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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 February 2006, 21:53 GMT
Liverpool 1-0 Arsenal
Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann
Arsenal are 10 points behind Liverpool
Substitute Luis Garcia's late goal gave Liverpool a narrow win over Arsenal.

Before Garcia's 86th-minute strike, Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann had single-handedly kept Liverpool at bay.

The Arsenal keeper saved Steven Gerrard's first-half penalty having previously brilliantly turned away a wayward header from Philippe Senderos.

But Lehmann was only able to get one hand to a raking shot from Dietmar Hamann and Garcia rushed in to thump the ball past the German goalkeeper.

The win moved Liverpool 10 points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal, who trail rivals Spurs by four points.

Prior to Tuesday, Arsenal had lost six times in the league away from Highbury and they featured infrequently as an attacking force.

It took Arsenal 53 minutes before they forced Lehmann's counterpart Jerzy Dudek to make a save, the Pole beating away a Thierry Henry shot.

That Arsenal looked as though they might escape with a point was largely due to a combination of Lehmann's heroics and anxious Liverpool finishing, with Fernando Morientes missing good chances in each half.

The Spaniard first missed his kick from a Harry Kewell cross and might have done better late on when he got to a Gerrard cross, only to be put off by the close attentions of Mathieu Flamini.

If Lehmann turned in a man-of-the-match performance, Senderos had a game he will want to forget on his 21st birthday.

The Swiss international gave his side some anxious moments with a couple of miscued headers in the first half.

Senderos' first failed clearance allowed Kewell to hit a volley that went wide.

He then almost headed a Gerrard cross into his own net, but Lehmann spared Senderos' blushes by pawing the ball away just as it looked as if it was going to loop into the net.

Just past the half-hour Morientes won a rather fortunate penalty for Liverpool when he went down under a challenge from Emmanuel Eboue.

But Lehmann again came to his side's rescue, moving quickly to his right to push away Gerrard's penalty.

Starved of possession Arsenal's best chances in the first half came in the opening quarter of an hour.

Kolo Toure went close with a header from a Cesc Fabregas free-kick, while Fredrik Ljungberg dragged a shot wide from a promising position.

Lehmann began the second half in equally inspired form, foiling Robbie Fowler after the Liverpool striker's first-time touch left Senderos flat-footed.

Just past the hour Liverpool went close with a Morientes header and Sami Hyypia's clever flick that Ljungberg, who was stationed at the post, cleared off the line.

Kewell was the next Liverpool player to be denied by Lehmann as the German pushed away the Australian's bicycle kick.

Garcia had come on 84 minutes and three minutes later he was the first to react as Lehmann was unable to hold Hamann's powerful shot.

Even then Lehmann got his body in the way of the Spaniard's strike, but the shot was hit with such velocity that it crossed the line.


Liverpool: Dudek, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Riise, Gerrard, Sissoko (Luis Garcia 84), Alonso (Hamann 72), Kewell, Morientes, Fowler (Cisse 80).
Subs Not Used: Carson, Traore.

Goals: Luis Garcia 87.

Arsenal: Lehmann, Eboue, Toure, Senderos, Flamini, Ljungberg, Fabregas, Silva, Pires (Hleb 79), Adebayor, Henry.
Subs Not Used: Almunia, Diaby, Larsson, Djourou.

Booked: Ljungberg.

Att: 44,065.

Ref: G Poll (Hertfordshire).




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez


Interview: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger



SEE ALSO
Liverpool v Arsenal photos
14 Feb 06 |  Photo Galleries
Wenger rules out top-two finish
14 Feb 06 |  Premiership


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