Arsenal and Liverpool had one of those classic titanic battles at Anfield today. It was a pulsating, incident laden game that was great to watch from beginning to end that ended 1-1.
The footballing styles of both sides wildly contrasted, with Liverpool's very direct long ball and getting their players to harass the opponents, and Arsenal's silky free flowing passing game combining to make a very entertaining tactical battle.
Credit to Arsene's young side. They dominated the home side for long periods of time, but found it tough to break through a resilient Liverpool defence, that was well protected by the midfield pairing of Alonso and Mascherano. Mascherano in particular was a beast in the center of the field, and was instrumental in cutting out most Arsenal attacks.
However, playing in his 400th game for Liverpool, Steven Gerrard was showing glimpses of his talent and power, and it was from his harassing and closing down of Flamini that lead to the first goal.
But Arsenal didn't crack under the pressure cauldron of Anfield. They kept the ball for long periods of time and slowly built back their confidence. Liverpool's front 3 pairing were negated as an attacking force, as 90% of their work was being done in their own half, just tracking and defending against Arsenal players!
In the end, Cesc Fabregas, who is having a brilliant goalscoring season, added another one to his tally, courtesy of another brilliant move. It was the least they deserved for all their enterprising play.
For Arsenal, the result is a good one for them. At the start of the game, i'm very sure Arsene would have settled for a point. The result also returns them to the top of the league, and keeps the pressure on defending champions Manchester United, who is trying to retain the crown.
For Liverpool, the result will be accepted, but Rafa really would have preferred a win, and all 3 points. Their home record has been dreadful this season, which is a reverse of their form last season. Last season, Liverpool were virtually unbeatable at home, but dreadful away.
There will be fresh injury worries for Rafa, with Alonso coming off in the second half, Mascherano limping his way to the end of the game and Torres clearly still not fit yet and was taken off at half time. I have to say though, Liverpool played much better when Crouch came on, and he had 3 shots on target and kept the ball for Liverpool very well. Just why he has been so underused this season is quite a mystery.