Liverpool And Arsenal Tie In Eight Goal Epic At Anfield

An extraordinary to-and-fro eight goal thriller took place this evening, in a game that will no doubt be taped and replayed to purists for years to come.
Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal

Sentimentality amongst the visiting support was prevalent prior to kick-off as certain pockets of Arsenal fans sported their yellow jerseys in homage to the same fixture a score of years ago where the Gunners required a two goal victory in order to secure a league title, on the last day of the season, at Anfield.

Twenty-years on and there was not as much at stake for Arsenal, but Liverpool were still aiming to gun down Premier League leaders Manchester United, and could have temporarily gone top of the charts with a win this evening.

A feast of attacking football and a spectacular 90 minutes ensued that would have had neutrals everywhere salivating over countless twists, turns, and talking points.

Liverpool began the game with great intent and were clearly the side on a mission as early efforts from Fernando Torres, Albert Riera, and Yossi Benayoun inside the first ten minutes could have provided the home side with an early lead.

Lukasz Fabianski, though, who had such a howling day at the office deputising for Manuel Almunia in between the sticks at Wembley verus Chelsea, was hell-bent on proving his worth in front of Arsene Wenger and got hands to all three shots.

Despite the onslaught to Arsenal's goal, it was Liverpool who ended up conceding first, as Andrey Arshavin found the net - with the aid of the bar - after some good link-up play between Samir Nasri and Francesc Fabregas inside the area. The Spaniard squared the ball to the winter window Russian recruit and Arshavin made no mistake in beating a flapping Pepe Reina.

Rafael Benitez made a tactical re-shift after the break and asked hard-working Dirk Kuyt to move to more of a flanking area on the right hand side, and the switch bore instant results as Liverpool scored twice within ten minutes of the re-start.

Some poor defending by Bacary Sagna, who failed to clear the ball in a dangerous area, found it's way to Kuyt on the right hand side and the Dutchman looped in a pinpoint cross that Torres finished off neatly - and strongly - into the corner of the net with his head.

Benayoun granted the Reds a temporary lead in the 55th minute with a scrappy goal after some poor defensive work again, this time from Fabianski.

Arshavin restored parity - against the run of play - eleven minutes later with a goal from nowhere, as he curled in a powerful effort from outside the box. Three minutes later and the diminutive, finely-balanced Russian international slotted a neat shot under the reaches of Reina.

It took just two minutes for Liverpool to equalise again, when Spanish winger Riera found his fellow national Torres in the box and the silky striker's footwork foiled Mikael Silvestre and, even though Fabianski got a hand to the ball, he could not stop it bulging into his net.

At three-a-piece the game was not over, and Arsenal thought they had the game won when Arshavin again, for the fourth time in the evening, popped up to score and sneak the Gunners in front when Theo Walcott found a break and both he and Arshavin stormed forward. The former with a cross-field on-the-floor assist, and the latter with the goal that sent the away section into raptures.

Liverpool, though, in a finish befitting the spectacle of the evening, restored parity as Arsenal failed to again clear the ball sufficiently, and Benayoun ensured that the Reds - for the second time in the space of a week - battled out an epic 4-4 draw.

LINE UPS

Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Agger, Aurelio, Alonso, Mascherano, Benayoun, Kuyt, Riera, Torres.
 
Arsenal: Fabianski, Sagna, Toure, Silvestre, Gibbs, Arshavin, Song Billong, Fabregas, Denilson, Nasri, Bendtner.

Referee: Howard Webb.

Attendance: 44,424

Goalscorers: Arshavin (36), Torres (49), Benayoun (56), Arshavin (67), Arshavin (70), Torres (72), Arshavin (90), Benayoun (92).

Alan Dawson, Goal.com