Liverpool 2 Arsenal 2: Two points dropped in injury time

Last updated : 29 January 2003 By Brian Dawes

Dudek and Hyppia deny Paddy

How he had the nerve to complain about anything is beyond me, because without doubt when Houllier's Liverpool came to Highbury in December they were the most negative, boring bunch of hoofers I've ever seen appear for their Club. Only Oxford had thus far matched them in the tedious football stakes at Highbury this season. So it was to be hoped they might even play some football on their home patch but I wasn't holding my breath.

Apart from the still injured Freddie and the suspended Martin we were at full strength. But to match last season's heroic performance at Anfield would take a fair bit of doing. Parlour was in for Wiltord, other than that it was the expected team and a great game of football for the neutral followed.

The opening was fast with Pool edging the first five minutes and having some early pressure. Owen missed a good chance from a fine Heskey cross. 'Who's that team we call the Arsenal' The travelling Gooners were on song once more. Eight minutes gone and Dennis was near half way and wide on the right, he slung in a great bending ball behind the defender for Thierry to chase. Henry was forced wide but got a decent shot in, Dudek saved but it came out to Rob who'd followed up well and slotted home with ease. 0-1 Arsenal.

What followed in the first half was a Henry master class where he showed speed, skill, hard work, enthusiasm and the will to win but unfortunately no goals. Dennis was a willingly accomplice in fine form and the supporting cast aided in shredding Pool but not making them pay. Dennis put Henry away to have a shot saved. A great run by Pires put Henry on a run and he cut inside but only found the side netting. Parlour had a shot charged down and Cole put in a great cross. We were rampant and Pool's only counter was Gerrard finding row ZZ with a shot.

'Hoof' was the normal Arsenal chant when Liverpool gained brief possession because they did little more than that. Great turn and fine run by Dennis who found Henry. 'Boring, boring Scousers.' Cole to Pires to Bergkamp - corner. Pat headed home at the near post but it was disallowed for a shove in the back on Hyypia. Pinocchio looked seriously pissed off at this stage. Dave saved their best chance of the game after Heskey did well to put Owen through, but Seaman saved with his feet. Then saved a hit and hope from Gerrard. Ashley versus Diouf was a good battle. Amazing speed shown by Henry as he burned Carragher away. Pat had a shot blocked. Pires to Henry and he had an angled shot saved.

From the corner an unmarked Cygan header down but his shot was cleared on the line. Dave saved a ball chipped through. 'We love you Freddie.' Henry broke, rounded the keeper but found the side netting again from a narrow angle, the ball came from Pires deep in his own half but it was a threaded ball not a hoof. Dennis to Vieira who turned well but saw his shot saved. We were so on top, but needed a second to kill them off. Pires to Bergkamp to Henry, it was fast one touch flowing stuff, great to watch and the passing was so controlled. Pires latched onto a loose ball for a shot following another Henry run.

Pires pounces on the loose ball to put us one-up
A rare Campbell error let Owen in but it was an easy save for Seaman who had been greeted well by the Kop on arrival. Cole and Henry were doing fine until Cole was fouled. Henry took the free kick from a very wide position but only threatened the opposite corner flag. The Scousers had a shot deflected onto the top of Dave's net to remind us they were still alive and kicking. We could have buried them by half time but hadn't.

The second half began with Pool kicking towards the Kop and Riise fouled Ray with the first action of the half. A Cole cross was cleared before Henry fired back with his left peg, but wide. More Henry magic won a corner after another fine move. Dudek fumbled and Sol couldn't quite get there. Seaman saved from Riise in what was an amazingly open game by the current Liverpool standards. Arsenal get annoyed at the ref, fail to concentrate as they might and Heskey laid it back for Riise to drill home a great shot that gave Dave no chance. It followed the usual big punt forward. 1-1 52 minutes played, game on.

Henry tripped on the edge of their box but his free kick was well saved by Dudek. Diouf went to ground, Riise bent in the free kick, Pascal headed clear. Silly foul on Owen by Campbell put us back under pressure. Parlour shot from range ending the break he's started. A move involving about half the team found Dennis in his favourite bend one in position but his shot wasn't great, but the deflection off Henchoz was fabulous and in the net. 1-2 Arsenal and we should have been back in control. In fact we were and our classy repertoire included a brilliant flick by Pires.

Diouf picked up a booking for one hack too many at Cole. Gerrard and Gilberto were also at it, and both were spoken to by the ref. More long ball stuff from Pool. Smicer on for Cheyrou. Dennis beats his man, goes to the line, cuts back into Henry's path but his shot was saved well from close range. Brilliant play by Pat, then Dennis does some classy stuff to win a free kick. We were in total control with 15 minutes to go. 'He comes from Senegal ' Good move and good cross from Ashley won another corner. Corner follows corner and Vieira had a shot blocked. Diao on for Murphy. Cygan cleared a poor cross from Diouf.

Ray Parlour competes with Milan Baros
Good ball Pires to Henry. Baros on for Diouf. Henry to Bergkamp to Parlour to Lauren to Parlour to Vieira to Gilberto and he stuck in a great shot but saw it saved. We're keeping possession and were still bossing the game as Parlour won a free kick from Riise. 86 minutes gone, Oleg on for Dennis and he made two tackles straight away. Big ball in by Pool, big throw in by Pool. Big foot in by Pool, but in Lauren's face as he cleared and so he won a free kick. Henry on a solo. Henry doing his juggling party piece run. Corner given to Pool when it clearly wasn't, the ref was nowhere and hadn't a clue so the decision should have gone to the defender. 89 minutes 58 seconds gone and a corner was given. 3 minutes added time called as the ball goes across goal to their right, it was fired back to the far post and two Scousers are beyond Campbell completely-un-bloody-marked at the far post. One of them was Heskey who's solid header flew past Seaman to make it 2-2. Crap defending at the death.

Owen fell over - free kick, Owen kicked it out of play - corner. The Kop still has a big say in the decisions at Anfield it seemed. Final whistle and Arsene told the officials what he thought at the end of the match but it wasn't going to change things. More fool us for not killing them off, well done Pool for keeping going after being roasted. Well done the travelling Gooners. a top class performance as usual, not so well done Arsene for thinking we could sit back and hold them while they were attacking the Kop. Mr Wenger was seriously annoyed with the ref, quite rightly, but why did we let them come on to us by putting on an extra defender in the last five minutes?

Having watched the game on the box I can only say that you still see more at a game, although not necessarily the fine detail, I badly missed the atmosphere of being there, could have done without some predictable commentary but wouldn't miss the journey home. Great game but two points dropped nevertheless.