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Downcast Benitez fears worst

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Phil McNulty | 00:17 UK time, Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Rafael Benitez's mood was so dark after this magnificent spectacle against Arsenal that mention of Sir Alex Ferguson and Sam Allardyce's co-ordinated character assassination on Liverpool's manager was treated as a moment of light relief.

Benitez said nothing but at least allowed a hint of a smile to play across his face - a brief respite from his agonised outpourings about the "massive mistakes" that may just have pulled the rug from under Liverpool's Premier League title challenge.

He had the best seat in the house for a glorious, free-flowing spectacle that saw remarkable personal feats in the shape of Andriy Arshavin's four goals for Arsenal and outstanding contributions for Liverpool from Fernando Torres and Yossi Benayoun.

And yet if you had been the brave man who informed Benitez he had just witnessed a classic - and Liverpool seem to be involved in them on a regular basis these days - he would have been in no mood to listen.

This is because the real winners in this meeting between Liverpool's big hitters and the ruthless counter punchers of Arsenal were actually Manchester United.

Rafa Benitez and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

Liverpool co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett were in town and on the front row of Anfield's directors' box in a rare show of public unity, and what a treat they got.

At times the American duo looked bewildered at what was unfolding before them - but if they like the basketball that is so popular in their own country, then the end-to-end nature of this wonderful piece of entertainment would have been right up their street.

It is easy to condemn Benitez and his like as killjoys when they deliver the time-honoured "it was a great game for fans but not for managers" in the immediate aftermath of a game that could stand alongside any played in the Premier League this season.

Goals. Chances. Mistakes. Saves. Controversy. Drama. I loved it. Every madcap minute of it that saw Arsenal take the lead, Liverpool draw level and lead, Arsenal draw level and lead, Liverpool draw level, Arsenal lead again and then Liverpool draw level amid five minutes of stoppage time tomfoolery.

What is there not to like about that? One glance at Benitez and you knew he was about to tell you.

Benitez had the appearance of a man who hated almost every last second of it - and if you looked hard enough you could see his point.

For Benitez, the consequences may be too great to look back on a point gained by bravery and spirit, but undermined by criminally careless defending, for him to regard this as a celebration of the finest English football has to offer.

This is because Benitez knows this was a missed opportunity - Liverpool have had Manchester United worried in recent weeks and it was starting to show.

What other explanation could there be for the faintly embarrassing accusation from Ferguson, supported by a relegation-threatened Allardyce who should have more to worry about, that one innocuous gesture by Benitez after a Liverpool goal against Blackburn effectively amounted to one of the worst insults one manager can inflict on another?

And now, because of individual errors and an unforgiveable lack of discipline, Liverpool have crucially released the pressure on United and Ferguson by a notch.

It was a strange experience to be inside Anfield on Tuesday. There was the usual noisy fervour and magnificently vocal backing, especially in urging Liverpool to come from behind three times, but there was also tangible tension and anxiety.

And this transmitted itself to Liverpool's players, with Fabio Aurelio so anxious to take a first-half free-kick (first half this remember) that he simply picked it up and hurriedly lashed it 60 yards and out for an Arsenal goal-kick.

Andriy Arshavin

Individual defensive errors were committed everywhere by Liverpool. Javier Mascherano for the first, Alvaro Arbeloa for the second, Aurelio for the third and just about everyone for the fourth.

Each time Arshavin punished them. Four shots four goals. Perfect strike rate and savage punishment for Liverpool.

Liverpool have transformed themselves from the Premier League's great pragmatists into dazzling showmen since they wiped the floor with Real Madrid at Anfield on 10 March. They have scored four goals or more in six of their last eight games and 12 in their last three, even without injured Steven Gerrard.

The shackles have been released as the prospect of an unlikely hauling in of Manchester United suddenly came into view - and while this made for edge of the seat entertainment against Arsenal, they may just have allowed themselves to get too carried by the realisation that they could actually win the title.

Liverpool have made the transition to a potent attacking force with ease, but they are a work in progress when it comes to bolting it on to defensive reliability and this may prove their undoing, at least this season.

Amid Benitez's constant repetitions about the bad goals Liverpool gave away, he conceded the fourth goal was the one that hurt him most on just about every level.

Liverpool corner, Arsenal break, Theo Walcott pass, a "where's everybody gone?" look from keeper Pepe Reina and Arshavin's fourth goal. All done in the blink of an eye with virtually all of Benitez's team nowhere to be seen.

It was an offence to just about every Benitez mantra about tactical discipline, a dagger through the heart of his principles. And the fact that Liverpool were chasing the winning goal did not allow him to excuse it.

Arsene Wenger was rather more upbeat about affairs than Benitez. He could afford to be because any talk of Arsenal actually winning the title was the stuff of fantasy.

But make no mistake, Arsenal could yet prove a wild card in this compelling title race with a visit to Old Trafford to come on 16 May. Liverpool's problem is that it may come too late to have a significant effect on the destiny of the Premier League.

Wenger deserves huge credit for Arsenal's approach. They did not step aside with their sights on the Champions League, and Wenger was at pains to assure anyone with Liverpool's interests at heart in his post-match briefing that their commitment will be just as total when they travel to Old Trafford.

He has captured a special talent in Arshavin. Tiny with a rolling gait that disguises a wonderful turn of speed and a full range of tricks, he lurked on the margins before striking to deadly effect, almost begging the ironic question: "Yes, but apart from scoring four goals, what did he actually do?"

It was a stunning display of efficient finishing and bodes well for Arsenal's future.

So many parts of Liverpool's play also bode well for the future, but Benitez's body language betrayed the feeling that games may now just run out on them.

For the neutral it was a wonderful evening, played out against the heart-warming backdrop of a tribute to Liverpool legend, and a member of Arsenal's 1971 double-winning side, Ray Kennedy.

Mosaics at both ends of Anfield paid homage to Kennedy, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, to raise awareness of Liverpool fan Karl Coppack's Ray of Hope appeal, which has collected over £40,000 to fund essential equipment and services for the man still known as "Razor" at Anfield.

He made an emotional and wonderfully-received appearance at half-time, and if there was one thing that united both neutrals as well as those involved with Liverpool and Arsenal, it was that this was a fitting game worthy of his presence at the ground he graced so often.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    ONE OF THE BEST GAMES FOR A NEUTRAL TO WATCH...BUT WHY DID UTD GET NANI AN NOT THE LITTLE RUSSIAN GENIUS???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  • Comment number 2.

    People are deluded if they think Liverpool were never going to drop any more points this season. People are deluded to think United will not drop any more points either. Both teams are showing signs of strain

    Knee jerk article

  • Comment number 3.

    Very good blog Phil.

    Liverpool dominated Arsenal last night, it was careless mistakes and ruthless finishing from a world class player that cost us, we can have no complaints. If it had just been Bentdner without Arshavin we would have won 4-0 !

  • Comment number 4.

    Loved every second of it, as a United fan I'd have taken a 0-0 boring FA Cup Semi-esque match, as it was I got the result I wanted and an enthralling game of football.

