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Page last updated at 18:42 GMT, Sunday, 15 August 2010 19:42 UK

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson backs Pepe Reina after error

Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina
Hodgson said Reina was 'very disappointed' after his error

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson refused to blame Pepe Reina after the keeper's error gifted Arsenal a 90th-minute equaliser in the 1-1 draw at Anfield.

Reina spilled the ball into his own net after Gunners striker Marouane Chamakh had bundled a Tomas Rosicky cross against the post.

"Pepe Reina is very disappointed," said Hodgson. "I thought he did very well as he's struggled with a shoulder injury.

"We're disappointed the game ended that way but very proud of the performance."

Liverpool had Joe Cole sent off on the stroke of half-time but later took the lead through David Ngog and looked set to hold on for the three points until the visitors were handed a late leveller by Reina.

"I thought our second half performance was better than the first half," added Hodgson.


"I thought the two central midfielders [Javier Mascherano and Steven Gerrard] were good.

"We made up being a man short and had every bit as much possession and chances as the Arsenal [in the second half].

"But it's a disappointment to get this close to the end of the game and not get three points."

Cole received the first red card of his career for his tackle on Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny and Hodgson defended his player, insisting the challenge looked worse than it was.

"I was surprised to see [Koscielny] come on for the second half after getting stretchered off," he said. "I thought he'd got a bad injury but I'm pleased he has not.

"A guy like Joe Cole, he's never had a red card. I think the ref saw it from an angle which made it look worse than it was.

It was difficult to create chances, it looked like we lacked spark in final third to score goals

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

"Joe was trying to block the ball and he leapt in and twisted his legs round the other player. Joe will consider himself unfortunate."

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger had seen his side struggle to break down Liverpool's defensive ranks, despite plenty of possession, but he praised his side's determination.

"When we played against 10 men it became more difficult," said the Frenchman. "They defended very deep and defended very well. They tried to take the fluency out of the game.

"I give credit to my team, they kept going and got the equaliser. When you play at Liverpool a draw is always a decent result.

"It was tense and competitive. I think Liverpool played quite cautiously with players behind the ball.

"It was difficult to create chances, it looked like we lacked spark in the final third to score goals."

He added: "I didn't see the [Joe Cole] challenge. One thing I can say is that Laurent Koscielny didn't make a meal of it.

"We were close to taking him off and were scared his leg was broken."

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see also
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Liverpool v Arsenal photos
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