After The Match 


Liverpool-Arsenal 1-1 (1-0)        28.10.07                          PL
Goals: Gerrard (7)               Fabregas (80)
Team: Reina, Finnan, Riise, Hyypia, Carragher, Gerrard, Alonso, Mascherano, Voronin, Kuyt, Torres
Subs: Crouch (Torres 46), Benayoun (Voronin 65),
Arbeloa (Alonso 68)
Not used: Itandje, Babel
Yellow: Voronin (5), Mascherano (55), Carragher (90)
Red: None
Referee: H Webb
Attendance: 44,122
Shots on target: 5-2
Shots off target: 4-8
Blocked shots: 3-2
Fouls conceded: 17-11
Corners: 4-1
Offsides: 3-3
Possession: 36.8-63.2
Yellow: 3-2
HEADLINES "...there is
a long way
to go yet."

     Rafael Benitez

3010: We need to see more of Liverpool's...
2910: Duo heap praise on Wenger's young Gunners
2910: Reds’ character can still match flair of Gunners
2910: Gerrard: No complaints with draw
2910: Too many questions unanswered...
2810: Triple injury blow hits Liverpool
2810: We should have won, moans Cesc
2810: Wenger: "We are disappointed"
2810: Cesc rescues Anfield point 

We need to see more of
Liverpool's match winners

Liverpool Daily Post

Of all the positives that came out of the draw with Arsenal, I’m left pondering one niggling problem. That Liverpool, despite being unbeaten and showing indications of getting closer to challenging for the title this year, aren’t really moving on at all.

Look at Sunday. Steven Gerrard was Captain Fantastic, Jamie Carragher just fantastic. The day’s two outstanding performers stepping up to the plate when it matters most.

But hang on a second. Hasn’t it been that way for the past six years or so? Relying on those two to come up with the moments?

Only when that stops will Liverpool’s genuine ambitions to threaten the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United become realistic. They need more match- winners because, apart from Gerrard, they haven’t got any.

That problem only intensifies when you consider Fernando Torres is looking at several weeks out, especially as Liverpool will have to be ultra-cautious about his next comeback from injury.

If they want to challenge Manchester United they need more players to show they can take the responsibility their skipper does.

Against Middlesbrough on Saturday, Ronaldo was absolutely average for United.

But it didn’t matter because Rooney, Tevez and Nani were big enough and good enough to carry him and ensure another convincing victory.

But I just can’t imagine who would be capable of that in a Liverpool side in which Gerrard and Carragher were having off- days.

They have had a few of them this season and look at the results.

An awful home record and a faltering Champions League campaign, with only a huge helping hand from the referee to call on when Gerrard was taken off at Everton last week. They don’t seem to have the ability to blow teams away yet, regardless of who’s playing well or not, and that’s what champions are truly made of.

There is a way of addressing the issue, however, and it involves something that I tend to go on about a lot – deciding who to play and sticking with them.

You can’t tell me that Yossi Benayoun and Ryan Babel don’t have the skill and flair to make a difference and be match-winners.

But they’ve no chance of doing it if they only get 10 or 15 minutes at the end of a game each week.

I’d love to see at least one of them given a start and, if it’s not a complete disaster, staying in for a run of five successive games.

It’s the only way that Rafael Benitez will get the chance to see what they can do and the only way they can prove to him that he didn’t waste his money on them.

The Liverpool manager has taken a few gambles recently. Some, like Gerrard in the derby, paid off, others, like Torres coming back on Sunday, backfired spectacularly.

But this is one chance I feel he has to take – because let’s face it, his team have already missed too many this season.

IDEAL result in tomorrow’s Carling Cup tie at Anfield?

Liverpool 4 Cardiff 3, Robbie Fowler hat-trick

Duo heap praise on
Wenger's young Gunners

By Stephen Bramley - Sky Sports

Jamie Carragher believes Arsenal underlined their title credentials with their superb performance in the 1-1 draw at Anfield.

Cesc Fabregas' 80th minute goal secured the Gunners a well deserved point to take them back to the top of the Premier League.

And former England defender Carragher feels that anyone who questioned Arsenal's ability to challenge for honours this year are well wide of the mark.

Carragher said: "Are Arsenal as good as people say they are? You'd better believe it, I thought they had 12 men out there!"

