|Liverpool 4 Arsenal 2|
It was either the ‘competition’ line from There Will Be Blood for the title of this piece or ‘I’ve abandoned my boy’, think the competition line fits this game better, as both teams never gave up, nobody abandoned nothing.
I was thinking I’d much prefer to watch the Barcelona match on Wednesday, seeing how these clubs have just played one and another the game would be a hunkered down one goal type of conservative stalemate—Benitez going the route of advancement by any means possible. But this was a back and forth game from the first whistle.
Watch: Relive this European classic from 2008. After drawing 1-1 in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final, the Reds produced a stunning display to fend off the Gunners at Anfield.
Crouch got the start. Both he and Henry are two forwards that are seemingly destined for the trading block and will be looking for new homes next year.
How helpful would it be for Arsenal to have the services of Rosicky? The dynamic Czech midfielder adds that extra spice to a side that controls the ball so well, but he’s lost for the season.
Best third installment since Empire Strikes Back. Think Derek Rae was right with this introduction. A ‘wall of sound’ from the Liverpool faithful that watched on.
A few exchanges near the far side of the box and Abou Diaby is put through. His first touch puts him perfectly on goal and he strikes the ball hard to the near post beating Pepe Reina. First goal to Arsenal and the pressure is on for The Reds. Arsenal 1- Liverpool 0.
Set pieces. A quick dart to take Senderos away from where Hyypia wanted to go and bam, he’s wide open and a spectacular header for the tying goal. Sami Hyypia scores on a long range header—Fabregas can’t reach the upper corner where he’s smacked the ball off the corner kick. Arsenal 1- Liverpool 1.
Beauty and the beast, Torres and Kuyt are the driving forces these days for Liverpool. Kuyt doing all the dirty work and running for the club, and Torres simply nailing the ball into the back of the net when there’s a chance. If there was a scouting report on Torres, I’d say you force him to the left, easier said than done due to his blazing speed but Torres scored a goal today very similar to today’s a few weeks ago. Same type of movement, where he turned inside to strike the ball with his right foot while his back was turned, rather than go to the left side down the line. And again, it was Sendeos getting beat for a goal—he’s fluent in five or six languages but that’s not translating into stops for Arsenal when they need them. Arsenal 2- Liverpool 1.
Just after Torres scored, as Wallcott and Van Persie came on, Adeboyer had a clear chance but instead of taking a touch and going by Reina, as he’d already committed to coming out, he side footed the ball well wide. A lost chance for Arsenal that seemed to tell the tale of the day not being theirs.
After Crouch came off for Liverpool there was more of a pop in their team’s play. Spurred on by Babel’s entrance into the game, and Gerrarrd now freed up to get a hold of the ball more within the attack, Liverpool seemed most likely to score next.
But all is forgotten rather quickly for Adeboyer’s earlier miss, as fifteen minutes later, after a Messi or Maradona like run by Walcott, where he sliced through three or four players, bursting up the park, going from his own end of the box to the next, and then cut the ball across the goalmouth to Adeboyer. It’s an easy finish for Adeboyer and the score is Arsenal 2 – Liverpool 2. The away goal rule set to take the Gunners through.
Cancel the joy though for Arsenal, as minutes later Babel gets tangled up and he’s rewarded a penalty kick. Gerrard steps up and puts the ball into the upper left corner of the net. Alumnia had no chance. Liverpool 3 – Arsenal 2.
The joy on Gerrard’s face is contagious. What a pressure penalty kick he scored! It’s not about deserve, a draw and overtime might have been more fair and deserved, but there’s no such thing. The Reds experience and determination shown through in this match, and the substitution by Rafa, putting in Babel, was wise. Walcott too was a good sub for Arsenal but just not enough.
An interesting point was made over at TheOffside, that maybe referees from the first game should also ref the second game, since there was talk about how Aleksandr Hleb was taken down in the previous match. But that seems to almost sanction a referee making a call for a club to balance things out. The game is the game as they say, and although a very tough goal to take just after you’ve scored, that’s the moment that clubs are the most susceptible to conceding goals as they say. I think Babel was in on goal and thrown off enough to warrant a penalty kick.
To top it off, as the game winds down, Babel breaks free and puts the Arsenal club clean out of the Champions League. Liverpool 4- Arsenal 2. I feel bad for Arsenal and Wenger, the Frenchman is always just almost there.
What a turn of events for Arsenal? Babel showed speed and strength in the final goal, as he punched the ball low and into the corner for the fourth goal. What an entrance he made in this game. I’ve seen him in a number of games and rarely does he make a statement like he’s done today. Right when he came on, the first thing he did was take a shot from long range and the crowd cheered his enthusiasm.
The game started with a moment of silence, and now ends with flags waving and cheers and songs raining down on the pitch, with Liverpool’s ‘never walk alone’ in full swing . What a game!
Now Liverpool moves into the semifinals to face Chelsea. An English team will be in the Champions League final.
Extra: At one moment John Arne Risse and William Gallas, the two Mohawks, fought for the ball on the sidelines—spike versus spike.
Non soccer ad: Another genius Gieco commercial as Mrs. Buttersworth does the speaking for the client. What EPL team needs a celebrity spokesman to tell their story? Maybe Fulham could use one now that they’re set for the drop and many might blame their American contingent.
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