Dramatic Late Equaliser Saves Rodgers’ Blushes
In the spirit of Christmas, Liverpool and Arsenal both walked away from Anfield with a share of the spoils courtesy of Martin Skrtel’s ninety-seventh minute leveller.
The home side were coming off the back of an impressive display against Bournemouth in midweek and continued where they left off.
They dominated possession, bossed the midfield and created far more scoring opportunities in the first half and, rightfully, put themselves in front just before the interval when Philippe Coutinho smacked one in off the upright.
Mathieu Flamini was lucky to have remained on the pitch as the Frenchman could, and possibly should, have been shown a second yellow on 44 minutes for another reckless challenge on Adam Lallana.
Moments later, Flamini was instrumental in drawing Arsenal level. His floated header found Mathieu Debuchy who nodded home to force Rodgers to tear up his half time speech.
Liverpool averaged 60% possession throughout the first 45 and controlled the match in every area other than their own box. The Reds have only managed four clean sheets in their last 24 fixtures so it is little surprise that Arsenal were able to find a way through.
The second half was a more evenly contested affair but still saw the home side have the greater grip on proceedings.
However, Arsenal found themselves in front on 65 minutes when Santi Cazorla crossed to Olivier Giroud who smashed the ball in from close range to make it a century of goals at Anfield for the Gunners.
Liverpool came close to levelling matters many times, especially after the introduction of Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert but Wojciech Szczesny kept his side in front with a number of fine saves.
Substitute Borini, who only joined the game on 74 minutes, was then sent off in added time after picking up a second yellow.
Arsene Wenger was minutes away from Premier League win number 400 and attempted to sure things up by removing attackers in favour of more defensive-minded options.
Nine minutes had been added due to the head injury suffered by Skrtel earlier in the half and 10-man Liverpool made it count.
The Gunners allowed the home side to pile constant pressure on them and the wall finally crumbled two minutes from time when the Slovakian defender got on the end of a corner and powerfully headed past Szczesny to make it 2-2.
The result sees Liverpool climb out of the bottom half of the table in time for Christmas while Arsenal move above rivals Tottenham Hotspur into sixth but still find themselves four points off the Champions League spots.