"Arsenal are a great side, but we were very close to them, we are just six points behind and it was nearly a couple less with that display.

"We battled hard, and we are proud of the way we played with commitment and effort, but Arsenal did play well, they are going to be a tough side to catch.

"But we have been under a the cosh a bit from the critics, who seem to have forgotten that we are still unbeaten in the league ourselves this season."

The Liverpool defender added: "We know we have had too many draws. We have just held Arsenal, which we feel is a good result, but we now must improve our home form."

Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina also hailed the performance of Arsene Wenger's title hopefuls.

The Spaniard said: "There's not much doubt they were one of the best sides I have ever played against.

"They were brilliant but I think we had some chances as well. We probably did not deserve to win but we didn't deserve to lose either."

He added: "I think it is a point gained because they were the better side.

"We tried to fight and to keep our level as high as we could but they were one of the best sides I have ever seen."

Reds’ character can
still match flair of Gunners

By David Prentice - Liverpool Echo

There are still two unbeaten teams in the Premier League. But which is best equipped for the ultimate glory?

If the votes had been cast last night, it would clearly be Arsene's free spirits rather than Rafa’s flying starters who have hit an October wall.

But as Benitez forcibly pointed out after a compelling Sunday afternoon at Anfield, the Premier League title race is a marathon, not a 400 metre dash.

And while slick, sharp, fast-paced inter-passing is one quality title winners require, so too is character and guts - and Liverpool showed tons of both in a thoroughly compelling showdown at Anfield.

It's also worth noting that Arsenal are currently playing at the peak of their considerable powers.

Liverpool are struggling for both form and fit personnel.

But they still came within 11 minutes of claiming a hugely significant scalp.

"We are just six points behind," said Benitez afterwards, with a conviction which suggested he believes that margin will be reduced, not extended in the coming weeks.

Liverpool harried, chased and counter-attacked Arsenal with a doggedness which was admirable.

How much of that performance was down to team selection or team performance is open to debate.

Benitez raised eyebrows with his selection - what's new? - by sending out an enterprising 4-3-3 system for the first time this season.

The three strikers were presumably encouraged to push onto Arsenal's ball-playing back four and prevent them building attacks.

Whether it worked is debatable.

Arsenal dominated possession, but foundered time after time on a defensive Liverpool rock.

But that wasn't the only headache the Reds boss was forced to grapple with during an afternoon which proved testing even for his considerable tactical acumen.

Benitez is having to produce a passable impersonation of the little boy with his finger in the dyke right now.

Having struggled to overcome the absence through injury of Agger, Alonso and Torres in recent weeks, he welcomed back the two Spaniards, only to see them limp out of action again.

Both departures were significant.

Fernando Torres' exit left Liverpool short of pace to stretch the Arsenal rearguard, while Xabi Alonso's absence was exacerbated because Benitez couldn't call on an obvious midfield replacement, Momo Sissoko, due to a bout of overnight illness.

He then saw the heroic Javier Mascherano finish the game in clear discomfort after taking a kick to the back.

Just as one leak was staunched, another sprung up somewhere else.

And while Benitez was rapidly shuffling his resources and his options, Arsenal continued to plough relentlessly forward.

Ultimately it was the Gunners' refusal to take a backwards step - "we played with the handbrake off today," said Arsene Wenger - and Liverpool's inability to shore up the leaks, which finally proved decisive.

Alvaro Arbeloa is an unsung and versatile hero in the Liverpool ranks. But his versatility doesn't stretch to central midfield against a side as fluent as Arsenal.

He fatally hesitated 11 minutes from time when Cesc Fabregas made yet another penetrating surge into the Liverpool penalty box, and that gave the midfielder just enough time to poke a point-saving strike past Reina.

The Gunners undoubtedly deserved some reward from the game. But for all their possession, for all their fluent, elegant patterns, the Liverpool goalkeeper had not been overly exerted.

He blocked once with his chest from Emmanuel Adebayor, but was otherwise under-employed.

Manuel Almunia on the other hand, produced two high class saves to thwart Steven Gerrard and Peter Crouch.

Crouch's presence on the pitch was evidence that Benitez had almost exhausted all available options.

Steadfastly ignored through- out this season, he was still left kicking his heels on the bench even when Benitez opted for his intriguing 4-3-3 formation.

