Arsenal 1 Liverpool 1

Last updated : 05 April 2008 By Footymad Previewer
Arsenal drew 1-1 with Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium for the second time in four days, a result that effectively marks the end of the Gunners' title bid.

Both Arsene Wenger and Rafa Benitez selected sides that differed greatly from those picked for the midweek Champions League encounter and, no doubt, different to the ones that will play at Anfield in four days' time.

It was not only the personnel that were different for the Gunners. The formation was a fluid 4 -1-3-1 with Gilberto Silva in a holding role in front of the back four while Cesc Fabregas and Mathieu Flamini took it in turns to push up in support of Nicklas Bendtner who was handed a lone role in attack.

The two keepers retained their places and the first to be tested after just three minutes was Manuel Almunia who had to stretch to parry Peter Crouch's 40-yard shot that was on its way into the top right-hand corner of the goal.

In the 17th minute Crouch threaded a defence-splitting ball for John Arne Riise to accelerate on to but, once in the area and with just Almunia to beat, he skied his shot over the bar.

Yossi Benayoun should have done better on 32 minutes when he had possession in space on the right side of the area but his cross was too far in front of Riise.

Arsenal had their first shot on goal two minutes later when Fabregas fired wide of the left upright. The second come 30 seconds later and should have resulted in a goal.

Flamini burst forward from midfield and was challenged on the edge of the area. The ball spilled to Bendtner on the left side of the area, but perhaps he had too much time and space and fired a tame shot straight at Jose Reina when a goal looked more likely.

The Gunners went close again when Emmanuel Eboue beat the offside trap to cross for Fabregas, who was sliding in to re-direct the ball into the net just three yards out, but Steve Finnan was on hand to make a saving interception.

Liverpool took the lead on 42 minutes, inevitably through Crouch when Arsenal failed to deal with a long goal-kick from Reina.

Crouch knocked the ball down to Benayoun who lifted the ball over an Arsenal defender back to the tall striker who shifted the ball to his right before unleashing a drive from the edge of the area that went past Almunia and finished inside the left post.

Kolo Toure thought he had scored on 51 minutes from a corner but his header bounced agonisingly wide of the left post.

Liverpool were looking vulnerable from set-plays and the Gunners took advantage three minutes later when Bendnter rose highest to power a header home beyond Reina to equalise.

Arsenal stepped up the pressure with the introduction of Emmanuel Adebayor and changed their formation to play with two in attack. The pace of the game increased and a good save from Reina on 70 minutes kept Liverpool on level terms after Flamini's 20-yard drive looked goalbound.

Liverpool were quiet compared to the opening half and their first attacking move of note after the interval was Crouch overhead kick on 74 minutes that ended up flying high over Almunia's bar.

With the Gunners a man down as William Gallas received treatment off the pitch, Reds substitute Andriy Voronin should have given the visitors the lead on 80 minutes when he had time and space in the Arsenal penalty area.

He was teed up by Crouch's square ball but hoofed his effort over the bar.

The game opened up in the last 15 minutes as Benitez brought on Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard. The game was stretched but both teams lacked the composure to score and the repeat of the midweek result seemed inevitable.