Full-time - 90'
1 - 1
16:00 +00:00, December 21, 2008
Emirates Stadium, England
Referee: Howard Webb
That's that! An entertaining game that never really sprang to life. Plenty of action though, and a rather harsh sending off to boot. Liverpool stay top but Chelsea will depose them if they beat Everton. Arsenal remain eight points behind, and it remains an uphill battle for them. Thanks for your company.
What a terrible kick from Almunia. Gallas went forward as they won a free-kick but the keeper smashed it out of play near the corner flag.
Clichy crosses and van Persie heads but its easy for Reina. Eboo-ue got a big cheer when he came on.
Ebooooo-ue is on for Nasri, who has had an excellent game.
Three added minutes....
El Zahr nods just wide! Insua crosses, the winger glances a header and it falls just wide of the post!
Arsenal hump a free-kick long and it goes straight out for a Liverpool goal kick.
And now, in the 88th minute, Liverpool go 4-4-2.
A poor ball from Diaby gifts possession back to Liverpool, who are bringing Ngog on for the ineffectual Lucas.
Agger pushes forward and unleashes a superb shot that swings just wide of the upright. Superb effort.
Why not make a statement of intent Liverpool and go and try and win the game eh? Put yourselves clear at the top? No? Instead you sit back with nine behind the ball against Arsenal's ten men.
El Zahr slides in a ball looking for Kuyt but Almunia comes out and gets just enough on it to clear.
Van Persie's inswinger is deep and although Reina looked far from convincing no-one was there to profit from it for Arsenal.
Agger fluffs two headers under no pressure and gives away a corner. Go on Arsenal, score!!
Changes. Keane off, El Zahr on. Ebooooooo-ue warming up too.
Babel whips in a cross but Almunia claims. Then Lucas brings down Diaby and gets a booking.
Nasri goes on another mazy run ending in a swerving shot. Well wide though.
Liverpool have nine men behind the ball as Arsenal stroke it around. Why oh why oh why?
Nasri tries to dribble through, gets forced wide by Carragher then megs him and goes down. No free kick though.
Needless to say, van Persie is now ploughing a lone furrow up front...
A chorus of boos now ring out as Liverpool enjoy some possession. The sending off has at least provoked Arsenal's fans into creating a bit of atmosphere.
Gerrard aims some abuse at Webb as he runs at Gallas and falls over. Not much in that TBH.
Arsenal have managed to impose themselves more since the sending off than before it. Strange old game innit?
Diaby finds van Persie who turns and shoots but a deflection off Carragher helps Reina gather.
Carragher is going to get booked now for holding back van Persie.
Ryan Babel is on for Riera.
Webb incenses Arsenal further by denying Nasri a free-kick then booking Sagna seconds later for a lunge on Arbeloa.
Chance for Arsenal, Song found himself running at two Liverpool defenders with Diaby in support but tried a clipped ball for Nasri and wasted the chance.
That's 75 sendings off over a 12-year period for Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. Great stat attack.
Door wide open for Liverpool now then eh?
As our commentator has pointed out I think Julio Arca's horror tackle on Andy Johnson yesterday was in Webb's mind when he made that decision. But it shouldn't have been. Every game, every tackle is different. Van Persie booked now for a foul on Gerrard.
Arsene Wenger is doing his nut on the touchline and I can see why. The shape and angle of his foot looked like it could be dangerous but no contact was made at all with Arbeloa's foot. Can it be a foul if no contact is made?
Arsenal's ten men manage to break but Denilson chooses to shoot from a ridiculous angle rather than cross for van Persie.
Well that was absolute pony. Adebayor's foot went over the ball but didn't make contact with Arbeloa, it was his arm that hit the defender's chest, and he went down like he'd been hit by a sniper.
A decent spell of possession for Arsenal but Adebayor ends it with a foul on Arebloa and he gets a second yellow card! What?!
Agger releases Insua down the left, who needs no encouragement to get forward, but Sagna clears.
Gerrard slides a pass into Keane from a free-kick rather than swing it in but Keane was offside.
By the way, Newcastle scored late to beat Spurs at St James Park. Damien Duff got the winner in the 90th minute. Get in!
Alonso takes the corner and Agger meets it but his effort was never going to trouble Almunia.
Kutt wastes a decent chance in the right channel by choosing to shoot rathetr than cross. Corner.
Song puts Adebayor in down the left side but Carragher bundles him out of it.
Insua gets down the left and swings in a cross. Its neither volley-ing height or head height so Keane bundles it towards goal but Almunia catches.
Sagna fires in a low ball but Carragher gets rid of it easily.
Keane plays a sloppy ball for Kuyt and he plays a sloppy one in return when there was a big gap in front of the Irishman. Poor all round.
Arsenal taking a while to reorganise after Fabregas' departure. Alumnia is out to clear from the onrushing Kuyt.
Big chance here for Liverpool to prosper now with Fabregas off, but will they go for the win?
Liverpool win an early free-kick off Diaby, Gerrard swings it in and van Persie clears but Lucas smashes in a shot that Almunia does well to parry.
The big news at the start of the second half is that Fabregas can't continue and Diaby is on.
Two great tackles to end the half as Fabregas and Carragher charge in as Arsenal break. And that's half time. Well, what a turnaround! Arsenal one up and cruising, then they nod off for Keane's goal and could easily have been 2-1 down. Looks like Fab was hurt by that tackle and he may be a doubt for the second half.
