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Page last updated at 17:55 GMT, Sunday, 13 December 2009

Liverpool   1 - 2   Arsenal

Andrey Arshavin
Arshavin scored four at Anfield last season and struck the winner on Sunday

By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer at Anfield

Andrey Arshavin was Liverpool's tormentor again as Arsenal secured a vital win at Anfield to close the gap on Premier League pacesetters Chelsea and Manchester United.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger insists his side can still have a big say on the title race - but his bold claims looked in danger of backfiring as Dirk Kuyt gave Liverpool a deserved interval lead.

Liverpool's £18m full-back Glen Johnson, who suffered a torrid afternoon, unwittingly handed Arsenal a route back into the game when he turned Samir Nasri's cross past Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina five minutes after half-time.

And the visitors, who were uncharacteristically off the pace in the opening period, were ahead after 58 minutes with a moment of genius that Arshavin is making his Anfield trademark.

The Russian, who scored four goals in four attempts in a dramatic 4-4 draw at Anfield last season, struck in stunning fashion, controlling brilliantly before firing a thunderous shot high past Reina.

606: DEBATE
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Arshavin's magic totally deflated the hosts who, despite having big guns Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Alberto Aquilani on the pitch in the closing stages, barely mounted any meaningful response as Arsenal closed out the victory with ease.

The result does further damage to boss Rafael Benitez's public guarantee that Liverpool will definitely finish in the top four, with Anfield totally subdued at the final whistle as Arsenal dealt comfortably with a succession of aimless long balls.

Arsenal's emotions were in sharp contrast at the final whistle as they responded to an angry half-time team talk from Wenger and celebrated a victory that leaves them only six points behind leaders Chelsea with a game in hand.

Liverpool were able to pair Gerrard and Torres together for the first time since early October as the Spain striker started after making an appearance as substitute in midweek against Fiorentina.

Arshavin was the danger man - Wenger

Aquilani made the reverse journey as he returned to the bench after making his full debut in the midweek Champions League defeat - a decision that left the Italian still waiting to make his full Premier League debut after his £20m summer move from Roma.

Torres' return gave Liverpool's attack an extra air of menace in a first half they dominated, exerting almost complete superiority over Arsenal as the Gunners delivered a desperately poor display.

Gerrard served up the perfect opportunity for Torres to mark his return with a goal after 11 minutes when he laid an inviting pass into his path in the penalty area, but Manuel Almunia read the striker's intentions and saved low down.

Liverpool's captain - and indeed the rest of Anfield - was infuriated when referee Howard Webb ignored what looked highly presentable penalty claims as he fell under challenge from William Gallas.

Arsenal had more confidence - Benitez

Gerrard received a measure of criticism for going to ground too easily in the area at Blackburn last Saturday, but he had a clear case here.

Kuyt gave Liverpool the lead they deserved five minutes before the interval, and Arsenal keeper Almunia must take a large share of the responsibility. He failed to deal with Aurelio's free-kick under pressure from Lucas, and Kuyt steered home the loose ball.

Arsenal needed a moment of inspiration or a slice of good fortune to ignite a lifeless display, and salvation arrived in the shape of the latter five minutes after the break.

Nasri's cross looked to be posing no serious threat, but a slight touch off Jamie Carragher wrong-footed Johnson, who bundled the ball past Reina.

There was nothing fortunate about the brilliant finish from Arshavin that put Arsenal ahead eight minutes later, taking a perfect first touch before lashing a finish high past the motionless Reina.

It prompted Benitez into making a change after 65 minutes, sending on Aquilani for Javier Mascherano in an attempt to provide an extra touch of creativity in midfield.

Aquilani's arrival failed to provide any spark, and Arsenal were never under serious pressure as they cruised to victory.