    Mistakes aside, Arshavin's 4 finishes were top top class as were those of Torres'. Liverpool have a striker that is the envy to every other club in the world, they way he killed the ball for the second goal with his first touch was sublime.

    A win tonight and it brings number 18 that little bit closer :)

  • Comment number 5.

    Good point for Arsenal, but please please please defend like that against Utd in the 3 upcoming games!!!

  • Comment number 6.

    I am a little bemused by the fact that despite conceding 11 goals in four games, no-one is pointing accusuing fingers at Reina. Cech doesn't get the same blinkered praise when he ships a few goals. Not a single save last night- defensive errors yes but the keeper could have done more with all the goals, particularly the fourth.

  • Comment number 7.

    I don't think you can write Liverpool (or Chelsea) off just yet. With the twist and turns we have seen I wouldn't discount anything.
    As an Arsenal fan I was proud of their performance last night. We went to Anfield where Liverpool are unbeaten in ages and without our first choice GK, first choice left back and 2nd and 3rd choice CB's. We were never going to keep a clean sheet and had to ride our luck, but we showed a lot of character to keep plugging away, especially at 2-1 when Liverpool had the wind in their sails.
    And both sets of fans were tremendous too.

  • Comment number 8.

    excellent game to watch yesterday, although i'm a neutral i still wanted Liverpool to win to keep the title race going. I think the turning point from a Liverpool point of view was Reira not playing Torres in on goal when they were 2-1 up, he delayed the pass too long when Torres surely would have scored. Liverpool were well on top at this point and 3-1 would probably have killed the game off.

  • Comment number 9.

    Result - Liverpool 4 Arshavin 4....Gutted. We should have never given Gunners the chance. Reina didn't even make a save...Here's hoping UTD drop a few points tonight.
    EPL just keeps on surprising. Whether LFC win the EPL or not...no1 can call them defensive and non-entertaining!

  • Comment number 10.

    A fantastic fabulous rollercoaster of a game, showcasing all that's good about the premiership! Why oh why didn't Liverpool show this form when playing Stoke, Hull, West Ham, Fulham and ManCity at home!? Most of those games were dull dour affairs where the reds looked as though they could play for 2 days and never score the winner. Has Rafa only just discovered the worth of Benayoun as a roving striker just behind Torres? In truth if Stevie was fit Benny might not have got a game!

  • Comment number 11.

    I hope, as a well-respected pundit, Mr. McNulty you could also discusss the match from Wenger's perspective. I don't believe this match is completely positive for Wenger. Arsenal could have snatched away 3 points from Anfield but their defensive mistake cost them. Also, this match isn't completely negative as well for Liverpool as well. Liverpool showed attacking quality, despite their sloppy defending. Anyway, it was a fantastic match from both teams. Cheers!

  • Comment number 12.

    I have to admit that Liverpool are becoming extremely entertaining to watch (I really never enjoyed watching them until late this season).

    It's humorous, at times - but they are producing amazing games of football and, for that, I tip my hat.

    Business end of the season, however, champions need to batten down the hatches and defend well. Liverpool have failed in this regard (and they're not the only team do fail in this regard!)

    It's still not over but it is still in our hands, as Rafa correctly claims. But it's been in our hands for what... months now? So this is nothing new. Every dropped point will alter the look of the run-in.

    But who cares about that, for the moment? What a game of football! I dislike people that moan about games that end 0-0 and complain that it's boring, but exciting and entertaining football should be praised for what it is.

    Great stuff. Nice one, Liverpool and Arsenal. That was fun.

  • Comment number 13.

    I can't agree that "Wenger deserves great credit for Arsenal's approach, they did not just step aside."

    Wenger understandably rested some key players. He has one trophy to play for and, rightly, will concentrate all his efforts on that.
    It was a game Liverpool should have won easily.

    They got a huge confidence boost from their "purple patch" and may have lost sight of the basics. Scoring freely is one thing but 11 goals conceded in 4 games is a problem. They've only won 1 of their last 4.

    They've given it a good go, and it's not over yet, but when you look at the Arsenal and Chelsea revivals lately you can't help but feel that this may be Liverpool's best shot for a number of seasons.

    As for Arshavin, brilliant on the night but one swallow does not a summer make.

  • Comment number 14.

    Following the 4-4 draw, the real issue is Liverpool's mentality, not simply who wins the 2009 Premiership. It is foolish to think Liverpool are out of the title race this year but the significant consequence of their approach since Real Madrid is the birth of an attacking mentality characteristic of all the great Liverpool teams of the 1980s in particular. If 2009 is not to be their year, and they run out of games as Phil suggests, then roll on 2010 if this is the way they play. This Liverpool team will find the defensive solidity to go with their new-found attacking prowess. When next will Arsenal, or any other team, have four attempts on target against Liverpool and score four goals, or Pepe Reina pick the ball out of his net four times without making a single save ! So the future is bright even if mid-May 2009 comes a game or two too soon.

  • Comment number 15.

    If it had just been Bentdner without Arshavin we would have won 4-0 !
    ....................

    What a stupid comment. You might as well say if Torres and Benayoun hadn't played either it would have been a 0-0 draw.

    You might like to consider that with Gallas, Clichy, Adebeyour and van Persie out injured you were playing a greatly weakened team.

    It was a great game and I was over the moon at 4-3 but not too disappointed when you equalised. I personally think the game deserved a draw.

    I realise that it was a hard for Liverpool's title dreams so I don't expect too much fairness in your comments. Who knows perhaps we can do the same at Old Trafford and balance the scales for you.

  • Comment number 16.

    Godd blog, Outstandung match,if I were Rafa I would have been Raging over the 3rd Arshavin goal most of all, that and Liverpools 4th were the result of some of the worst defending I've seen in a while and I watch SCOTTISH football.

    Utd would be best severed having already won the League by the time Arsenal come calling at OT in May cause they are only going to improve as the season goes on and players come back from Injury and with there current form UTD will struggle to cope with Arsenal in there 3 upcoming matches.

  • Comment number 17.

    7. At 09:49am on 22 Apr 2009, GoonerRon wrote:
    I don't think you can write Liverpool (or Chelsea) off just yet. With the twist and turns we have seen I wouldn't discount anything.
    As an Arsenal fan I was proud of their performance last night. We went to Anfield where Liverpool are unbeaten in ages and without our first choice GK, first choice left back and 2nd and 3rd choice CB's. We were never going to keep a clean sheet and had to ride our luck, but we showed a lot of character to keep plugging away, especially at 2-1 when Liverpool had the wind in their sails.
    And both sets of fans were tremendous too.

    ----------------------------------------

    United fan here. I was hugely impressed with Arsenal's passing and attacking play last night. Liverpool played well enough but your passing, except a few minor mistakes, was a beauty to watch. Effortless, at times.

    The score tells its own story about the defensive issues both teams had but man, I loved watching Arsenal sweep the ball through Liverpool's attack, midfield and then defence - often as if they were standing still (yet they were not).

    Really enjoyed the game - was laughing my head off constantly, as well :)

    And yes, coming back from 2-1 down when Liverpool were raging... took amazing character. But the passing is what did it for you. Even at 2-1... I felt you would be able to score more because you were moving the ball about so well.

