The sensational match between Liverpool and Arsenal was a wonderful advertisement for English football. The Gunners absolutely dominated Liverpool for the first 30 minutes, running circles around the Reds with their one-touch passing movements which were mesmerizing to watch. After Diaby scored the opening goal, it seemed that Arsenal was unstoppable.
The turning point in the game, however, was Sami Hyypia’s brilliant headed goal from the Liverpool corner kick. After the inch perfect header went in the net, Liverpool was a completely different side brimming with confidence. If that header had gone a few inches to the right and struck the post, I’m convinced Arsenal would have gone on to win the match.
Fair play to Liverpool, though. The team played extremely well in the second half. Fernando Torres’s goal seemed to come out of nowhere after the long kick from Reina. What was most incredible about Torres’s goal was that he didn’t look up once. He controlled the ball, swiveled past Senderos and struck the ball without looking up. It was purely an instinctive shot. The Spaniard must have a compass inside his head to help him steer the ball toward the net.
Adebayor’s equalizer was a justified reward for Arsenal especially after Theo Walcott tore through the Liverpool midfield and defense after Gerrard’s miskick. Now you can see what Sven saw when he took Theo to the 2006 World Cup. Walcott’s speed and mazy run were sensational.
The next chapter in the game was a cruel one for Arsenal when Ryan Babel was jostled and knocked down in the box. To be fair, the Swedish referee had a brilliant game and didn’t make many mistakes — if any — during the match. The ref made the correct decision and Gerrard slotted the ball home in a see-saw of a match.
Babel, who was a revelation for Liverpool after coming on for Crouch, put the game out of reach for Arsenal after speeding past Fabregas and calmly knocking the ball under the approaching Almunia.
Football fans will undoubtedly be discussing whether the foul on Babel should have been a penalty or not for days, if not weeks. Even if the referee had not awarded a penalty, Babel’s goal was enough for Liverpool to win the game.