When Torres limped off at half-time he was finally handed his chance . . . and looked hell bent on making a personal point to his manager.

By his post-match comments, Benitez seemed singularly impressed.

But then there was much to admire in this Liverpool performance.

There were pre-match fears that this could be one-game too far for the creaking Sami Hyypia. He creaked again, but recovered commendably, while alongside him Jamie Carragher was magnificent.

If he could lose the worrying habit of dragging opponents over on the edge of the six yard box - Fabregas was the victim this time - his would have been an immaculate display.

It was matched by Steven Gerrard, who played with passion and plenty of game intelligence.

His best moments came in the first 45 minutes, starting, helping along and then finishing the fifth minute passage of play which ended with him crashing the ball through a non-existent Arsenal defensive wall.

The England coach had certainly seen enough.

The Anfield steward ushered him out of the stadium entrance with the words: "Your car's on the left. Safe journey home, Mr McClaren."

That was at half-time.

Even by Sven's standards, that was an early dart.

Sir Alex also followed him early, just before Arsenal scored their 79th minute equaliser.

Perhaps they both think they've seen enough of what Liverpool have to offer.

If so, they could be in for a rude awakening.

There's still plenty to come from this Liverpool side.

They're under-manned, under-performing and under-rated - yet still nobody's beaten them in the Premier League.

And there's still a long, long way to go this season . . .

Gerrard: No complaints with draw

By Paul Eaton - LFC Official Website

Steven Gerrard reflected on Liverpool's Anfield draw with Arsenal and admitted: "We have no complaints with the result."

The Reds looked to be heading for a morale boosting victory after Gerrard's early strike, but Arsenal hit back to rescue a draw when midfield star Cesc Fabregas netted his tenth goal of the season with ten minutes left to play.

The match was a fitting advert for English football with both sides going for the victory, but Gerrard admits there was a slight feeling of frustration at the final whistle that two points had slipped away in the closing stages.

"We're a bit disappointed we couldn't see the game out having taken the lead," he said. "But over the whole game I think Arsenal deserved something.

"When you're 1-0 up with ten minutes to play then you hope to see it out and take three points off the best side in the country at the moment, but we couldn't do it.

"Arsenal are a fantastic team who will always cause you problems and have chances because they are so quick on the counter attack and difficult to cope with for 90 minutes.

"We had chances as well as the goal today so there are positives for us. I think it was a fantastic match for the neutrals to watch with the game going up and down for 90 minutes. We're disappointed to have let Arsenal back into it but we can have no complaints because they deserved a point."

Gerrard opened the scoring with a thunderbolt of a free kick after just seven minutes - and he's hoping it's the first of a flurry of goals for him over the coming weeks.

"There was a bit of frustration in that shot because the goals haven't been coming as frequently as I would have liked this season," he added.

"I'll just keep working hard and if I keep striking the ball as sweetly as that then I'm confident more goals will come."

Too many questions unanswered
on Liverpool's credentials

By Nick Smith - Liverpool Daily Post

At least it’s only Manchester City presently keeping Liverpool’s place in the top four warm for them.

Rafael Benitez should get his team there eventually and yesterday’s events only do more to convince it will be a matter of time.

But looking beyond that, the wait for a 19th title seems set to agonisingly drag on into a 19th year.

A draw might be considered a good result against a rampant Arsenal, but they and Liverpool remaining the only unbeaten sides in the top flight going into November is pretty much where the parallels end. Because for a side that hasn’t lost yet, Liverpool are looking far from championship contenders, based on not only the genuine test their credentials faced yesterday, but events leading up to it.

Such as the uneasy friction between manager and captain, the disappointing league position caused by too many dropped points at home and a Champions League campaign that promises little other than the need to keep Thursday nights free in the new year. If they’re lucky.

All the while down in north London, the only disputes raging seemed to be about what was most impressive. The nature of Arsenal’s stunning 7-0 victory over Slavia Prague in midweek or the fact that it was their 12th in succession.

Once they got their heads round that, the only puzzle left to figure out is how Arsene Wenger has somehow managed to construct – in the summer he lost Thierry Henry – possibly his best ever squad.