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    Good point about Liverpool struggling defensively since they finally decided to gamble and become an attacking side. Its hard to keep a balance and they are struggling with it at the moment, especially as its not something they or Rafa have done before on a regular basis.

    Attacking football rarely wins the champions league as they found out to their cost, and now they have come unstuck in the title race. Its still no where near over, but it allows United one more potential slip up.

    I think Liverpool though that after their defeats of United and Madrid, they would just go out and outscore all comers. If only it were that easy...

  • Comment number 20.

    At least Arsenal can point to injuries for their abysmal defending... what's Liverpools excuse? And where did Howard Webb get six minutes of added time from?!! The second Arshavin goal was pure quality.

  • Comment number 21.

    Where did the 5 minutes of added time come from? (which turned into 6!)
    Howard Webb isn't a liverpool supporter is he?...........

  • Comment number 22.

    2. At 09:31am on 22 Apr 2009, Kapnag wrote:
    People are deluded if they think Liverpool were never going to drop any more points this season. People are deluded to think United will not drop any more points either. Both teams are showing signs of strain

    Knee jerk article

    -----------------------------------------------

    The difference is, United can afford to drop points, especially now.

    Not sure why this is a knee jerk article, we're in the middle of the title run-in and Liverpool have dropped points at a crucial time, what is Phil supposed to write about?

  • Comment number 23.

    Sweeeeeet, it was, for a United fan! But Arsenal spoilt the party with their dismal defending! But I'll look on the brighter side: that same porous defence will be trying to stop United's goal machines when United's backline is back in full gear! How can u lose 2 points with hardly 2 minutes to play, having scored 4? But hey, it's a game of football, and United almost blew away the CL trophy with similar carelessness against Porto!

    Benitez has been talking too much lately, and I love to see his face even more these days!!!

  • Comment number 24.

    20. At 10:03am on 22 Apr 2009, OldRedBren wrote:
    At least Arsenal can point to injuries for their abysmal defending... what's Liverpools excuse? And where did Howard Webb get six minutes of added time from?!! The second Arshavin goal was pure quality.

    -----------------------------

    The goal was right out of Sensible Soccer :D

    (Wonder if anyone knows what I'm talking about there)

  • Comment number 25.

    This has really been a ridiculous season. Liverpool entertaining everyone and United as boring as sin apart from a handful of games. Incredible that four months ago Liverpool were pulling away but then fell apart, then United did the same.

    I could have stayed up overnight (in Japan right now) to watch the game but decided better not to. Gutted now...

  • Comment number 26.

    5. At 09:43am on 22 Apr 2009, kevthered83 wrote:

    Good point for Arsenal, but please please please defend like that against Utd in the 3 upcoming games!!!

    ------------------------------------------

    Liverpool put 4 past you at your own place / as did Chelsea - Please Man U defend the way you did v Liverpool in the 3 up and coming games again Arsenal.

    At least we have some sort of excuse for the defending with 2nd choice GK and a 17yr old playing @ LB and Silvestre possibly the slowest CB in the PL starting for us

  • Comment number 27.

    Where was the Arsenal pressure last night? I have to admit it's pretty entertaining watching Liverpool nowadays cos every team they play fails to defend properly or doesn't bother to pressure or tackle.

    Having seen how Liverpool were piling on the pressure last night you would think Arsenal would do some closing down and make a few small fouls here and there to slow the pace down, but no, none of it.

    If it was against Spurs or Utd you would see tackles flying in all over the place and no time on the ball. When you think about it Liverpool are getting a free ride.

    Every opposition against Utd this season has parked the bus in front of goal, why can't they do that for Liverpool?

    It's bad enough that every time they play a team, most of the key players are injured or suspended.

    Begs to question whether Liverpool have actually been any good this season or if they've just been dead lucky.

  • Comment number 28.

    Hi Phil,
    Good piece. Just to point out that it may as well be the pressure Liverpool is under that is responsible for the "massive mistakes" at the moment. True, Man Utd has gone through a dip in form but to be honest, as a Man Utd fan, our dip has really not cost us much as others predicted. It think against Pompey we have to get a result which will put enormous pressure on Liverpool. True Arsenal has to come to the Theatre of Dreams, but that will take care of itself. Go United!!

  • Comment number 29.

    Mixed feelings as an Arsenal fan, the point is good and we're in good form (offensively at least!) but we couldn't hang onto the lead and I'd prefer Man Utd to be under pressure by the time we have to play them in the CL semi-final. Plus it's more fun having a down-to-the-wire Premiership title chase.

    Simply put, if we can beat Man Utd in the league then Liverpool still have a chance. If Man Utd draw or beat us in that game, I think it's really all over for Liverpool.

  • Comment number 30.

    A Great game with great goals. But where did the 5 mins of added on time come from? It was actually 6 and a half mins before the Ref blew for full-time. I thought this only happened at Old Trafford!

  • Comment number 31.

    As a Liverppol fan, the less said about the match there better. The highlight of the night was seeing Ray Kennedy. Hell we could have even stuck him in defence and he'd have done a job.

  • Comment number 32.

    2 (Fernando Torres + Yossi Benayoun) = One Andrey Arshavin, JUST LOOK AT THE QUALITY THERE!!!

  • Comment number 33.

    29. At 10:16am on 22 Apr 2009, Ryushinku wrote:


    Simply put, if we can beat Man Utd in the league then Liverpool still have a chance.

    ------------------------------

    Not necessarily. If all things remain equal by the time United play their catch-up game against Wigan, which is immediately before they play you, then they will be 6 points ahead with only two games left to play.

    If that scenario is possible, then so is the scenario that Liverpool drop another two points in the interim and United drop none. In which case, by the time we play you, we'll already be champions.

    I'm not saying this WILL happen, but I am saying the timing of Liverpool's game against Arsenal is much worse for Liverpool than it might be for United.

  • Comment number 34.

    Nice article Phil. As a Chelsea fan I'm was watching the score swing around with mixed emotions but ultimately, it is always a nice sight seeing that many Scousers looking miserable.

    You must have enjoyed it though Phil cause your blog seems to veer onto Robbo Robson territory with some of the phrases you use.

    The only thing I would say though, isn't it shameful in these times that the fund for Ray Kennedy has so far raised only £40,000. That'll be just a couple of days wages to Gerrard then. In fact, anyone know what his appearance fee on Sky would have been last night?

  • Comment number 35.

    I don't understand all the comments saying that it was 'careless mistakes' that cost Liverpool the win. Do they think Arsenal were a shining example of how to defend? At least we (Arsenal) had the excuse of an unsettled back 5.

    The fact is, most goals are due to 'careless mistakes', or 'shocking defending', if you are Alan Hanson. Very few are the result of unstoppable skill.

  • Comment number 36.

    Fantastic game! that's what football is all about. A point in the end was deserved for both teams, but, although it seemed almost something of an anti climax because they really needed the win, Liverpool's equaliser for 4-4 could yet prove vital. United have seven games left, lose two, or draw three and Liverpool will be above you, as the reds will not drop another point!

    I have been amazed over the years how title races have changed in the final five or six games of the season, United cannot afford rest on their laurels, and both Liverpool and United should keep one eye open for Chelsea.

