Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Arsenal 2 - 1 Liverpool

Liverpool FC are out of the Carling Cup. Only highlight is the inclusion of Aquilani (see photo)
Arsenal proved too strong for Liverpool as they beat the Reds in an absorbing Carling Cup fourth round tie.
Fran Merida thundered in an 18-yard shot to put Arsenal ahead.
Emiliano Insua equalised with a superb 25-yard dipping strike but Nicklas Bendtner shot into the roof of the net for what proved to be the winner.
Alberto Aquilani impressed after coming on for his Liverpool debut and felt he should have had a penalty when Philippe Senderos blocked his overhead shot.
Referee Alan Wiley waved away the Italian's appeals for a Senderos handball but, after the long wait to see the £20m summer arrival, he showed some nice touches and energy in a 15-minute cameo appearance as his side pushed for an equaliser in the closing stages.
Andriy Voronin put a shot wide for Liverpool and Ryan Babel missed a Dirk Kuyt cross with the home goal gaping as Arsenal held on for the win.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has always used this competition to plunge some of his youngsters into action but, on this occasion, his side also had a more experienced look as he included several senior players needing first-team football.
His counterpart Rafael Benitez had a similar blend of experience and youth as he tested the depth of his squad by giving his supporting cast the chance to shine.
The Reds' fringe players almost took their chance when Voronin found David Ngog and his clever backheel put Philipp Degen through on goal only for the right-back to angle a shot wide.
Arsenal's fluidity and slick passing is a feature of their game no matter who is in their line-up, and they upped the tempo before being rewarded with a stunning goal.
Merida scored with a powerful left-foot strike after 18-year-old Gunners debutant Craig Eastmond, who put in a promising display in central midfield, had won a tackle on the edge of the Reds box.
But the visitors hit back with an equally superbly struck effort when Babel nodded the ball down to Insua and he chested the ball down before sending a dipping shot past keeper Lukasz Fabianski for his first Liverpool goal.
The sense of attack from both sides and a vulnerability about both defences made for a captivating and open game.
A swift Arsenal counter-attack masterminded by the skill and vision of Aaron Ramsey provided an opening for Merida and, despite chipping a shot over on-rushing keeper Diego Cavalieri, Reds defender Martin Skrtel headed the danger away.
Cavalieri had another escape when he missed a cross and, after a goalmouth melee, gratefully gathered Bendter's close range shot on the turn.
However, the Denmark international gave Cavalieri no chance when he latched on to a Gibbs ball and powered a strike into the roof of the net.
Liverpool had chances to equalise but Voronin angled a shot across goal wide and a well-struck Babel free-kick was saved.
Babel should have scored from a Kuyt cross but he missed the ball completely as Arsenal continued their impressive record of not having lost to Liverpool at home since February 2000.

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