Live text and stats

 

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal FT
(HT 1-0)
  • Kuyt 41
  • G Johnson (og) 50
  • Arshavin 58

Liverpool

Substitutes

Arsenal

Substitutes

Ref: WebbAtt: 43,853
LIVERPOOL
ARSENAL

Possession

  • Liverpool 49%
  • Arsenal 51%

Attempts on target

  • Liverpool 3
  • Arsenal 5

Attempts off target

  • Liverpool 3
  • Arsenal 2

Corners

  • Liverpool 3
  • Arsenal 4

Fouls

  • Liverpool 19
  • Arsenal 16
  • Final Result
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+4:41 The final whistle goes and the game is over.
  • 90:00+3:39 Vassiriki Diaby challenges Philipp Degen unfairly and gives away a free kick. Jose Reina takes the direct free kick.
  • 90:00+3:12 Steven Gerrard gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Aaron Ramsey. Free kick taken by Francesc Fabregas.
  • 90:00+1:25 Francesc Fabregas takes the free kick.
  • 90:00+1:25 Substitution (Arsenal) makes a substitution, with Aaron Ramsey coming on for Andrey Arshavin.
  • 90:00+1:25 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Samir Nasri by Fabio Aurelio.
  • 90:00+0:22 The ball is sent over by Francesc Fabregas, Dirk Kuyt makes a clearance.
  • 89:50 Short corner taken by Francesc Fabregas.
  • 89:40 Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Blocked by Daniel Agger.
  • 89:04 The ball is crossed by Jamie Carragher, Headed effort from inside the area by Fernando Torres misses to the left of the goal.
  • 87:44 Alberto Aquilani fouled by Andrey Arshavin, the ref awards a free kick. Jose Reina restarts play with the free kick.
  • 86:19 Substitution Mikael Silvestre comes on in place of Armand Traore.
  • 85:15 The referee blows for offside against Fernando Torres. Manuel Almunia takes the indirect free kick.
  • 84:10 Direct free kick taken by Francesc Fabregas.
  • 84:10 Booking Leiva Lucas receives a caution.
  • 84:05 Leiva Lucas gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Francesc Fabregas.
  • 82:39 Philipp Degen sends in a cross.
  • 81:21 The free kick is swung in left-footed by Fabio Aurelio, clearance by Thomas Vermaelen.
  • 81:21 Substitution Glen Johnson leaves the field to be replaced by Philipp Degen.
  • 81:21 Booking Francesc Fabregas goes into the referee's book.
  • 81:08 Samir Nasri concedes a free kick for a foul on Alberto Aquilani.
  • 80:12 Fabio Aurelio restarts play with the free kick.
  • 80:12 Booking Andrey Arshavin receives a yellow card.
  • 80:06 Andrey Arshavin concedes a free kick for a foul on Daniel Agger.
  • 78:51 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on David Ngog by Alexandre Song Billong. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Fabio Aurelio from right channel.
  • 78:05 Substitution David Ngog comes on in place of Yossi Benayoun.
  • 74:02 Corner taken by Steven Gerrard.
  • 73:14 Unfair challenge on Fernando Torres by Thomas Vermaelen results in a free kick. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Steven Gerrard from left channel, Thomas Vermaelen makes a clearance.
  • 72:08 Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Save by Jose Reina.
  • 71:24 Alberto Aquilani concedes a free kick for a foul on Neves Denilson. Francesc Fabregas takes the free kick.
  • 69:03 Substitution Vassiriki Diaby replaces Theo Walcott.
  • 68:58 The ball is delivered by Dirk Kuyt, clearance by Thomas Vermaelen.
  • 64:34 Francesc Fabregas crosses the ball in from the free kick, clearance by Fabio Aurelio.
  • 64:34 Substitution Javier Mascherano leaves the field to be replaced by Alberto Aquilani.
  • 64:34 Free kick awarded for a foul by Fernando Torres on Alexandre Song Billong.
  • 63:56 The assistant referee flags for offside against Fernando Torres. Manuel Almunia takes the indirect free kick.
  • 62:05 Andrey Arshavin gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Daniel Agger. Direct free kick taken by Fabio Aurelio.
  • 60:10 The ball is swung over by Glen Johnson, Fernando Torres has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the target.