  • Comment number 37.

    Wow, not a game for the faint hearted, but what a mish mash of defensive errors from LFC, not good for Rafa and his men at all, lets just hope he does not go to Hull this weekend with the view that it will be a case of turning up and bagging 3points! Hull are the current free falling team in the Prem, but they are due some luck in front of goal and last nights viewing could give them hope. Lets hope not, and Rafa sorts his back line out quickly. Come on LFC.

  • Comment number 38.

    24. At 10:12am on 22 Apr 2009, YdissDC wrote:

    The goal was right out of Sensible Soccer :D

    (Wonder if anyone knows what I'm talking about there)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I do. What a classic that was. Did you ever have the cover disk from Amiga Format (I think) where the players were apples and pears and the referee was a walnut? Also, there was a Cannon Fodder version where the players were soldiers and the ball was a bomb that went off periodically leaving your team short?

  • Comment number 39.

    In answer to the people who asked where Howard Webb got all the injury time from, referees are directed to add 30 seconds injury time for every goal or substitution. There were 7 goals and 4 subs in the second half making up 5 1/2 minutes, plus a further sub in injury time bringing it to 6 minutes. That is, of course, assuming he accounted for no further stoppages at all in the second half.

  • Comment number 40.

    Great blog Phil on an excellent game!

    Well done Arsenal, the only team that actually scares me when the come to Anfield and rightly so. Sammy got it spot on in his pre-match press conference "do they have a weaker team"? No, and they showed it last night. Defensive errors ruined another night for us, as it did against Chelsea last week, and the subsequent point drop it has probably handed it to United. We should have taken those four chances in the opening minutes and it may have been a different result... shame, but we could have been punished harder as their counter-attacking is top drawer!

  • Comment number 41.

    Phil, the game was really entertaining and dramatic as you stated. It clearly demonstrates that the premier league will end dramatically. As a Chelsea fan, I was supporting Arsenal to win but unfortunately Liverpool proved again that they are hard to die. Phil, what I have observed from the past few games is that the defense of each of the big clubs is getting shaky these days. Imagine, the scorelines and results for Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal. Hope, Chelsea will win her game against Everton to keep her title bid alive.

  • Comment number 42.

    Great game for the neutral indeed however i dont understand why Sky sports persist with putting 2 ex liverpool players on a panel after the game. If its not gerard when hes injured, you have jamie rednapp, souness, mcallister consistently putting their bias commentary on games. I also think that if we are going to talk about defensive errors Phil, surely 3 of liverpools 4 goals need to be put down to poor defending by half an arsenal team.

  • Comment number 43.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 44.

    As Arsene Wenger said, the game was a privilage to be at. Obviously as a Liverpool fan I know even though we played some breathtaking football, its results that count and a draw isnt quite good enough. I wont talk too much about the game as everyone is commentating on it. As for the time added and all those who are complaining where did it come from, I will explain. A referee will add 30 secs on for each goal scored + 30 secs for each substitution made. There were 7 goals in the second half and 4 substitutions. That makes 5 and a half minutes straightaway. On top of that both Fabregas and Benayoun were injured, so that is why over 6 minutes were played. Anyway great match by both teams and I will also praise Arshavin who showed how to finish, brilliant. Please do it against Man Utd in the league please.

  • Comment number 45.

    WILL ROBBIE KEANE STILL HAVE SOME INFLUENCE ON THE TITLE RACE?
    Surely, if Liverpool win the league, he will receive a winners medal?!
    He will go with Spurs to Old Trafford with extra incentive to do well.
    Will Spurs play him at Anfield on the last day if the title is still not decided? - he will have a conflict of interest! Help Spurs win but forego a Premier League Champions medal, or scuff all his chances and score one at the wrong end?! Interesting....

  • Comment number 46.

    #1, Fergie couldn't buy Arshavin coz his name starts with 'Ars-'. So he ended up with Nani, the 'new CR 7, the new gelled tumbler, the only player in the North West who can do a backflip! Not Fergie's best buy by a country mile!

  • Comment number 47.

    38. At 10:37am on 22 Apr 2009, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    24. At 10:12am on 22 Apr 2009, YdissDC wrote:

    The goal was right out of Sensible Soccer :D

    (Wonder if anyone knows what I'm talking about there)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I do. What a classic that was. Did you ever have the cover disk from Amiga Format (I think) where the players were apples and pears and the referee was a walnut? Also, there was a Cannon Fodder version where the players were soldiers and the ball was a bomb that went off periodically leaving your team short?

    -----------------------------

    I played the latter :)

    I could still play Sensible World of Soccer today, I think I have it on my PC :) - there's a decent fanbase for the game still - people still update the teams to this day.

    I don't know if I'm allowed to post this link but here it is:

    http://forum.sensiblesoccer.info/

    One site that supports the game. I haven't gone there in a while... I might have a look and see if they've updated this season yet :D

    Arshavin's second was a text-book diagonal, out-swerving shot from Sensi :) To be honest, the whole game felt like watching a 3d version of SWOS hehe.

  • Comment number 48.

    That game proves what a beautiful game this football of ours is...

    Two normally quite assured defences concede 4, Liverpool for the second time in as many games (must be noted it is the 3rd time in as many games that they have scored 4)

    A record breaking Man U defence concedes 4 at the hands of Liverpool, caution is really being thrown to the wind and nobody is holding back.

  • Comment number 49.

    Brilliant article, although I beg to differ on the Allardyce stuff.

    Yes, Allardyce has more things to worry but that is not an incentive to not speak about disrespect to him.

    In the 2 games after the incident, Liverpool have conceded 4 each. Atleast now Benitez will know that he shouldn't show that gesture after just 2 goals!

  • Comment number 50.

    To Banclattenburg that is the most ridiculous one eyed uneducated comment I have seen on these boards, and if done tounge in cheek to create a response then it worked but somehow I doubt it and you, probally do have that little football knowledge which is a shame because it has been a great season with 3 great sides going toe to toe all the way through and hard work and skill has what has seen them through to this stage of the season not luck!

  • Comment number 51.

    Re 39. deejay
    -------------------
    Think you're wrong there - according to the rules of the game (Law 7)there's no allowance for goals scored.

    Allowance for Time Lost
    Allowance is made in either period for all time lost through:
    • substitutions
    • assessment of injury to players
    • removal of injured players from the field of play for treatment
    • wasting time
    • any other cause
    The allowance for time lost is at the discretion of the referee.

    That being the case, with 4 subs (2 mins) where do the other 4½ mins come from?

  • Comment number 52.

    lagellerotumblero wrote:
    #1, Fergie couldn't buy Arshavin coz his name starts with 'Ars-'. So he ended up with Nani, the 'new CR 7, the new gelled tumbler, the only player in the North West who can do a backflip! Not Fergie's best buy by a country mile!
    -------------------------------

    Dont worry about it you got ManUcho instead!

    Nani dubbed the 'new ronaldo' except without the tricks ect - to be fair he scores a 30 yarder once a season....twice if ur lucky. Fergie must have alot of cash to spend on 'potential' talaent

  • Comment number 53.

