-19
Corners: 5-0
Offsides: 6-1
Yellow: 0-1


HEADLINES "...I've made
a stupid mistake."

  Steven Gerrard

1303: Reina: We need a Thierry Henry
1203: Rafa slams Alonso red
1203: Wenger: 'Arsenal can catch Liverpool'
1203: Gerrard accepts blame for defeat
1203: Henry double sinks Liverpool

Reina: We need a Thierry Henry

By Chris Bascombe - Liverpool Echo

Pepe Reina was today purring at the class of Thierry Henry, and lamenting Liverpool's lack of a striker of similar quality following defeat at Highbury.

The Reds keeper believes Henry's performance was the difference between the clubs as Arsene Wenger's snatched a late but deserved 2-1 win.

"Arsenal are one of the strongest teams we've faced since I joined Liverpool," admitted Reina.

"Henry and Fabregas are great players. For me, Henry was the key to the game. Without doubt he was their best player.

"He was involved in every incident, and when you have these kinds of player in your team, anything can happen. There is always danger.

"He decided the game for them. There aren't many players in the world like him, but I wish we had someone similar. Each moment he had the ball, there was a threat.

"He caused many problems and in the first half, maybe we were a little afraid of him. In the second half we were better and had some chances, but when you're against Henry you know what can happen."

Liverpool must bounce back against Fulham in midweek. They still have a cushion above Spurs and Arsenal in the race for a top four place, but their form has dipped.

"We must look forward and fight for our targets," said Reina.

"We must still believe we can catch Manchester United and finish second. We must be positive to ensure we remain in the top four.

"It's now very important to win on Wednesday. It is a home game and we know it will be a different challenge to yesterday.

"It's not an easy game, but we need three points. The most important thing is to bounce back and learn from this."

Rafa slams Alonso red

By Alex Livie - Sky Sports

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez was hugely disappointed with Xabi Alonso's controversial dismissal in the 2-1 defeat at Arsenal on Sunday.

The Reds appeared to be on top when Alonso was sent from the field of play for a 'foul' on Mathieu Flamini.

The Spanish schemer appeared extremely hard done to, as he slipped on the Highbury turf and slid into Flamini.

Replays appeared to suggest that referee Steve Bennett had not witnessed the incident and it was this which upset Benitez the most.

"It is a big mistake from the referee," Benitez told Sky Sports News.

"He was not watching the play and he decided too quick to show the yellow card - it's a big mistake.

"Maybe he should watch the video and we will have another idea."

Liverpool conceded shortly after Alonso's dismissal and Benitez is in no doubts that the red card changed the game.

"It was clear, we were controlling the game, going forward and creating chances, then to play with ten players is difficult against a good team."

Steven Gerrard's mis-placed backpass gifted Arsenal victory, but Benitez refused to blame his captain.

"It's maybe bad luck because he (Gerrard) could not see the other player (Henry).

"We are all disappointed but the most important thing is the team. It is one mistake, it is not a problem of one player it is the team, we will not talk about individuals."

Liverpool now trail Manchester United by five points and have played a game more than their rivals, but Benitez says they will not give up the chase for second place.

"We play again in three days (against Fulham) and we have a lot more games to play, so we must keep going," added the Spanish tactician.

Wenger: 'Arsenal can catch Liverpool'


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says his improving young side can catch Liverpool in the Premier League after they recorded a 2-1 win over the third-placed Merseysiders on Sunday.

Arsenal knocked Real Madrid out of the Champions League in midweek but have not been at their best this season in domestic competition.

Sunday's victory put the north London club in fifth position, two points behind neighbours Tottenham Hotspur and eight adrift of Liverpool.

"I think we can catch Liverpool," Wenger told reporters. "I thought if we could win the game today, we could do it."

Wenger said his team had gained extra confidence from reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

"We gave a lot (against Real) on Wednesday night but I feel it was a third great performance from the team in a week," said Wenger.

Arsenal also crushed Fulham 4-0 at Craven Cottage eight days ago.

"This team is slowly discovering its potential and is improving its belief and confidence," added Wenger.

Thierry Henry scored both goals against Liverpool, claiming the winner after latching on to a poor backpass from England midfielder Steven Gerrard.

Wenger singled out 18-year-old Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas for special praise.

"I've seen many young players and he is one of the best," said the Frenchman.

Gerrard accepts blame for defeat

BBC Sport Online

Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard confessed "it's my fault" after his calamitous backpass presented Thierry Henry with the winner against Arsenal.

The game was poised at 1-1 before the late error and Gerrard said: "We could have gone away and nicked a draw but I've made a stupid mistake.

"I thought I'd knock it back to the keeper, waste a bit of time, but Henry was hiding behind the centre-backs.