  • 59:31 Unfair challenge on Jamie Carragher by Andrey Arshavin results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Jose Reina.
  • 57:23 Assist on the goal came from Francesc Fabregas.
  • 57:23 GOAL - Andrey ArshavinLiverpool 1 - 2 Arsenal Andrey Arshavin gets on the score sheet with a goal from the edge of the area to the top left corner of the goal. Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal.
  • 56:41 The referee blows for offside against Fernando Torres. Manuel Almunia takes the indirect free kick.
  • 55:30 Fabio Aurelio fouled by Francesc Fabregas, the ref awards a free kick. Fabio Aurelio restarts play with the free kick.
  • 54:37 Francesc Fabregas takes the direct free kick.
  • 54:37 Booking Javier Mascherano receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
  • 54:30 Javier Mascherano gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Francesc Fabregas.
  • 53:50 Samir Nasri fouled by Leiva Lucas, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Francesc Fabregas.
  • 52:40 The ball is sent over by Fernando Torres, save by Manuel Almunia.
  • 52:04 Leiva Lucas crosses the ball, save made by Manuel Almunia.
  • 49:48 A cross is delivered by Samir Nasri.
  • 49:42 GOAL - Glen JohnsonLiverpool 1 - 1 Arsenal Glen Johnson puts the ball into his own net. Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal.
  • 49:40 Samir Nasri provided the assist for the goal.
  • 49:14 Javier Mascherano concedes a free kick for a foul on Francesc Fabregas. Francesc Fabregas takes the free kick.
  • 47:39 Francesc Fabregas takes a shot. Save by Jose Reina.
  • Correction - 47:20 Samir Nasri decides to take a short corner.
  • 47:20 Samir Nasri decides to take a short corner,
  • 47:11 The ball is sent over by Bacary Sagna, Dirk Kuyt makes a clearance.
  • 45:46 Steven Gerrard sends in a cross, save made by Manuel Almunia.
  • 45:01 The referee gets the second half started.
  • Half Time
  • 45:00+2:10 The whistle is blown to end the first half.
  • 45:00+1:42 Theo Walcott produces a cross, clearance by Jamie Carragher.
  • 45:00+0:41 Foul by Fernando Torres on Armand Traore, free kick awarded. Manuel Almunia takes the direct free kick.
  • 44:41 Samir Nasri is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Jose Reina.
  • 43:35 The free kick is delivered right-footed by Francesc Fabregas from right wing, Daniel Agger makes a clearance.
  • 43:35 Booking Booking for Fabio Aurelio for unsporting behaviour.
  • 43:29 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Theo Walcott by Fabio Aurelio.
  • 43:17 The ball is delivered by Steven Gerrard, save by Manuel Almunia.
  • 42:56 Free kick awarded for a foul by Alexandre Song Billong on Javier Mascherano. Direct free kick taken by Fabio Aurelio.
  • 41:24 The assist for the goal came from Fabio Aurelio.
  • 41:18 Javier Mascherano concedes a free kick for a foul on Francesc Fabregas. William Gallas restarts play with the free kick.
  • 40:23 GOAL - Dirk KuytLiverpool 1 - 0 Arsenal Dirk Kuyt finds the back of the net with a goal from inside the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Liverpool 1-0 Arsenal.
  • 39:41 Steven Gerrard fouled by Neves Denilson, the ref awards a free kick. Fabio Aurelio delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right channel, save made by Manuel Almunia.
  • 36:03 Theo Walcott crosses the ball, Glen Johnson manages to make a clearance.
  • 34:49 Samir Nasri has an effort at goal from long range that goes wide left.
  • 34:31 Neves Denilson takes a shot. Jose Reina makes a save.
  • 31:50 Centre by Steven Gerrard, save by Manuel Almunia.
  • 30:42 The offside flag is raised against Fernando Torres. Armand Traore restarts play with the free kick.
  • 28:32 Fabio Aurelio concedes a free kick for a foul on Neves Denilson. Free kick crossed by Francesc Fabregas, clearance by Daniel Agger.
  • 28:06 The ball is sent over by Theo Walcott, Jamie Carragher makes a clearance.
