Liverpool v Arsenal: Which players have had biggest impact in last 15 years?

By Emma SandersBBC Sport
Robin van Persie, Roberto Firmino and Andriy Arshavin
Robin van Persie (left), Roberto Firmino (centre), Andriy Arshavin (right) have all had big moments in this fixture

As Premier League rivalries go, Liverpool v Arsenal has made a habit of delivering drama.

From red cards to hat-tricks and own goals to last-minute winners and iconic comebacks, these two teams have a history of creating memorable moments.

The sides go head-to-head again on Saturday (17:30 BST) in an early-season Premier League encounter and it is a chance for players such as Mohamed Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to put their stamp on a fixture which has produced plenty of heroes as well as villains.

Here are a few players who have had the biggest impact in the past 15 years.

Use the ranked list below to put these players in order of who you think has had the biggest impact on Liverpool v Arsenal in that time.

Liverpool v Arsenal: Who is top dog?

Rank the players in order of who you think has made the biggest impact on Liverpool v Arsenal in the last 15 years?

Thierry Henry (Arsenal)

Thierry Henry celebrating against Liverpool
Thierry Henry scored more goals against Liverpool while playing for Arsenal than any other player in the Premier League era

Legendary Arsenal striker Thierry Henry is widely regarded as one of the club's greatest players and was integral to their most successful years under Arsene Wenger, including their unbeaten Premier League campaign in 2003-04.

It's no surprise he had an impact on this fixture, scoring nine goals in 18 appearances against Liverpool. Three of those goals also came in the 83rd minute or later.

But a stand-out moment for the Frenchman came in April 2004, when Liverpool threatened to break that famous unbeaten run in a league meeting at Highbury.

The Reds led 2-1 before Henry completed his hat-trick - his second of the three a sensational solo goal, where he dribbled past several players before slotting the ball past Jerzy Dudek and into the bottom-right corner.

He later scored twice in a 2-1 win at Highbury in 2006 and his last goal against Liverpool came in the 84th minute in a 3-1 victory at Anfield in 2007.

Only Andrew Cole and Didier Drogba (both 11), have scored more goals against Liverpool in the Premier League era, but no player has netted more than Henry's nine while playing for Arsenal.

Andrey Arshavin (Arsenal)

Andriy Arshavin celebrates scoring four
From Russia with love. Andrey Arshavin's four-goal haul was one of his greatest games in an Arsenal shirt.

Andrey Arshavin was something of an enigma at Arsenal. He was a wonderfully gifted player who often underwhelmed - until THAT match in April 2009.

The tricky Russian netted all four goals as the Gunners drew 4-4 with Liverpool in a highly entertaining Premier League match at Anfield.

He became the first opponent to score four goals in a single league match at Anfield since Dennis Westcott in 1946 and was only the sixth player in Premier League history to net four in an away game.

His fourth goal of the match - scored in the 90th minute - was set to be the winner until Liverpool's Yossi Benayoun equalised with seconds to go.

And he scored his fifth goal against Liverpool a year later as Arsenal came from behind to beat them 2-1 at Anfield, again winning the man-of-the-match award.

Martin Skrtel (Liverpool)

Martin Skrtel celebrating his goal against Arsenal
Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel scored three goals against Arsenal

Martin Skrtel is not the first name you think of when naming goalscorers of Liverpool's past. But he had a habit of doing it against Arsenal.

The Slovak centre-back had a calendar year to remember when he scored all three of his goals against Arsenal in 2014.

The first came in February, in the opening minute of their Premier League meeting at Anfield. His second was just nine minutes later. It set Liverpool on their way to a 5-1 victory.

And then again, 10 months later, Skrtel made an impact when he equalised in the 97th minute to give 10-man Liverpool a 2-2 draw after striker Fabio Borini had been sent off in injury time.

Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)

Roberto Firmino scoring a no-look goal against Arsenal
Roberto Firmino's first goal was one of his trademark 'no-look' strikes

When Liverpool are playing Arsenal, they need Roberto Firmino in the team.

The Brazilian has scored more goals in this fixture than any other player in the past 15 years and only Robbie Fowler has struck more in the Premier League era.

His tally of eight goals in as many games is impressive and he is one of just three Liverpool players to have netted a Premier League hat-trick against Arsenal.

That trio of goals came in the 5-1 thrashing in 2018, where he netted two of them in as many minutes at Anfield. His first was an entertaining 'no-look' finish and he completed his hat-trick from the spot.

His solitary goal at Emirates Stadium in December 2017 came in the 71st minute and secured a 3-3 draw after Arsenal had netted three goals in five minutes.

