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Premier League

  • 21 December 2014
  • • 21:30
  • • Anfield, Liverpool
  • Referee: M. Oliver
  • • Attendance: 44703
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Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal: Skrtel rescues a point for 10-man Reds

Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal: Skrtel rescues a point for 10-man Reds

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The Gunners made the most of their only two shots on target all game but the hosts, who dominated proceedings for the majority, equalised in the 97th minute with a powerful header

The bandaged head of Martin Skrtel rescued a dramatic 2-2 Premier League draw for 10-man Liverpool against Arsenal on Sunday.

After sealing a place in the League Cup semi-finals on Wednesday, Liverpool capped a positive week with a deserved point at Anfield, despite seeing Fabio Borini sent off in stoppage time.

The hosts, who dominated the first half, led through Philippe Coutinho, but were almost immediately pegged back by Mathieu Debuchy before the interval.

MATCH VIEW
By Ewan Roberts

Arsenal will be desperately disappointed to have sacrificed a hard-fought lead so deep into stoppage time against a Liverpool side who had been reduced to 10 men, yet they can take heart from a far more spirited display than they managed in February’s 5-1 hammering.

Back then, both sides were involved in the title race, though nether look close to being capable of worrying Chelsea or Manchester City this time around, with their many defensive frailties exposed on numerous occasions.

The Merseysiders dominated for large periods and might feel they should have won the match, though with Raheem Sterling leading the line they clearly lack the clinical bite of Luis Suarez. At the other end, Olivier Giroud continues to show how important he is after bagging his fourth goal in six league games since returning from injury.
From there Arsene Wenger's men visibly grew in confidence and went ahead courtesy of France striker Olivier Giroud's third goal in two games midway through the second half.

Brendan Rodgers' men pushed hard for a leveller, only for Borini's late dismissal to apparently end their hopes.

But Skrtel rose to nod home Adam Lallana's corner deep into a nine minutes of stoppage time, most of which was added for a head injury to the Slovakian.

Liverpool had the better of the early stages but struggled to craft any clear-cut chances until the 34th minute when Lazar Markovic was denied by Wojciech Szczesny.

Serbian Markovic burst into the box and attempted to lift the ball over Szczesny at the near post, but the Pole was equal to it and produced a strong save to preserve parity.

But Liverpool were finally rewarded for their near-complete dominance of the game in the final minute of normal time in the first half as Coutinho struck.

Collecting the ball just inside the edge of the area, the Brazilian cleverly worked space for himself and fired in a low shot in off the post to give his side a deserved lead.

However, Liverpool's celebrations were cut short as Rodgers saw his side's lead almost immediately erased by Debuchy.

The Frenchman headed in at the far post from Mathieu Flamini's nod-down after Liverpool had failed to clear a free-kick.

Neither that setback nor the lengthy delay caused by Srktel's collision with the boot of Giroud dented Liverpool's ambition to attack, Gerrard heading over with the goal at his mercy after Szceszny's ill-advised decision to challenge Raheem Sterling for a loose ball.

Liverpool were immediately punished for their captain's profligacy as Arsenal completing the turaround with a wonderful free-flowing move.

Giroud slid Santi Cazorla in down the left with a superb first-time pass and capped off the attack with a low finish under Brad Jones from the Spaniard's resulting pull back.

Borini then saw a point-blank header brilliantly tipped over the bar by Szczesny, before the Italian's high challenge on Cazorla earned him a second booking, having earlier receiving a yellow card for slamming the ball to the turf in frustration.

Yet Srktel ensured there would be a final twist in the tale, powering Lallana's delivery into the bottom-right corner to complete an eventful afternoon for the defender and offer Rodgers further hope that his players can turn their fortunes around and salvage a frustrating campaign.

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