A Martin Sktrel header in the 97th minute helped Liverpool earn a well deserved draw against a below par Arsenal.
Liverpool will be kicking themselves having been forced to fight for a draw after being in control for much of the game. Skrtel used the 9 minutes added time, that had come as a result of a head injury he sustained after a collision with Olivier Giroud,well, towering above the Arsenal defenders and heading home from Adam Lallana’s corner.
Brendan Rodgers’ side impressed throughout the ninety minutes and seemed in total control, however their lack of cutting edge in attack and defensive frailty proved key yet again. The Anfield faithful saw their team miss a handful of chances during the first half, before Philippe Coutinho worked himself some space before slotting home from 18 yards.
Coutinho’s goal was immediately cancelled out as Liverpool failed to clear an Arsenal free kick which lead to Mathieu Debuchy rising above Martin Skrtel to head past Brad Jones on the stroke of half time. Nerves were beginning to show amongst the Liverpool supporters, with many beginning to suspect Liverpool’s inability to score might come back to haunt them yet again.
Olivier Giroud looked as though he had secured Arsenal an undeserved win after Arsenal’s first promising attacking move resulted in the Frenchman slotting home from close range on 64 minutes having found himself unmarked despite there being three Liverpool defenders back.
Even after the goal, Liverpool were still the brighter team however, like in the first half, struggled to convert their chances. Finally, they managed to capitalise on a good period of pressure towards the end of the game as Skrtel took advantage of poor Arsenal defending to power home a header into the bottom corner to equalise for his side.
Liverpool were deserved of their point and will feel they should have won the game. The game showcased signs of improvement for Brendan Rodgers and his side however their inability to be clinical in front of goal was ever familiar, reminding people of the need for the return of the prolific Daniel Sturridge.
20 Million pound summer signing Lazar Markovic showed more signs of improvement. The former Benfica man posed a strong threat down the left flank with his pace and agility, however failed to take a handful of good chances in front of goal- a re occurring theme. Rodgers can take added encouragement from the performance of Philippe Coutinho, who scored his side a much needed goal while looking likely to unlock the Arsenal defence every time he was on the ball.
As for Arsenal, Arsene Wenger can take few positives from a game where his side spent most of the time on the back foot. Wenger’s side, yet again, looked miles away from a side that is able to challenge for the title and were very fortunate to get anything from the game. Despite this, Liverpool allowed their opponents to gain an undeserved result with poor defending being to blame for goals by Debuchy and then Giroud.
The game demonstrated the position of both sides, recognising the large room for improvement and the reality that both have a long way to go before being able to challenge for the title again.