  • 27:48 Steven Gerrard takes a shot. Alexandre Song Billong gets a block in.
  • 24:24 Inswinging corner taken by Steven Gerrard, save by Manuel Almunia.
  • 24:12 Glen Johnson takes a shot. Neves Denilson gets a block in.
  • 23:34 The free kick is swung in right-footed by Steven Gerrard, save made by Manuel Almunia.
  • 23:34 Booking Booking for Neves Denilson for unsporting behaviour.
  • 23:24 Javier Mascherano fouled by Neves Denilson, the ref awards a free kick.
  • 23:14 The ball is delivered by Fabio Aurelio, save made by Manuel Almunia.
  • 22:34 Corner taken right-footed by Steven Gerrard from the right by-line, Thomas Vermaelen makes a clearance.
  • 21:39 Bacary Sagna challenges Javier Mascherano unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Fabio Aurelio.
  • 20:42 Centre by Glen Johnson, clearance by Neves Denilson.
  • 19:19 A cross is delivered by Bacary Sagna, Jamie Carragher manages to make a clearance.
  • 19:05 Francesc Fabregas fouled by Yossi Benayoun, the ref awards a free kick. Alexandre Song Billong takes the direct free kick.
  • 18:46 The assistant referee flags for offside against Andrey Arshavin. Jose Reina takes the free kick.
  • 18:39 The ball is sent over by Bacary Sagna.
  • 18:20 Short corner taken by Francesc Fabregas from the right by-line.
  • 18:14 The ball is swung over by Bacary Sagna, Jamie Carragher manages to make a clearance.
  • 17:08 Fabio Aurelio sends in a cross.
  • 16:16 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Fernando Torres by Alexandre Song Billong. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Fabio Aurelio, Armand Traore manages to make a clearance.
  • 13:06 Foul by Fabio Aurelio on Bacary Sagna, free kick awarded. The ball is sent over by Francesc Fabregas, Header on goal by Thomas Vermaelen from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.
  • 11:06 Fernando Torres takes a shot. Comfortable save by Manuel Almunia.
  • 10:26 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Neves Denilson by Javier Mascherano. Francesc Fabregas takes the free kick.
  • 9:02 Free kick awarded for a foul by Fernando Torres on Alexandre Song Billong. Free kick taken by Francesc Fabregas.
  • 8:44 Glen Johnson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Alexandre Song Billong. Free kick taken by Alexandre Song Billong.
  • 7:49 Javier Mascherano concedes a free kick for a foul on Alexandre Song Billong. Bacary Sagna takes the direct free kick.
  • 4:45 Free kick awarded for a foul by Bacary Sagna on Fernando Torres. Free kick taken by Fabio Aurelio.
  • 4:19 Javier Mascherano challenges Neves Denilson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Francesc Fabregas.
  • 3:04 Unfair challenge on Leiva Lucas by Theo Walcott results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Leiva Lucas.
  • 2:19 The ball is sent over by Theo Walcott, blocked by Daniel Agger. Outswinging corner taken by Francesc Fabregas from the right by-line, clearance made by Leiva Lucas.
  • 0:00 The referee gets the game underway.

Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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Premier League results

13 Dec 2009 23:59 UK


Premier League table

Sunday, 13 December 2009 17:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full Premier League table
1 Chelsea 16 27 37
2 Man Utd 16 20 34
3 Arsenal 15 21 31
4 Aston Villa 16 12 29
5 Tottenham 16 13 27
6 Man City 15 8 26
7 Liverpool 16 10 24
8 Birmingham 16 0 24
9 Fulham 16 3 23
10 Sunderland 16 0 21
11 Stoke 16 -4 21
12 Blackburn 16 -12 19
13 Burnley 16 -14 18
14 Wigan 16 -17 18
15 Everton 16 -8 17
16 Hull 17 -17 17
17 Wolves 16 -13 16
18 West Ham 16 -7 14
19 Bolton 15 -12 13
20 Portsmouth 16 -10 11

see also
Wenger outburst sparks comeback
14 Dec 09 |  Premier League
Sunday football as it happened
13 Dec 09 |  Football
Premier League photos
13 Dec 09 |  Football



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