Sunday’s Papers: Praise for Crouch

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Liverpool’s third 1-1 draw with Arsenal this season yesterday lunchtime all but ended the Gunner’s faint hopes of winning the Premier League title, whilst extending the Reds’ lead over fifth place Everton to six points. We take a look at what the newspapers are saying this morning.

Duncan Castles writes in The Observer of the changes each manager made to their line-ups, with Tuesday night’s Champions League clash at Anfield between the two teams in mind. Was Arsene Wenger caught between loyalties?

As before their FA Cup debacle at Old Trafford, Wenger’s team selection fell between two stools, resting key players for the European tie at the expense of effectiveness on the day. Both full-backs, both forwards and Alexander Hleb stood down. Benítez didn’t even pretend where his priorities lay, rotating – or ‘changing’, as he labels it – eight of Wednesday’s starters. Jamie Carragher, Martin Skrtel and Pepe Reina did a second shift, while Damien Plessis made his debut in midfield.

The Independent’s James Corrigan discusses Peter Crouch’s impressive display for Liverpool.

Maybe, but Liverpool were certainly the better side in the first half, with Peter Crouch, in particular, looking razor-sharp. At the very least the striker must have earned himself a place on the bench for Tuesday, although he probably wants more. Crouch is yet to sign the new contract Benitez has offered him, and the manner in which he tore into the home defence suggested he fancies playing every week.

Jonathan Northcroft of The Times argues that despite Arsenal‘s second half penalty claims ‘“ déjà vu from Wednesday night’s European tie ‘“ it was Liverpool who could have won it.

Wenger also complained of a penalty that could have been awarded when Lucas tugged Fabregas but it was Liverpool who should have scored the decisive goal at 1-1. Andriy Voronin, twice dismal in good positions, has never looked more like a plumber, and Fernando Torres couldn’t find Steven Gerrard when a ball across goal would have set up his captain for a winner.

And finally, Simon Lucas of The Guardian writes a witty review of Sky’s high-definition coverage of Wednesday night’s Champions League clash between Arsenal and Liverpool.

Poor Richard Keys in the studio, for instance. Once cruelly (though accurately) maligned as the hairiest man this side of the Pleistocene epoch, he must now be strategically plucked and depilated for fear of causing offence among fainter-hearted high-definition viewers. Other Wednesday-night sights were rendered even more traumatic than usual by the merciless high-def gaze: Kolo Touré’s weird, chewed-looking ear, Nicklas Bendtner’s tattoos, Martin Skrtel and Dirk Kuyt in general.