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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 October 2007, 18:01 GMT
Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal
By Ian Hughes

Cesc Fabregas celebrates after scoring Arsenal's equaliser
Fabregas scored his 10th goal of the season
Cesc Fabregas toe-poked a late goal to cancel out Steven Gerrard's first-half free-kick as Arsenal moved back to the top of the Premier League.

Gerrard struck on seven minutes, while Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina saved from Emmanuel Adebayor and Tomas Rosicky's lob was cleared off the line.

After the break Emmanuel Eboue hit the post and Fabregas fluffed the rebound.

But Fabregas equalised on 80 minutes and later hit the post as both sides remained unbeaten in the league.

The result means Arsenal reclaim top spot in the table from Manchester United, having scored more goals than their rivals, after an absorbing encounter at Anfield.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez opted for a three-pronged attack with Fernando Torres back after a thigh injury and lining up alongside Dirk Kuyt and Andriy Voronin.

But it was soon apparent that Torres was not going to last the game and he quickly became a passenger in an ineffective front line.

I have always been very confident of what we could achieve this season...and now we have convinced a few more people

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Liverpool's saving grace was the driving force of skipper Gerrard and it was his right boot that delivered a crushing blow, when his ferocious free-kick rocketed past Manuel Almunia.

After a perceived dip in form, Gerrard was playing like a man out to prove a point and he had already tested Almunia with a fizzing low drive.

His harrying denied Arsenal's midfield any time on the ball, but gradually Arsenal regained their composure and played their way into the game to dominate territory and possession.

Yet some breathtaking passing movements between the recalled Tomas Rosicky, Alex Hleb and Fabregas, in particular, could not carve out an equaliser.

Adebayor raced through on goal only for keeper Reina to superbly close him down and save with his chest.

And when Reina was beaten by a deft Rosicky lob, Sami Hyypia was on hand to hook the ball off the line.

Liverpool almost punished Arsenal when Gerrard - who else - thundered in a volley that Almunia pushed over the bar.

606: DEBATE
HO

Inevitably Liverpool replaced the struggling Torres with Peter Crouch at half-time.

And it did not take long for the substitute striker, who scored a hat-trick against Arsenal last year, to make his presence felt as his powerful drive brought a superb flying save out of Almunia.

Arsenal should have equalised when a slick move crafted a chance for Eboue and his shot cannoned back off the post straight to Fabregas, who made a hash of his effort with the goal gaping.

Instead the visitors could have found themselves two goals down. Crouch latched on to a through ball but dragged his low shot across goal.

Then Arsenal had another scare when John Arne Riise's volley from the edge of the box dipped late but found the roof of the net.

Fabregas eventually made up for his earlier miss when he got on the end of a Hleb through ball to nudge the ball beyond Reina and ensure Arsenal have scored in every game this season.

It could have been even better for Fabregas and Arsenal, but the Spaniard saw a late shot come back off the post and Nicklas Bendtner hit his first-time shot over when he had time to take a touch.


  • Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez:
    "It was going well but we had problems with Torres. We wanted to use his pace and he then had the injury, then Xabi Alonso and we had to change.

    "We now have a good record away and need to improve at home.

    "But a draw at the end, because Arsenal also had chances, was probably not the worst result."

  • Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger:
    "It was a big test today but we have shown tremendous quality.

    "Overall it was a great football game, a bit of an edgy start and we were a bit nervous and punished quickly.

    "But from then on it was all us and it was a question of not conceding a second and coming back. We had enough chances to win the game."


    Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Riise, Mascherano, Alonso (Arbeloa 68), Gerrard, Voronin (Benayoun 65), Kuyt, Torres (Crouch 46).
    Subs Not Used: Itandje, Babel.

    Booked: Voronin, Mascherano, Carragher.

    Goals: Gerrard 7.

    Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy (Silva 74), Eboue (Bendtner 74), Fabregas, Flamini, Hleb, Rosicky (Walcott 66), Adebayor.
    Subs Not Used: Lehmann, Diarra.

    Booked: Rosicky, Toure, Fabregas.

    Goals: Fabregas 80.

    Att: 44,122

    Ref: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).



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