"If there's only one player you don't want to it fall to it's Henry."

But Gerrard felt he wasn't the only one to have made a bad mistake.

Just before Henry's winning goal, referee Steve Bennett showed Xabi Alonso a second yellow card, even though the Spaniard's challenge on Mathieu Flamini appeared to result from an accidental slip.

And Gerrard added: "I think the referee has gone off the crowd's reaction.

"You can see clearly the linesman isn't going to give anything and the referee hasn't even seen the incident."

Henry double sinks Liverpool

By Alex Livie - Sky Sports

Thierry Henry scored twice as Arsenal claimed victory over Liverpool in the most fortunate of circumstances.

Henry's first was high class, but his late winner after Luis Garcia had drawn Liverpool level came as a result of a misplaced pass from Steven Gerrard.

Arsenal's skipper did produce a display of the highest order, but the controversial dismissal of Xabi Alonso which undoubtedly unsettled Liverpool shortly before Henry's winner took some of the gloss off the performance.

The result does show that Arsenal can grind out results and fires out a warning to Tottenham, while Liverpool's hopes of pipping Manchester United to second place took a jolt.

Arsene Wenger's young charges came of age when knocking Real Madrid out of the UEFA Champions League in midweek and they came into Sunday's encounter in buoyant mood.

Arsenal fans will say Henry is priceless and he showed his class inside five minutes when exchanging passes with Fredrik Ljungberg and breaking into the box, only to shoot weakly at Jose Reina.

Henry turned creator moments later as he dashed down the right, leaving Sami Hyypia in his wake, and cut the ball back for Emanuel Abebayor but he scooped his effort over the bar when it looked easier to score.

Scoring goals has been a problem for Liverpool of late and Rafa Benitez turned to Luis Garcia at Highbury, but the Spaniard was off tune on the quarter-hour as he failed to make proper contact with Stephen Warnock's dangerous cross and Jens Lehmann made a smothering save.

It was a rare attack for Liverpool in the early stages and they found themselves a goal behind on 21 minutes and it came as no surprise that Henry was the scorer.

Wenger has high hopes for Cesc Fabregas and the Spanish midfielder showed his class when threading a superb pass between two Reds defenders for Henry to gallop onto. The Frenchman is a past-master at opening up his body and curling the ball beyond the keeper and he added another goal to his scrapbook when executing the technique to perfection.

The goal buoyed Arsenal and Henry went close shortly afterwards, while Emmanuel Eboue should have added a second just after the half-hour but he opted to pass when one-one-one with Reyna and The Reds were able to scramble the ball clear.

Creating chances has not been a problem for Liverpool, rather converting them and it was a familiar story towards the end of the first half.

Peter Crouch is not as good in the air as his frame should enable him to be, and he wastefully headed wide from eight yards after being picked out by Steve Finnan.

Benite's frustration increased before the break as Xabi Alonso and Steven Gerrard went close with long-range efforts and Luis Garcia volleyed at the back post.

Arsenal could have killed off the game at the start of the second half, as The Reds failed to find any sort of rhythm, but Henry squandered two tremendous openings.

The first he curled just wide of the far post and second he shot straight at Reina after being found on the edge of the box by Alenxader Hleb.

So out of sorts were Liverpool that Gerrard and Luis Garcia tackled each other, but Arsenal's failure to kill off the contest kept the visitors in the game.

Benitez threw on Robbie Fowler in the hope of finding a way to goal and they were level within two minutes of his introduction. The man the fans call 'God' did not have a hand in the goal, but his introduction sparked Liverpool in to life as Xabi Alonso ruffled Fabregas' feathers and the ball fell to Gerrard.

Gerrard advanced before unleashing a swerving drive which the previously untroubled Jens Lehmann could only fist into the air and Garcia reacted quickest to head home from six yards.

Liverpool's equaliser led to a change in the mood at Highbury and the game took a sour turn 10 minutes from time as Xabi Alonso was dismissed in hugely controversial circumstances by referee Steve Bennett.

The Spanish schemer slipped on the Highbury turf and fell into Mathieu Flamini. Despite their being absolutely no intent, Bennett opted to send Alonso from the field.

The dismissal appeared to rock Liverpool and they gifted Arsenal the winner five minutes from time.

Gerrard is a talisman for Liverpool, but he proved to be the villain of the piece as he played a pass back to Reina without looking and only found Henry who gleefully accepted the present by rounding the keeper before slotting home.

Pires had a chance to kill off the game but hit a post following great play from Fabregas and Henry, while the latter saw Reina make a fine save from his free kick as the Highbury faithful were forced to breathe deeply before Bennett brough the game to a close.

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Thor Zakariassen