Top scorers in league fixtures between Liverpool and Arsenal in the Premier League era
Robbie Fowler (Liverpool)1392
Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)881
Thierry Henry (Arsenal)1481
Andrey Arshavin (Arsenal)651
Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)1050
Peter Crouch (Liverpool)541
Sadio Mane (Liverpool)640
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)840
Robin van Persie (Arsenal)840
Robert Pires (Arsenal)1240

Robin van Persie (Arsenal)

Robin van Persie scoring a volley at Anfield in 2012
Robin van Persie signed for Manchester United five months after netting a memorable volley at Anfield

One of the best goals scored in this fixture was Robin van Persie's stoppage-time volley at Anfield in 2012. It was just a few months before he left Arsenal for Manchester United.

Van Persie's audacious volley from inside the box secured a 2-1 win for the Gunners in a typically dramatic Premier League clash.

It was also his last goal against Liverpool while playing for Arsenal. He had scored four in eight league appearances before netting a further five times against them in all competitions while at Manchester United.

Only three Arsenal players have scored more against Liverpool in the Premier League era - Henry, Arshavin and Frenchman Olivier Giroud.

Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

Sadio Mane, Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana celebrate with Jurgen Klopp at the Emirates
Only against Watford (five), has Sadio Mane scored more goals against than Arsenal

Since joining Liverpool in June 2016, Sadio Mane has scored 59 goals in 123 appearances and is widely regarded as one of the best forwards in the world.

He made an instant impact - scoring against Arsenal on his Premier League debut at the Emirates. It was a sublime solo goal, as he cut inside from the right and curled it into the top left corner.

The Senegal international celebrated with his arms outstretched before jumping on Jurgen Klopp's back and that goal proved to be the winner in a dramatic 4-3 victory for Liverpool.

That was the first of four goals in his past six appearances against Arsenal - all of which have come in the Premier League. Watford are the only club Mane has scored more goals against.

Peter Crouch (Liverpool)

Peter Crouch scores second goal against Arsenal
Peter Crouch scored four goals in seven appearances against Arsenal while playing at Liverpool

Peter Crouch scored some big goals for Liverpool during his three-year spell there - including a perfect hat-trick against Arsenal in 2007.

The recently-retired striker netted with his right foot and his left, as well as scoring with his head to complete his rout against the Gunners in a Premier League match at Anfield.

Liverpool went on to win 4-1 and Crouch netted again against Arsenal a year later at the Emirates, meaning he scored more against them than any other club during his time at Anfield.

He is also one of just three players to have scored a hat-trick in this fixture since 2004.

Other iconic moments...

Dennis Bergkamp reacts to be sent off
There were three red cards shown at Highbury in 2002, including this one to Arsenal striker Dennis Bergkamp

Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler netted the fastest Premier League hat-trick against Arsenal in 1994 (four minutes 33 seconds) - a record which stood for 21 years until Mane netted three in two minutes and 56 seconds for Southampton when they demolished Aston Villa in 2015.

That hat-trick earned Fowler his "God" nickname at Liverpool and he went on to score nine goals in 13 appearances against the Gunners.

Another Reds hero was Michael Owen, who scored two goals after the 83rd minute to give Liverpool victory in the 2001 FA Cup final at Millennium Stadium.

There have been plenty of memorable moments at Anfield. Neil Mellor's stunning strike in 2004 earned Liverpool a last-gasp win in the Premier League, while Arsenal's Julio Baptista scored four goals and had a penalty saved in a 6-3 League Cup victory in 2007.

There has also been plenty of villains. Joe Cole had a memorable debut for Liverpool when he was sent off in 2010 during Roy Hodgson's first game in charge - a match in which Arsenal debutant Laurent Koscielny was also shown red. An own goal from Pepe Reina in the last minute ensured the Gunners got a 1-1 draw.

And there was the game at Highbury in 2000 which saw Gary McAllister, Didi Hamann and Patrick Vieira given their marching orders, before another three red cards were shown to Martin Keown, Dennis Bergkamp and Jamie Carragher at the same ground in 2002.

And we can't go without mentioning...

Michael Thomas scores for Arsenal against Liverpool
Thomas' goal meant Arsenal won the title ahead of Liverpool on goals scored

"Thomas charging through the midfield. Thomas... it's up for grabs now!"

These were commentator Brian Moore's words to describe arguably the most dramatic ending to a top-flight season of all time.

Before Sergio Aguero's injury-minute title winner against QPR in 2012 there was Michael Thomas' championship-sealing strike for Arsenal against Liverpool at Anfield in 1989.

Going into the final game of the 1988-89 season, Liverpool led Arsenal by three points and four goals better off on goal difference. However, crucially, the Gunners had scored more - 71 to 65.

It meant that an Arsenal win by two or more goals would see them pip Liverpool to the title. Liverpool had not lost by two or more goals at Anfield in three years, and Arsenal had not won at the ground in 15.

Alan Smith's 52nd-minute header gave Arsenal hope, but these were quickly evaporating as the game entered injury time. Cue Thomas, who, as Moore described, ran through from midfield, collected a Smith flick-on and fired past home goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar to win the game and the title.