Ooh Kuyt! I spoke too soon, he fires in a shot and Almunia only just manages to get a palm on it to save.
Chance! Kuyt robs Clichy and squares for Gerrard but the skipper can't get a good enough touch on it to turn the ball home.
Well, it didn't look like coming but it has, and Benitez will surely have to take note of that strike from Keano. A great finish.
What a finish! A ball over the top, Djourou stands and watches and Keane catches it on the half volley and fires it into the roof of the net.
Van Persie swings in a free-kick and Kuyt clears, via Lucas.
Gerrard gets another sight of goal but blasts it way, way over.
Adebayor is booked for a tackle on Arbeloa, I think. Not particularly nasty I thought.
I'm afraid Dirk Kuyt's golden form of late seems to have deserted him. He's finding Arsenal players on a regular basis with his passes.
Apparently Rafa is in constant contact via phone with Liverpool's goalkeeping coach, who then passes the messages on to the Liverpool bench.
Now van Persie gives away a free kick. Its all gone slightly bitty.
Clumsy play from Denilson as he fails to find Sagna then bumps into Riera and gives away a free kick.
Decent strike from Gerrard but Almunia had plenty of time to see it and catches.
Gerrard throws himself to the deck and wins a free-kick, about 35 yards out.
Its still 1-1 at St James Park by the way between Newcastle and Spurs.
Good quick, passing move from Arsenal but Sagna's cross was poor, allowing Carragher to clear.
Tribute too to Nasri for a raking long ball for the goal. How Liverpool allowed van Persie to bring it down, turn and score will make those kidney stones pass a little slower I reckon.
Liverpool try a long ball of their own and Riera manages to square it but Djourou hacks clear.
Exactly what the game needed. Now Liverpool will have to come out a little more. Game on!
Smashing finsh from Chelsea's destroyer. A long ball from Nasri, a superb piece of control, a twist then a great right-footed shot into the corner. Cracking!
GOAL! Van Persie!
Lucas nudges Adebayor and Webb gives a soft free kick.
Silvestre is warming up as Clichy continues to hobble. He managed to tackle Gerrard there though.
Clichy is back on, gingerly.
Clichy hobbles off and the Gooners sing "What a waste of money," at Keano.
Keane is booked for a nasty tackle on CLichy. It looked worse than it was but it doesn't stop Arsenal's fans giving the ex-Spurs player a bucket load of jip.
Lucas picks out Stevie G over the top but his ball was poor and too near the corner flag. If he'd stuck it narrow and in front of Gerrard he was clean through.
Adebayor now jinks past Arbeloa, then Agger concedes a corner.
Arsenal buoyed by those couple of breaks. The game is starting to open up.
Lucas tries to play in Riera down the left but Almunia is alive to the situation and charges out to clear.
Great break from Arsenal as Sagna pours down the right, his cross finds Adebayor but his flick lacks the pace to trouble Renia, who saves comfortably.
Wasteful from Gael Clichy, he shanks his cross behind.
Now Arsenal break and Nasri feeds Adebayor in the area but Agger manages to boot it off the striker and behind for a goal kick.
First decent chance that. How Keane stole into that much space I don't know. Oh, I do now having seen the replay, it was Clichy who was miles behind his centre-backs and playing Keane on.
Agger hit it long for Keane who was yards ahead of the Arsenal backline, and not offside, but as the ball didn't have the pace to take him through he laid off for Gerrard whose shot was right at Almunia.
Reiera tries to burst down the left but Gallas is across.
Strange one that, Sagna hits the byline its deflected but the linesman gives a goal kick when it was clearly a corner. Adebayor challenged Reina and won the header but the whistle had gone.
Lucas is having a very nervy start, he dawdled on the ball there but was lucky to get a free-kick for Adebayor's challenge.
Sagna cuts inside Lucas but his ball for Denilson is poor. Mostly Arsenal in possession to date...
Some slick passing from Liverpool in and around the Arsenal box but the Gunners hold firm as Sagna turns it back to Almunia.
A little nudge from Lucas on Denilson - free kick to Arsenal but Reina comes to claim it.
Gerrard piles in on Sagna in very committed fashion. Looked a little ungainly but no action taken by ref Howard Webb.
Both sides have already beaten Chelsea AND Manchester United of course. Who will conquer in the battle of the conquerors?
Right, here we go. A telling 90 minutes in prospect...
So, Robbie Keane (remember him?) gets a rare start for Liverpool, while Wenger goes with Adebayor and van Persie up front. The one person who is absent is Rafa Benitez though, he is still recovering from kidney stones so Sammy Lee will do the honours on the bench.
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Agger, Insua, Kuyt, Leiva Lucas, Alonso, Riera, Gerrard and Keane. Subs from: Cavalieri, Hyypia, Benayoun, Babel, Ngog, Plessis and El Zhar.
Team news. Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Djourou, Gallas, Clichy, Denilson, Fabregas, Song Billong, Nasri, Adebayor and Van Persie. Subs from:
Fabianski, Diaby, Vela, Ramsey, Silvestre, Wilshere and Eboue.
Good afternoon one and all and welcome to a do or die game for Arsenal against league leaders Liverpool. It is generally agreed if the Gunners fail to win this one their title dreams are up the swanny.
Robin Van Persie
Nabil El Zhar
Nabil El Zhar