    1009, joreddevil. You don`t think Ferguson is talking too much then?? He looked and sounded quite ridiculous with his latest Rafa swipe regarding disrespecting Allardyce. I mean, come on, Allardyce is there to be disrespected isnt he? Does anybody have respect for the way his teams play the beautiful game?
    Ferguson has lost the plot big time, and the future`s bright for Rafa`s Red of LFC.

  • Comment number 54.

    Seriously speaking, great game y/day, errors were littered here and there, but football is a game of mistakes, innit? Doesn't do 'Pool the world of good at the mo', but people haven't pointed out their superior GD compared to MU. Might have a factor in the run in, coz MU haven't played Arsenal yet, and it's not plain sailing for MU till the end...will be a several weeks of squiggly-bum to come, from an Arsenal fan's POV! As for Arshavin...U BEAUTY! U SUPERSTAR! DEFINETLY BETTER THAN A CHOCLATE CHIP COOKIE!

  • Comment number 55.

    awesome match... made me cry a little after it tho, think deep down, the chance to get this title rested on beating arsenal, altho a pompy result tonight could renew optimism.

    asharvin, did nothing apart from score 4 goals, n took all for so well, n if u can pop up n do that, then he neednt do anything else.. particulaly when liverpool gifted him 3 if not all of his goals... but much credit for the lad, i could not have been more impressed with the lad.

    liverpool - minus shackles = brilliant to watch atm, n apart from the howler of a game from a liverpool stand point at home to chelsea, they have been free-flowing, but the last 2 games we have lost the defensive solidarity that we have been famed for... probably a by-product of attacking football... something we all love, but i for 1 would much rather have a solid defence n a 1-0 win, with a boring match atm. what gives me some optimism though is that even with those defensive problems, and without our '1 man army' steven gerrard, we still have enough about us to even get a point against a much improved arsenal side, and even managed to score 4 at the bridge, didnt loose the game, which confidence-wise after the anfield result i think the lads would have needed (n i cant remember the last team to score 4 at the bridge).

    securing 2nd place is a priority anyway, getting 1st relies too much on others, getting second places removes the qualification factor, and guarantees the cash from then CL group phases earlier (bare in mind taht rafa never really has all his money to spend in the summer because a chunk of it relies on actually qualifying, n as good as we are, anything in football can happen right? take Standard Liège, who gave liverpool a right good old fright) and most of us realistically asked for second place with a challenge upto and around the 10 game mark... would go as far as saying that sacrificing the cups we have, or atleast going out of them to get that position in the league is another thing i if not a few other would have taken n will take.

    anyway, sad night for our challenge in the league, but the team have been as good as any team in europe right now, only barca can be better atm. hope this continues to the end of the season, can still have a great ending yet, n if not, we have shown how good this team actually is, and a few extra's in the summer, and our squad can actually have a rest this year, then we can look forward, knowing that only a few extra percent and we may have a fully fledged title assault.

  • Comment number 56.

    Liverpool have had to go for it to have any chance of overtaking Man U and have shown great courage,commitment and no shortage of ability by putting in a valiant attempt over the last couple of months.
    Yes defensive mistakes may have cost them last night but it could so easily have gone the other way with the number of chances they created and then they would have been hailed as a great attacking force and a powerful argument for other teams to do likewise.
    Pundits are very fond of critising teams as too defensive and not entertaining enough so it is rather hypocritical to harp on about an all out attacking team's defensive mistakes - players cannot be at both ends of the pitch at the same time. The philosophy of all out attacking football is that you should be confident that you will score more goals than the opposition - Liverpool displayed this and but for one world class performance from one player( he will probably never repeat this feat) were very close to achieving this.
    I know good defending is as praiseworthy as good attacking but would Liverpool have been so close to United and had such momentum if they had played any other way.
    I for one hope Benitez does not discard the attacking Liverpool we have seen of late but instead addresses improving how Liverpool deal with set pieces and breakaways - the second I suspect can be addressed by the injection of additional pace in the defence and possibly midfield.

    As for the added 5 to 6 minutes - the referee adds 30 seconds per substitution,adds time for the period wasted when goals are scored which in this case is 7 in the second half,time for the inevitable injuries real and fake, and time for timewasting which these days some teams start doing in the first half - personally I am surprised all games don't have an additional 10 minutes.

  • Comment number 57.

    YdissDC

    Thanks. Just seeing the logo again evokes so many early 90's memories. And yes, Sensi was always better than Kick Off. That was just silly pinball. Although, the comedy value of Microprose Soccer when it rained was hard to beat.

    Moving on, I just wonder if last nights result will be a boost to Man U tonight and whether the cushion will allow just a little complacency to creep in. Pompey have been much better of late with Paul Hart.

  • Comment number 58.

    chopper2288 - it's no better on the radio. 5Live had Alan "I'm not biased towards my team Liverpool much" Green, and Lawro - although, in Lawro's defence he is quite impartial. We don't have biased refereeing, why should we have to listen to one sided commentary??

    Anyway, good result for the Gunners. Scoring 4 up there when we were behind twice too. Gerrard aside, Liverpool had no excuses. We were short of RVP, Adebayor, Gallas, Clichy and Almunia.

    Unbeaten in something like 18 now?

    In Wenger We Trust!!!!

  • Comment number 59.

    The list of teams we've scored 4 against in the last two months is ridiculous! Only 2 of our last 7 games we have NOT scored 4, and in one of those games (Fulham away) we hit the woodwork FOUR times!

    Man Utd
    Real Madrid
    Aston Villa (5)
    Chelsea
    Arsenal
    Blackburn

    Staggering stuff, obviously conceding 4 against Arsenal and Chelsea is worrying to, but the other games the defense was solid.

    The draw doesn't change things TOO much as our goal difference is five better. We now need Utd to lose 2 instead of drawing 1 and losing 1, so it's still very possible especially as they have games against Arsenal and City at home, and away games against relegation strugglers Borough (who are their bogey team lately) and Hull. Plus a game against a Portsmouth side in need of a point tonight this title race is far from over.

  • Comment number 60.

    Let's take a few points..

    To cj_don. Wenger did admit to being half-delighted and half-disappointed. And there was no disguising which half was which. He was disappointed with the four goals and also he was frustrated that they conceded the lead after going ahead again so late on.

    He was beaming at the very mention of Andriy Arshavin's name and rightly so. Four shots four goals - not bad at all.

    Wenger's approach is always positive, despite the fact that Arsenal were penned in by Liverpool for long periods, and it certainly whets the appetite for the Champions League games against Manchester United.

    Liverpool's positive approach deserves praise, but they have not got the balance right between attack and defence on recent evidence, and I include the Champions League game against Chelsea at Anfield in that.

    Interesting to hear so many posts on the amount of added time in the second half. I was actually bemused by the lack of added time in the first half, when only one minute extra was played despite lengthy breaks in play for treatment to Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas.

    And yes, I take the point about some poor Arsenal defending for Liverpool's goals, but the concensus at the final whistle was that we had just witnessed something really special.

    How do Liverpool fans think Steven Gerrard's absence has affected them? It certainly hasn't stopped them scoring goals has it?

