In just seven days, Liverpool have been involved in two of the most entertaining games in years. First, it was the 4-4 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League last week. And second, it was tonight’s 4-4 draw against Arsenal at Anfield.
Whatever happens this season, Liverpool has been an incredibly entertaining and adventurous side showing a wonderful passion and drive. Who said that the 4-5-1 formation is taking over football? Certainly not in Liverpool.
But let’s not forget Arsenal and especially one Andrei Arshavin who showed exactly why tonight he’s worth every penny that Arsenal paid for him. Scoring an incredible four goals — and they were incredible — the cheeky Russian striker making the most of each chance that was in front of him.
In fact, whenever Arshavin and Torres had the ball in or around the box, you had the feeling that something magical was going to happen. Just as many of us fell in love with Arshavin at Euro 2008, our appreciation for him was regained tonight. And Torres continued to show how much of a difference he makes when he’s fit and in the side for the Reds of Merseyside.
It was a sleepy first half punctuated by an enthralling second half not sure which way the game would turn at any minute. Liverpool, by far the most entertaining side in the Premier League this season, looked most likely to win this match but Arsenal was never out of reach of winning this one especially after Arshavin scored in the first half to take a surprise 1-0 lead.
Despite an entertaining season thus far in the Premier League, you have to admit that the Big Four have been guilty of a lot of schoolboy defensive errors lately. Chelsea, Arsenal and Man United have been guilty, and so too was Liverpool tonight with Mascherano, Arbeloa, Aurelio and Carragher all guilty at times with Arsenal punishing them by scoring goals at decisive points in the match.
Yossi Benayoun, the former West Ham United midfielder, has improved a lot this season and he was again at the right place at the right time tonight when he scored two crucial goals — one of which was the equalizer in injury time.
For Arsenal, Kieran Gibbs has to be congratulated for keeping Arsenal in the game for a wonderful goal-line clearance from Torres’s header in the second half. If the ball had gone in, there may have been no turning back for the Gunners.
Up front for Liverpool, Ryan Babel added a lot of pace to the left when he came on as a substitute but he was unable to provide a clinical pass or shot that would have made the difference. Let’s hope the Dutchman gets more chances to play for the Reds for the remainder of the season. I would definitely be sad to see him go.
So there you have it. Liverpool go top of the Premier League on goal difference but Manchester United now has two games in hand (one against Portsmouth at Old Trafford on Wednesday night). With Liverpool failing to win against Arsenal, the ball is now back in Man United’s court. The Premier League title race is in their hands.
I’m not convinced it’s over yet, especially the way that Liverpool keep on scoring goals. If they can tighten up things in the back, they have a good opportunity to win their remaining matches. There’s still a long way to go and plenty of twists and turns in store. But, for the time being, let’s sit back and marvel at the beautiful open game played by Arsenal and Liverpool and congratulate them for showing why English football truly is the most entertaining league in the world.