On April 21, 2009, Liverpool and Arsenal played out one of the greatest encounters in Premier Alliance history at Anfield.
Liverpool, aggressive Manchester United for the Premier Alliance title, bare a win to go aloft their angry rivals, while Arsenal were down in fourth, with a adequate seven-point beanbag aloft Aston Villa abaft them.
The 2008-09 attack was Liverpool at their best beneath Rafa Benitez. Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres’ clear-sighted compassionate was at its a lot of frightening, while a axial block of Jamie Carragher, Daniel Agger, Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso bedevilled both adroitness and guile.
However, the hosts were afterwards Gerrard due to injury, acceptation Albert Riera came into the side, while Arsenal had Robin van Persie unavailable. Lukasz Fabianski, Mikael Silvestre, Denilson and Nicklas Bendtner all started for the Gunners.
Liverpool 0-1 Arsenal (Arshavin, 39)
The affray was a absolute amalgamation of the best of the late-2000s Premier League: pace, intensity, claret and thunder, but aswell a amount of the best players in the world.
Cesc Fabregas, durably accustomed as Arsenal’s amulet at alone 21 years of age, robs Mascherano, but afresh attending at what happens next. Compare the movement of the Gunners’ attackers to the admiration of the Liverpool defence, who abundantly abide static.
Arshavin puts the brawl into the aback of the net – and we’ll be audition affluence added of that later.
Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal (Torres, 49)
Dirk Kuyt, there, toiling abroad on the addition and afflictive a acknowledgment by arduous force of will.
But this ambition belongs to Torres and his majesty as one of the best strikers in the world, authoritative the attack attending like the simplest of tasks.
Yossi Benayoun hurdles over Fabianski to retrieve the brawl – there are still 40 account left, but it’s as if he knows what’s about to chase is traveling to be special.
Liverpool 2-1 Arsenal (Benayoun, 56)
Arsenal are pissing about at the aback and agitation afore alms the brawl to Kuyt, who shows why he was the best crammer in the alliance with a awe-inspiring cantankerous to the aback post, area Benayoun defies his breakable anatomy and Bacary Sagna’s cossack to force the brawl over the band at the Kop end.
It’s traveling to be good, this.
Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal (Arshavin, 67)
Realising this is a bold for clip and advance rather than, well…Denilson, Wenger sends on Theo Walcott, and two account afterwards Arsenal are level.
It’s not a bold defenders will attending aback on fondly, as Alvaro Arbeloa loses the brawl on the bend of the box, but Arshavin will never play this able-bodied again, and he lashes it accomplished Reina.
It’s absurd try to accommodate madness, and both abandon accept now absolutely committed to all-embracing it.
Liverpool 2-3 Arsenal (Arshavin, 70)
Fabio Aurelio is searching at the floor, Carragher is sat down afraid his head, Arshavin is shrugging his shoulders. Nobody can accept what is traveling on, how this has happened or how it’s traveling to end.
Yet afresh addition arresting absurdity presents the brawl to the Russian, who bound slams it through Pepe Reina afore demography a additional to alpha celebrating.
Liverpool 3-3 Arsenal (Torres, 72)
Anfield erupts. In the endure four years Liverpool admirers had witnessed the improvement adjoin AC Milan in Istanbul and the FA Cup final avowal adjoin West Ham, and for arduous clamor this is appropriate up there.
It’s Torres. Of advance it’s Torres. Of the abundant goalscorers to accept graced the Red shirt, peak-Torres was as acceptable as any of them.
Fabianski gets a duke to it, but the accuracy is in the way the Spaniard toys with Silvestre afore affairs the trigger.
Kuyt sprints to get the brawl back. The a lot of reliable man in the world.
Liverpool 3-4 Arsenal (Arshavin, 90)
The actuality the analyst just decides to scream “FOURRRRR!” at the afterimage of this ambition altogether sums up this game.
Walcott sprints abroad afterwards a Liverpool bend is austere – in uncannily agnate affairs to the Champions Alliance quarter-final of the antecedent year – and Arshavin shows arresting activity to action support.
Faced with the Russian, Reina al of a sudden looks like the loneliest man in the world. He’s absolutely abandoned as the brawl gets lashed accomplished him. A antic accomplishment in a antic match.
That’s got to be the game, right?
Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal (Benayoun, 90+3)
That’s not the game. What bold were we even playing? Football? Oh, right. But it’s 4-4. That’s rugby league, isn’t it?
There’s appreciably little fabricated about Benayoun’s ambition from either side. It’s hectic. It’s shambolic. It’s ridiculous. It’s not even abrupt any more.
Anyway, you apperceive what happened next. Liverpool didn’t win the alliance and Arsenal accomplished fourth. But football isn’t consistently about results. It’s about getting fabricated to feel captivated and agitated and aghast and beat all at once.
There accept been few greater examples than Anfield on April 21, 2009.