    And how they must regret not adopting this approach against teams like Stoke, West Ham, Fulham and Manchester City earlier in the season.

  • Comment number 61.

    great game of football (again) though no doubt we'll have the same whingers on (like last week) about the defensive errors actually making it a bad game :yawn:

    Liverpool were the better team, deserved the win but that's football - can't take anything away from Arshavin's brilliant finishing. Reina only had a chance with the third.

    Liverpool fans - magnificent to the end, yet again.


    Well done, Phil, btw on calling Ferguson/Allardyce for that embarrassing show they made of themselves last week. No wonder Ferguson wants to draw a line under it, it was a truly shameful episode.

  • Comment number 62.

    #56 iknowhatilike

    Pundits are very fond of critising teams as too defensive and not entertaining enough so it is rather hypocritical to harp on about an all out attacking team's defensive mistakes - players cannot be at both ends of the pitch at the same time.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I agree. Even last night Andy Gray was saying in his usual 'I know it all with hindsight' way, that Liverpool were silly to concede the fourth through chasing the win when they could have had one point safely in the bank. It is precisely because Liverpool have settled for a draw in other games this season that that they have not got those extra two points sometimes. Some teams risk losing one point in the hope of chasing all three. Too often this season, that has not been Liverpool.

    Still, the only things consistent with Sky are the self celebration and the absolute lack of impartiality from Redknapp. A shocking pundit.

  • Comment number 63.

    So Liverpol get 7 minutes injury time because they are chasing a game! Intereting.

    Someone tried to jusify this based on 30 secs for every substitution. Laughable really. Why doesn't this happen in every game then? I have witnessed many games with an equal number of substitutions and they certainly did not get 7 minute added on!

    Liverpool keeps getting these decisions and everybody turns a blind eye. I saw Carragher foul Fabregas from behind at least three times and did not get a yellow. Done by an Arsenal player on Torres ONCE and a yellow was immediately produced.

    Talk about fairness

  • Comment number 64.

    34. At 10:26am on 22 Apr 2009, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    Nice article Phil. As a Chelsea fan I'm was watching the score swing around with mixed emotions but ultimately, it is always a nice sight seeing that many Scousers looking miserable.

    You must have enjoyed it though Phil cause your blog seems to veer onto Robbo Robson territory with some of the phrases you use.

    The only thing I would say though, isn't it shameful in these times that the fund for Ray Kennedy has so far raised only ?40,000. That'll be just a couple of days wages to Gerrard then. In fact, anyone know what his appearance fee on Sky would have been last night?


    ---------------------------

    i certainly agree about Gerrard - it was something we commented on in the pub last night watching the game, does he not earn enough already without raking in more money from Sky. Although some of the daggers he was giving Redknapp when he was praising Arsenal were quite funny. It is not like he gives you a great insight "you know" into the game though is it?!

  • Comment number 65.

    57. At 11:00am on 22 Apr 2009, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    YdissDC

    Thanks. Just seeing the logo again evokes so many early 90's memories. And yes, Sensi was always better than Kick Off. That was just silly pinball. Although, the comedy value of Microprose Soccer when it rained was hard to beat.

    Moving on, I just wonder if last nights result will be a boost to Man U tonight and whether the cushion will allow just a little complacency to creep in. Pompey have been much better of late with Paul Hart.

    --------------------------------

    Microprose Soccer was amazing! :) You could curl the ball almost back on itself!

    United really have to take this opportunity, tonight. If, somehow, they manage to go and drop points at home to Pompey (and I don't mean the "somehow" to be disrespectful, more a nod in the direction that several 4-4 results recently lead me to believe nothing is predictable any more, even a United home win!) then the loss of potential impetus this late on could cause more costly than last night's result for Liverpool.

    I know everyone wants a tight end to the season but I don't, really. I'll be quite happy if we win tonight and wrap up the Premiership as quickly as possible but I can't see that happening when we have to play Arsenal three times in the next month or so.

    The common thing people say is "United have been here before". To be honest, whilst it's true, I don't think this season or last have played out similarly to any previous Premiership season. Not in the slightest. More so this season, which has been a joy to experience for me.

    We were here before, last season. We were seemingly ahead comfortably with Chelsea dropping points and then they just went and took it to the last game anyway.

    Tonight is of enormous importance to the race - not just the result either. If United stomp over Pompey you could see that resulting in the season petering out for everyone else as United pull away with straight wins to the end.

    If they win, but falter and stumble, then confidence will still be high across the board.

    If they drop points... well, let's just say I'll be throwing away my nail clippers because they'll just end up rusting through lack of use :)

  • Comment number 66.

    I don't see any loserpool supporter complaining about the 5 min of added time now which effectively turned to 6 or 7 min,and all of them were going on and on about united being favoured by the amount of extra time.

    That is always the case with them.Benitez knows how to manipulate people,first he has on how ujntied get so many penalties and so many players are sent of against us,which resulted in his team getting 3 penalties and 2 sending offs in 2 matches and brad friedal got a red card for an offence for which reina got nothing and now this.

    Great work by arsenal really helps to ease the pressure of us.

  • Comment number 67.

    But where did the 5 mins of added on time come from?
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    in fairness ur right, but the rule is 30 seconds per goal n by that time there were 7 goals, plus another 30 seconds per sub, which we had made all 3, arsenal had made atleast 2 also so thats aother 2 n a half mins... so on the whole it was just abaought as text-book as u could get. ref did really well, players helped in a match that had no real fouls (maybe sivestre in the 1st half was a talkin point).

    so there is ur breakdown on the added time, n for once it tallies up with the rule book!

  • Comment number 68.

    The point Rafael Benitez made when discussing Arsenal's fourth goal was firstly the obvious one - it is a crime, in football terms, to concede a goal from your own corner.

    He also made the point that it was 3-3 at that point and that Liverpool still had time to win the game without throwing all caution to the wind. They got five extra minutes, but instead of chasing a possible winner in that stoppage time they were left battling for an equaliser because of their lack of discipline at the corner.

    It is tough to listen to the realism of manager when we were all still basking of the excitement of such a fantastic game. As I said it is easy to label managers "killjoys" in these instances, but the result was more important to Benitez than the level of entertainment, which was understandable.

  • Comment number 69.

    Re No 61
    Well done, Phil, btw on calling Ferguson/Allardyce for that embarrassing show they made of themselves last week. No wonder Ferguson wants to draw a line under it, it was a truly shameful episode.
    --------------------------------------------------
    But not as shameful as a manager intimating that a ref biased before a big game.

  • Comment number 70.

    DazzlinDapsy

    Liverpool keeps getting these decisions and everybody turns a blind eye. I saw Carragher foul Fabregas from behind at least three times and did not get a yellow. Done by an Arsenal player on Torres ONCE and a yellow was immediately produced.

    -------------------------

    completely agree - Arsenal got dominated for large periods of the game but i do not recall any decisions going our way from the ref. Arbeloa should have been booked for fouling arshavin also it seems that every time the anfield crowd roar the wistle blew up to give them a free kick for no reason

  • Comment number 71.

