Arsenal 2-2 Liverpool

Theo Walcott
Theo Walcott

Arsenal rescued a point with a stirring comeback after Liverpool looked like they would recover from their shock FA Cup defeat by Oldham with victory at Emirates Stadium.

Luis Suarez and Jordan Henderson took full advantage of an Arsenal defensive display that plumbed the depths to put Brendan Rodgers's side on course for victory after an hour.

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Arsenal team are fantastic - Wenger

But Arsenal showed great resolve to respond swiftly and score twice inside three minutes through Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott and ensure a thrilling game ended in a draw.

Liverpool will be disappointed at conceding that two-goal advantage while Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger may regard a point as a relief, such was the generosity of the defending that presented the visitors with so many opportunities.

Defender Martin Skrtel paid the price for Liverpool's FA Cup loss at League One Oldham as he was dropped in favour of Jamie Carragher.

If Carragher's presence was designed to give Liverpool's rearguard more security, Arsenal spent the first 45 minutes producing such an utterly chaotic defensive shambles that they were lucky not to be punished more heavily than they were.

The tone was set when Liverpool took the lead after five minutes. Bacary Sagna fell over as Suarez missed a flick and when Arsenal failed to clear after Wojciech Szczesny saved from Daniel Sturridge, the Uruguayan scored with the help of a deflection.

Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina prevented Arsenal equalising instantly as he blocked a Walcott effort at his near post - and it was not long before Suarez was creating more havoc for Arsenal.

He released Sturridge with a magical swerving pass with the outside of his foot but his strike partner chose to take the chance first time and rolled his effort tamely wide.

Walcott was Arsenal's main danger and he forced another excellent diving save from Reina, but any good work the Gunners were doing in attack was being badly undermined by a succession of calamities at the other end.

Lukas Podolski cleared Daniel Agger's header off the line and Henderson landed an effort on the roof of the net with Szczesny stranded out of his ground trying to rescue another desperate situation.

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Rodgers disappointed not to win

Arsenal had suffered a blow when the luckless Kieran Gibbs limped off to be replaced by Andre Santos but there could be no excuse for the standard of defending that had presented Liverpool with so much space and opportunity.

There was no escape for Arsenal as Liverpool doubled their lead on the hour. In a moment that encapsulated the game to that point, Henderson battled his way past four home defenders in the area before rolling home a goal his determination deserved.

Arsenal, perhaps in desperation, suddenly roused themselves and were level within seven minutes. Giroud powered in a close-range header then Walcott got his reward with a fine angled shot that carried too much pace and power for Reina.

As both sides continued to attack, Santi Cazorla flashed a shot across the face of goal and Reina excelled once more as he dived to his right to save from Giroud.

Giroud was then unable to complete Arsenal's recovery and put them ahead as he failed to make firm contact with Podokski's cross fromsix yards out.

Liverpool had a chance of their own in stoppage time when Santos, unsurprisingly, gifted the visitors possession in a dangerous area and it took a sharp stop from Szczesny to deny Suarez and ensure Arsenal's recovery earned them a point.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "We created many chances going forward but were nervous defensively. The goals we have conceded show we were nervous from the start.

"It was entertainment. We could honestly have lost the game but could have won it by three or four goals."

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers: "There is an initial disappointment when you are 2-0 up [and draw] but we knew Arsenal were going to have a spell.

"We could have had a few more goals but my overriding emotion is one of pride. These players have been brilliant."

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