Liverpool miss opportunity against Arsenal (Roundup)December 22nd, 2008 - 6:00 pm ICT by IANS
London, Dec 22 (DPA) A Robbie Keane equaliser earned Liverpool a point against Arsenal in the English Premier League, but they will see it as an opportunity spurned given the home side played the final 28 minutes with 10 men after the dismissal of Emmanuel Adebayor.Liverpool, whose manager Rafa Benitez missed the game after having treatment for kidney stones, after the match Sunday go two points clear at the top of the Premier League.
Arsenal remain eight points adrift, but all the positives of their late resilience pale beside the knee injury suffered by their captain Cesc Fabregas.
He appeared to over-stretch the joint as he made a block challenge on Xabi Alonso just before half-time, and did not emerge after the interval.
Robin van Persie put Arsenal ahead after 24 minutes with a goal that, although untypical of Arsenal’s close-passing style, was born of two moments of exquisite individual skill.
Samir Nasri swept a 50-yard pass to Van Persie, who took it down on his chest at the edge of the box, nudged it away from Jamie Carragher, and crunched a right-foot finish past Pepe Reina.
Liverpool’s equaliser, four minutes before the break, was rather more rudimentary.
A long high-ball from Alvaro Arbeloa caught out Johann Djourou, letting in Keane, who smacked in a glorious first-time finish.
It would have been a great strike from a man in form, but from a player who has been derided since his 20-million-pound ($30 million) move from Tottenham Hotspur, it was quite sensational.
From then till half-time, it was all Liverpool. A stretching Steven Gerrard couldn’t quite direct Dirk Kuyt’s cross on target, and then Kuyt himself was denied only by a low save from Manuel Almunia.
After losing Fabregas, the game seemed to be tipped further away from Arsenal as Adebayor picked up a second yellow card, for catching Arbeloa in the face with a raised arm.
But, not for the first time this season, when asked to chase the game Liverpool looked toothless, and failed to test Arsenal keeper Manuel Almunia in that last half-hour.
The closest they came was a thunderous drive from Daniel Agger that grazed the angle of post and bar with Almunia well beaten.
Earlier in the day, Manchester City were cast further into crisis as Roman Bednar’s late winner consigned them to a 2-1 defeat at West Bromwich Albion.
Feleipe Caceido seemed to have salvaged a point as he backheeled an 84th-minute equaliser to cancel out Luke Moore’s opener.
But Bednar’s strike means City have won only one of their last 10 games, and lie third from bottom of the table.
Newcastle United also scored a last-minute winner as they beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1.
Charles N’Zogbia put Newcastle ahead after 12 minutes, but Luka Modric equalised before Damien Duff stole a late winner.