    #64 Jimmy

    I'm not saying Gerrard shouldn't be in the studio. I'm just trying to put in context what I consider a rather paltry sum raised for Ray Kennedy compared to how much money is sloshing around. I have nothing personal against Gerrard and what he earns it's just that he must be Liverpool's highest paid player and therefore the yardstick for the relativity of sums at that club.

    Phil - I pretty much asked you to comment on this at #34. Would you care to comment on this issue or does your pass onto the gravy train mean you can't speak out on such things?

  • Comment number 72.

    I am not convinced leaking four goals on your home-ground is the best advert for footballing prowess. Its what I said when Man United leaked four goals against Liverpool and took a knock in confidence which still lurks. And though losing 4-1 and drawing 4-4 are vastly different, most of those goal concessions came courtesy defensive frailties both for ManU & LFC. I think the Chelsea double-header did take a bit out of Liverpool with no reward. It also proved, that if you have a go a Liverpool they do creak at the back. Its fantastic to watch especially for the neutrals, but as Mourinho would say - its a hockey score glossing over defensive frailties from both sides. Arsenal may yet have a say, but their Champions League spot for the next season is more than secure. I totally agree with Phil - Arsenal Vs Utd fixture may come a bit too late to impact on the title race. How Utd respond tonight, given their current showing is anyone's guess!!!

  • Comment number 73.

    Why is everyone so quiet about the clearly onside goal that wasnt given from Bendtner. Should have been 5-4 and maybe 6 because Fabregas also scored a goal which was given offside but it wasnt deemed important enough for a replay in the coverage. ?. How Howard Webb is being given any other top level work let alone the cup final is beyond me. There needs to be an inquest into the referees which should see Riley, Styles and Howard the duck getting relegated.

  • Comment number 74.

    United's next 2 games are at home and they have the opportunity to turn the screw on Liverpool now.

    If United can take 6 points then Liverpool could go off the boil - they have put a lot of effort into the champions league game against Chelsea and Madrid, plus getting back into the title race. The knowledge that all that hard work might come to nothing is not going to help them in the run in...

  • Comment number 75.

    If it had just been Bentdner without Arshavin we would have won 4-0 !
    ....................

    What a stupid comment. You might as well say if Torres and Benayoun hadn't played either it would have been a 0-0 draw.

    You might like to consider that with Gallas, Clichy, Adebeyour and van Persie out injured you were playing a greatly weakened team.

    It was a great game and I was over the moon at 4-3 but not too disappointed when you equalised. I personally think the game deserved a draw.

    I realise that it was a hard for Liverpool's title dreams so I don't expect too much fairness in your comments. Who knows perhaps we can do the same at Old Trafford and balance the scales for you.

    ----------------------------------------------------------
    alright 'boblinc' calm down dear!

    i was merely making the point that Arshavin was a bit special... and that Bendtner was not!

  • Comment number 76.

    39. At 10:37am on 22 Apr 2009, deejay wrote:
    In answer to the people who asked where Howard Webb got all the injury time from, referees are directed to add 30 seconds injury time for every goal or substitution. There were 7 goals and 4 subs in the second half making up 5 1/2 minutes, plus a further sub in injury time bringing it to 6 minutes. That is, of course, assuming he accounted for no further stoppages at all in the second half.

    Interesting. By your theory if a team loses 10-0 they can expect a minimum of an extra five minutes for their sense of well-being!

  • Comment number 77.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 78.

    RE:
    62#.> MrBlueBurns wrote: "players cannot be at both ends of the pitch at the same time".....

    Errr, I think you'll find they can...that's why there is such things called 'defence, midfield' and 'forwards'!!!

  • Comment number 79.

    'Arsenal got dominated for large periods of the game
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    ha ha. that is just a ridiculous lie.

    they counter attacked brilliantly but liverpool were the ones dominating

  • Comment number 80.

    I know we all whinge about added time when it suits us and it is a difficult one for referees but once again it is inconsistency and the lack of explanation that really frustrates.
    Perhaps the task of keeping tabs on what time should be added should be clarified by the FA and maybe taken out of the hands of the referee and handed to the 4th official with a rugby style hooter or Holiday Camp Bing! Bong! to signal time up( suggestions on a post card no doubt some clever clogs would get it sponsored).
    The main problem with added time has always been that if all the time for stoppages and time wasting were added on then this season would probably end sometime in 2010 - players stop play-acting!
    I'm afraid it will always be a point of contention but isn't that what makes football so interesting - it is not only the game itself that becomes a talking point but also the things that happen around it.

    The gane last night also makes Wengers suggestion about points for goals a talking a point as it seems a pity that two teams involved in such a game only get 1 point each.

  • Comment number 81.

    Very poor defending from both teams. Liverpool should have won considering it was such a weak Arsenal team.

    Dissapointing, but we must continue and who knows the impossible might happen and Portsmouth might beat Man United. We know have experience and prehaps next year if we get the right signings we might win a trophy.

  • Comment number 82.

    MrBlueBurns - fair enough; i did use your comment to launch my own little diatribe. I do find it embarrassing though that footballers as well-paid as Prem League ones are cannot find it in themselves to "help their own" as it were. You would think they might be able to do better. But i guess they would have nothing left if they gave money to every deserving cause.

    And for all we know, some of them probably do a lot of good with their money, but we just dont hear about it. I seem to recall fairly recently hearing a wonderful story about Hyppia donating some money to a hospital that he heard needed money on the radio.

  • Comment number 83.

    Why is everyone so quiet about the clearly onside goal that wasnt given from Bendtner. Should have been 5-4 and maybe 6 because Fabregas also scored a goal which was given offside but it wasnt deemed important enough for a replay in the coverage. ?. How Howard Webb is being given any other top level work let alone the cup final is beyond me. There needs to be an inquest into the referees which should see Riley, Styles and Howard the duck getting relegated.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Totally agree. Howard Webb is the most inconsistent ref in the league this season, and along with Riley and styles I agree are the worst 3 refs by far....and to be the worst of that bunch is criminal!!!

    As for bendtners goal, it did look onside but I havnt seen a replay yet so couldnt commentate. Had it been Liverpool there would have been 700 replays to determine if it was onside or not, such as Arshavins first goal last night!

  • Comment number 84.

    #78 shanuaz

    Actually, you are quoting what I cut an past from someone else's comment, though I did agree with it.

    The thing is, teams aren't rigid. They do not zonally cover the pitch, more they try and move into an area relative to where the ball is and other players and team mates. Liverpool were pushing for the goal and therefore push other people forward to help with this and support this. Clearly, this means that there are less people elsewhere.

    If we followed the logic that 'defence, midfield and forwards' stayed static then presumably we wouldn't get very far because, in the normal run of things, there would only ever be two attackers against a four man defence and goal keeper!

  • Comment number 85.

    One question i would like to know - i wonder how often it has actually benefitted a team when the goalkeeper has gone up for a corner. Always seems to me they all do it now (copying Schmeichel obviously) but i have never found it to be that successful.

    in fact, i often think they end up going up there and just getting in the way of their own players and dont end up helping.