It’s what building title-winning dynasties is all about. Something, of course, Liverpool are the original pioneers of, but memories of their last one are fading faster than daylight hours after yesterday’s bout of annual clock-altering.

Although it is depressingly premature to make shouts at who will be leading the way again at this time of year, the inescapable fact of the matter is that if you’re looking the part now then it’s usually serving notice that you will at the business end of the season.

Arsenal have the swagger and, as they proved yesterday, the staying power of Wenger’s invincibles from four years ago.

Manchester United started slowly but they’ve scored four in each of their last four games and, disregarding the Carling Cup with the same disdain their manager does, that run punctuates a 12-game winning streak.

Even Chelsea seem to have had their blip. Somehow, they’re still below Manchester City but should soon trample all over them with the ruthlessness they did at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. All three of Liverpool’s perceived main rivals are settling into the defining part of the season and striding ominously towards the Premier League riches they’ve shared between them for the past 12 seasons, not giving anyone else a sniff in the process.

To that end, Liverpool feel more left out than most. But while the aforementioned trio are emphatically answering their various doubters, at Anfield there are too many questions.

Like, how are Liverpool still unbeaten and only sixth behind Blackburn? (And how perilous is this Saturday’s evening at Ewood looking?)

And what’s the best team? The best formation? Hard to believe it was yesterday’s three-striker gamble. Or a diamond, as some suggested it might be, albeit one badly in need of a good polish.

At least it worked in starving Arsenal of vital space in midfield, especially as Liverpool could afford to sit on Steven Gerrard’s superb early goal and swallow those gaps up.

But even leading 1-0 midway through the first half, Benitez showed his unease with the whole thing by sitting down and scribbling frantically – despite the furrowed brow of concentration, you can bet he wasn’t doing Sudoku.

Also, can Liverpool win the vital games against fellow top four occupiers when it really matters?

They can certainly get themselves up for the occasion, although in Gerrard they have the match-winning talisman whose shoulders they still rely too heavily on to lift them there.

He might have equalled Cesc Fabregas in terms of goals on the day, but for the Liverpool captain this is where the similarity with the 20-year-old ended.

Given the superior ball retention the Spaniard’s team-mates displayed and the options he had when they gave it to him, it’s clear there’s aspects in Fabregas’s armour that Gerrard should be envious of.

Chances are at the end of the season, a Premier League winner’s medal will be added to that collection.

Triple injury blow hits Liverpool

BBC Sport Online

Liverpool players Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres and Javier Mascherano all face spells out after suffering injuries in Sunday's 1-1 draw against Arsenal.

Alonso (metatarsal) and Torres (abductor muscle) both had recurrences of the injuries which had kept them out for a month before the game.

Alonso limped off after 68 minutes while Torres was replaced by Peter Crouch at half-time.

Mascherano suffered a foot injury and left with his foot in a medical boot.

Manager Rafael Benitez said: "Alonso has suffered the same injury again, the metatarsal, he felt something go in his foot.

"Torres also has a similar injury, a problem with an abductor muscle. Maybe he is not as bad as before. But he could not work as hard as we wanted, we wanted his pace and it was not available.

"He just was not fit. We talked beforehand and he said he was fine. Now we must wait again, he had been out for some time and we have been pushing to get him back, but he has not been right and he still is not right.

"I will need to check with the doctor to see how the players are in the next two days."

Benitez admitted his side paid the price for the injuries they experienced during the game at Anfield.

"We had problems when we lost Torres and then Alonso. We could not control the midfield then, we also had Mascherano with a foot injury and had lost (Mohamed) Sissoko beforehand with sickness," he said.

"In the end there were too many problems against a really good team."

But he praised the contribution of his captain Steven Gerrard who netted Liverpool's goal after a difficult week.

"Stevie has been playing better and this was a very good performance," he added.

"We had a plan to use the strikers wide and for Stevie to attack through the middle with two holding players behind.

"But when we started losing players through injury, it just became too difficult to get forward.

"What pleased me most was the commitment of the players, our supporters should be happy with the efforts they put in against a very good team like Arsenal.

"Arsenal are playing well, a fantastic team. But it is too early, we are six points behind with a game in hand and there is a long way to go yet."

