This epic encounter, the sixth time Liverpool have scored four or more in their past eight games, was a magnificent advertisement for the breath-taking, mistake-making nature of Premier League combat. Like two heavyweights, Liverpool and Arsenal kept pummelling each other, kept recovering from body blows that would have seen off lesser mortals.
Henry Winter of The Telegraph
A glorious opportunity missed. After disposing of Manchester Utd at Old Trafford so comfortably all those weeks ago, this was always going to be our hardest fixture to win. But when the news broke that Arsenal effectively had over half their first team players out injured, there was an air of confidence that this would be another straightforward brush aside and the pressure would be kept up on Man Utd.
But Arsenal are not a team to be underestimated. And recent form would suggest that they’re in the same confident Spring mood that we’ve been in lately. Unfortunately for us, our defence has decided to go AWOL recently. Conceding eight goals in the last two games doesn’t look like the stuff of Champions, but at the same time scoring twelve in the last three, does.
So what now? Well, we’re pretty much as we were before the game. We’ve got to carry on winning and hope Manchester Utd slip up at least twice along the way. We can be thankful that they’ve still got the distraction of the Champions League, and must also face this impressive Arsenal side in the league, too. But all of a sudden, Manchester Utd’s games are quickly becoming as important to us as our own. And all Scouse eyes will be on Old Trafford tonight as we hope Portsmouth can take the scalp of Utd to keep the Reds top on goal difference.
Both The Independent and Guardian begin their match reports of last night’s epic 4-4 draw at home to Arsenal with comparisons to 1989, when Arsenal turned up at Anfield on the final day of the season to literally steal the title from under our noses and break so many hearts.
Says Sam Wallace of The Independent:
Twenty years have passed since the last time Arsenal came to Anfield and wrecked the locals’ title dream but the drama, the pain, the improbable nature of the football were equal to it last night. It was Andrei Arshavin’s night, it was Fernando Torres’ night and then ‘“ when the shouting was done ‘“ it was clear that really it was Sir Alex Ferguson’s night.
And Andy Hunter in this morning’s Guardian:
In the week Ashes to Ashes returned to our television screens Liverpool were transported back to 1989. There was Arsenal in yellow and navy, attacking the Anfield Road end, and a desperate Anfield looking on helplessly as their title aspirations lay at the mercy of an opponent bearing down on goal. Unlike 20 years ago, there is still chance of a reprieve for Liverpool‘s title challenge this season, although their reaction to Andrey Arshavin’s 90th-minute goal indicated they had just witnessed the ghost of Michael Thomas.
Oliver Kay of The Times compares last night to another historic Anfield night ‘“ when Roy Evans’ Liverpool triumphed 4-3 over Newcastle Utd in the mid-90s.
The parallels with that great match were impossible to ignore. Liverpool went one better than Keegan’s Newcastle, recovering to score one final equaliser through Benayoun after Arshavin had plunged a dagger into their hearts for a fourth time with only seconds left in normal time. But, as on that occasion, the match was epitomised by football played at breakneck pace and kamikaze defending of a type that will have left BenÃtez wondering just how much he and his team have sacrificed with their desire to go for the jugular in the final weeks of the campaign.
Kay says that it feels as Liverpool are, like Newcastle were that season, destined ‘œto fall agonisingly short of Manchester United.’
Henry Winter of The Telegraph sets things straight ‘“ the title race is not over yet.
The championship trophy is still up for grabs and whatever happens, one thing is sure: the 2008-09 season will be remembered as one of the most entertaining in living memory, the attacking thrills and defensive spills seen in abundance here.
Keep positive, sing up and look at the facts. At least for today only, we’re top of the league with five games to go. A brilliant achievement.