Another incredible European night at Anfield ended in a 4-2 win for Liverpool to set up their third Champions League semi final in four years – and just like the previous two it will be against Chelsea.
Arsenal started the better and took the lead through Eboue, but Sami Hyypia equalised – his third goal in a CL quarter final – with a great header from a corner to make it 1-1 at half time.
Fernando Torres’ fantastic goal then gave Liverpool the advantage to have the Kop literally bouncing to the Spaniard’s new song. But Theo Walcott’s mazy run from inside his own half set-up Adebayor and the visitors were back in the driving seat.
Only for Ryan Babel to be tripped at the Kop end within a minute and Steven Gerrard put the penalty away. And in stoppage time Babel burst away to slot past Alumnia and send Liverpool fans ecstatic.
BBC Sport Report
Abou Diaby put Arsenal into an early lead but Sami Hyypia lost Phillipe Senderos to head an equaliser.
Fernando Torres looked to have settled the tie when he turned and drilled into the top corner, only for Emmanuel Adebayor to level.
But Kolo Toure fouled Ryan Babel and Gerrard held his nerve from the spot, before Babel broke to add a fourth.
It was an extraordinary end to yet another wonderful European tie at Anfield.
The two sides, who have faced each other three times in six days, saved their best for last in a game that was full of drama from start to finish.
Both teams played as if their season was on the line and it led to a pulsating cup tie.
Arsenal looked like they had a new lease of life from the side that started the 1-1 draw at the weekend and it was little surprise when they went in front through Diaby, on his return to the side.
He burst into the box to get on the end of Hleb’s pass and drove in a low shot that Pepe Reina could only help into the net.
The goal seemed to energise Arsenal further and it was Liverpool who were beginning to look jaded.
But the Gunners were made to pay after half an hour when Senderos was caught flat footed and Hyypia had the freedom of the Anfield penalty box to head past Cesc Fabregas and in off the post.
It was Liverpool’s turn to have the upper hand and they went ahead with a superb strike from Torres.
Rafa Benitez’s decision to partner Peter Crouch with Torres had looked like a tactical blunder at the start, but it was a pairing that combined for their second goal.
Crouch’s flick on was latched onto by Torres, who turned and shot in an instant to send the Kop into delirium.
Adebayor was just off target with a desperate lunge from Emmanuel Eboue’s cross but Arsenal increasingly looked dead on the ropes.
However, Theo Walcott’s introduction revitalised their hopes and he ran from inside his own half and into Liverpool’s box before squaring for Adebayor to tap in.
But Liverpool once again showed their resilience and immediately went down the other end, where substitute Babel was adjudged to have been brought down by Toure.
Gerrard made no mistake from the spot, firing into the top corner with just four minutes left on the clock.
An Arsenal goal at that stage would have been enough to send them through on away goals.
But as they threw men forward Babel raced clear to slot home a fourth – and perhaps ease the pain of a contentious penalty decision.
It was a cruel exit for Arsenal but there was no denying it was Liverpool’s night.
Uefa Match Stats:
4 Goals scored 2
0 Yellow card 2
0 Red card 0
4 Shots on goal 4
5 Shots wide 2
11 Fouls committed 9
5 Corners 2
4 Offsides 4
30′ 47” Ball. Poss. (time) 28′ 48”
51% Ball. Poss. (%) 49%
Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Skrtel, Hyypia, Aurelio, Gerrard, Alonso, Mascherano, Kuyt, Torres (Riise), Crouch (Babel)
Subs not used: Itandje, Voronin, Benayoun, Arbeloa, Lucas
Arsenal: Almunia, Toure, Gallas, Senderos, Clichy, Eboue, Flamini, Fabregas, Diaby, Hleb, Adebayor
Subs not used: Lehmann, Van Persie, Song Billong, Silva, Bendtner, Justin Hoyte, Walcott
Referee: Peter Frojdfeldt (Sweden)