We should have won, moans Cesc


Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas was disappointed with Sunday's 1-1 draw at Liverpool, insisting the Gunners "deserved to get the three points"

Fabregas' strike ten minutes from time meant Arsenal leapfrogged Manchester United and climbed back to the top of the Premier League table on goals scored.

But the Gunners hit the post twice and missed open goals when players scuffed the rebounds, including one of each from a disappointed Fabregas.

"We played well but at the end, that (the result) is what matters," the Spaniard told Sky Sports.

"I'm disappointed because I hit the post and we go home disappointed because we deserved to get the three points.

"The good thing is we came back and showed character and played good football."

Of his goal, when he toe-poked past a flat-footed Jose Reina, Fabregas added: "I had more time than I thought.

"I didn't take it well but sometimes you score easy (soft) goals."

Wenger: "We are disappointed"


Gunners boss Arsene Wenger insisted the result and performance demonstrated their credentials as genuine title challengers.

He said: "We are disappointed not to have won, but I am very pleased with the attitude and performance of the team. The players are frustrated, but you have to be realistic.

"We were 1-0 down after just a few minutes against a very committed team who are good at set-pieces and counter-attack well. They have such good support at Anfield that sometimes that wins it for them.

"But we have shown fantastic quality, mental strength and togetherness, that gave us the confidence to come back and get a point."

He added: "We have come out of our first big test this season stronger. We played without the handbrake on, without any restrictions and we were faithful to the game we wanted to play.

"That is based on our technical quality and movement. Overall we handled the game very well. I cannot fault anyone, it was a fantastic game.

"I have always been very confident of what we could achieve this season, I said it before the season started and now we have convinced a few more people.

"There is a long way to go, but we have the talent to fight right at the top for the championship.

"The change from last season is that the players are growing, they are very young, the confidence is stronger as the belief.

"You could see signs last season, in the big games we did well, but we have now matured.

"We will go into the Manchester United as another big test, but after this performance we will be facing United much stronger."

Cesc rescues Anfield point

By Graeme Bailey - Sky Sports

A late goal from Cesc Fabregas gave Arsenal a deserved point at Liverpool to send them back to the top of the Premier League table.

The Reds made a great start as Steven Gerrard fired home a free-kick after just seven minutes.

Thereafter, Arsenal dominated possession and played some wonderful football - but they just could not find a way through.

Emmanuel Eboue smashed a shot against the post midway through the second half and Fabregas put the rebound wide - but the Spaniard made amends with just ten minutes left.

The leveller came after great play by Alexander Hleb as he delayed his pass to perfection to find Fabregas's run and he toe-poked the ball home as Jose Reina was wrong-footed.

It could easily have been a win for Arsenal but Fabregas saw his side-foot from 20-yards smash against Reina's post.

The hosts were intent on giving Arsenal a fierce examination, and when Gerrard blasted home from 20 yards on seven minutes it was clear the North Londoners were in for a fierce battle.

Arsenal then tore into Liverpool, causing Sami Hyypia and Jamie Carragher plenty of problems at the heart of the home defence. Both needed to hurl themselves at efforts from Rosicky and Kolo Toure.

The hosts were forced into a half-time change. Fernando Torres had seemingly damaged his calf in a first-half fall - so Peter Crouch, who scored a hat-trick in this fixture last season, entered the fray and he almost added a second when his 25-yard effort needed Manuel Almunia to turn it away at full stretch.

Arsenal almost equalised in the 54th minute when Adebayor surged into space on the right to crack a shot against the foot of a post, the ball bouncing out for Fabregas to fire over an open goal.

Liverpool were now hitting on the break as they soaked up waves of Arsenal attacks. Crouch won plenty of flick-ons and saw another long-range effort thud into Almunia's chest.

Gerrard and Voronin then set up Crouch for a run into the box and cross-shot which flashed just wide.

Arsenal sent on Gilberto and Nicklas Bendtner for Gael Clichy and Emmanuel Eboue in the 74th minute, just seconds before Kuyt's dipping volley cleared Almunia and skimmed the top of the net.

But the Gunners levelled after Hleb's run on the left created the space for Fabregas to squeeze home the equaliser.

Fabregas then hit the post from 20 yards on 86 minutes, with Bendtner firing the rebound over the bar as the game ended in a draw - which means both maintain their unbeaten starts to the new season, although Liverpool will certainly be the happier with the point.

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