    By the way, great clearance by Gibbs off the line yesterday from the Torres header. And i would also have been interested to see a replay of the Frabregas offside that could have made it 5-4

  • Comment number 86.

    Shanuaz wrote
    "MrBlueBurns wrote: "players cannot be at both ends of the pitch at the same time".....
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    Errr, I think you'll find they can...that's why there is such things called 'defence, midfield' and 'forwards'!!!"
    --------------------------------------------------------

    Individual players cannot be at both ends at the same time(unless they you are identical twins) and I'll think you'll find in "all out attack " defenders and midfielders often are left stranded in the opposition penalty area and half when breakaways occur - this is clearly what was meant.

    Incidentally we football fans call it ' defence,midfield and attack'.
    Carry on reading your "Idiots Guide to Football Grounds that serve the best prawn sandwiches"

  • Comment number 87.

    69. At 11:25am on 22 Apr 2009, slobberchops wrote:

    >But not as shameful as a manager intimating that a ref biased before a big game.


    Well, if Ferguson is allowed to say it after a big game (e.g Pompey in the Cup last year) why not let Moyes say it beforehand?


    Either way, 2 managers cooking up those anti-Rafa rants at last week's press conferences topped it on the shameful stakes. What on earth were they thinking?

  • Comment number 88.

    I was wondering where the 5 minutes came from too. I don't remember many stoppages in the second half. The game really flowed. I think Liverpool ought to be kicking themselves. Arsenal had many first choice players missing, they had much less rest and they were away from home. What would have happened if they had the same time to prepare and had a full strenght team? Even if Gerrard was playing.

  • Comment number 89.

    I can just see ferguson smiling at home with his whiskey last night. The thought of it kills me.

  • Comment number 90.

    apologies for keep posting!! but one thing i have never understood with regards to "injury time" is why they dont copy a rugby union style clock - ref asks for clock to be stopped when he thinks it should be, and when it is restarted - or something along these lines.

    that way all the fans and players know how long is left (as well as the people watching back home) as you simply play to the end of 90 minutes, as that will be the end of the game as the clock has been stopped for any breaks in play. saves a lot of arguments about how much injury time is played if everyone can see when the match-clock is stopped i think.

  • Comment number 91.

    Absolute magnificent game... credit to both teams as it was a nervy night, Liverpool without gerrard, Arsenal without top two strikers, GK and main defence.
    And what a game for Arshavin to flash his 15mil price tag, 4 goals against arguebly one of the best teams in the world.
    Liverpool had us running around like headless chickens in the first half but we showed up, got a bit of luck and put on a good show...

    Also i'd give credit to every other player on that field too, torres and benayoun were outstanding, along with fabianski for a period of the night. And also Walcott, when he came on he tormented the liverpool defence and made a flashback of last years champions league match.

    Neither team deserved to lose, defence was woeful, but the attacking was out of this world!

  • Comment number 92.

    Y2J wrote:
    'Arsenal got dominated for large periods of the game
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    ha ha. that is just a ridiculous lie.

    they counter attacked brilliantly but liverpool were the ones dominating
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    do you actualy understand english?

    i stated that arsenal GOT dominated IE liverpool dominated Arsenal for large periods of the game.

    Learn how to read before coming on here and posting - why not try going on the bbc website and doing some bitesize revision for english in the meantime

  • Comment number 93.

    So if Berbatov is a 30million pound player, what value must Torres be right now?? Without a shadow of doubt the best striker in the league/Europe. The goal on the swivel and volley against B`burn and last nights trap shimmy and strike for his second were truly magnificent.
    No wonder Ferguson is so jealous of Liverpool and Rafa.

  • Comment number 94.

    85. At 11:52am on 22 Apr 2009, Jimmy wrote:
    One question i would like to know - i wonder how often it has actually benefitted a team when the goalkeeper has gone up for a corner. Always seems to me they all do it now (copying Schmeichel obviously) but i have never found it to be that successful.
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    The Yeovil goalie came up for a corner last night and scored - and quite likely stopped his from team being relegated at the same time.

  • Comment number 95.

    77. At 11:39am on 22 Apr 2009, Liv3rp00l4lif3 wrote:
    We (LIVERPOOL) got F by 3 ars's "ARS"havin, "Ars"ene Wenger, and "Ars"anal
    ----------------

    Good one mate, good one. The result may have been disappointing for you, but its cool to see nothing shakes the ol' sense of humour :-)
    Few years ago minus Arshavin, I blamed two "R"s when Arsenal did the double over United - Fergie kicked a boot at Beckham & he went to pack his bags. I was merely putting a brave face, a bit of banter on a dissappointing day for us and a good one for the Gunners - instead ended up getting a pasting on 606 from fellow Utd fans, though Alan Green did see the humour!
    Come on guys, take "Liv3rp00l4lif3" lead, there are passions, loyalties involved but lighten-up.

  • Comment number 96.

    #82 & #85 Jimmy

    I'm quite sure that players do do more for good causes than gets reported. For example, the day Ahsley Cole got arrested outside that nightclub recently, Chelsea had been doing two or three charity things that day. Guess what gets reported though?

    However, if I were associated with Liverpool in the way that players like Gerrard are, I would find the figure of £40,000 embarrassing quite frankly.

    As for your point about goalkeepers, didn't Carlisle's goalkeeper Jimmy Glass score the goal that kept them in the football league a few seasons ago? A rare occurence I'll admit and I agree that Reina probably just got in the way and Arsenal very nearly won the ball on the half way line with an open goal, just seconds afterwards.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Glass

  • Comment number 97.

    Interesting. By your theory if a team loses 10-0 they can expect a minimum of an extra five minutes for their sense of well-being!
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    aye well its not a theory for starters, but yeah, technically there should be, rightly or wrongly.. the rules state those numbers

  • Comment number 98.

    Webb is rubbish referee! How he get's all the top jobs is beyond me. I was at the Brazil v Italy at Emirates, he was awful. And now he's got the FA Cup Final! Feel sorry for poor Everton.Chris Foy and Peter Walton are also utter rubbish. In my opinion, Mark Halsey is the most consistent ref in the EPL.

    BUT having said all that, why is there talk about the referee today??? He didnt make any major errors last nite, and i dnt think the linesmen did either! Great spectacle last nite, and even more pleasing for us United fans. Roll onnn title no.18!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 99.

    Good game for a neutral, but if we think it was good football we are deluding ourselves. Both teams conceded 4 goals, so neither can assert they had a good game.

    A solid 0-0 with textbook defending would be a far better example of good quality football rather than this type of joke.

    I mean, we are used to playground games that end 17 all right? And we fully acknowledge that this is due to pretty disorganised and naive football, so why do premier league teams get exempted? There have been too many 4-4 draws in this league for England to claim it has the best league in the world.

    Playground stuff.

  • Comment number 100.

    The only thing I would say though, isn't it shameful in these times that the fund for Ray Kennedy has so far raised only ?40,000. That'll be just a couple of days wages to Gerrard then. In fact, anyone know what his appearance fee on Sky would have been last night?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Never thought I'd end up agreeing with a Chelsea fan, but Ray Kennedy's plight is too sad. Why don't Liverpool & Arsenal step up and help out!

 

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