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Thursday, 14 January 2016

Live Premier League: Liverpool host Arsenal on a busy day of action

Live Premier League: Liverpool host Arsenal on a busy day of action


JOE Allen has scored a 90th-minute equaliser for Liverpool in a chaotic 3-3 draw against Arsenal, whose English Premier League lead was wiped out on Wednesday.

After four goals in 15 minutes in an error-strewn but thrilling first half, it looked like Olivier Giroud’s excellent solo goal in the 55th minute would preserve Arsenal’s two-point advantage at the top.

But two substitutes combined for Liverpool’s equaliser as snow fell at Anfield, with Christian Benteke heading a long ball back across the penalty area for Allen to meet with a first-time shot into the bottom corner.

With eyes bulging and his teeth gritted, Liverpool manager Juegen Klopp sprinted along the touchline, gave a double fist pump and furiously beat his chest.

Klopp’s celebration to greet his team’s last-gasp equalizer was as wild as the game itself.

“People will talk about this game,” Klopp said. “It’s not easy to forget.”

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An end-to-end match that started in the rain and climaxed in the snow got a fitting conclusion when substitute Joe Allen steered home a 90th-minute volley to salvage Liverpool a point that its strong finish probably deserved.

Four goals were scored in 15 frantic minutes in the first half, with Roberto Firmino twice giving Liverpool the lead only for Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud to bring Arsenal level.

MATCH CENTRES: Stats, line-ups, blow-by-blow updates

When Giroud span his marker with a wonderful Cruyff turn and curled home a finish in the 55th minute, it looked as if Arsenal would be preserving its two-point lead at the top of the Premier League. Allen’s goal, however, wiped out the visitors’ advantage and left them tied for points with Leicester after 21 games.

“Hopefully, we are not going to have to regret this goal at the end of the championship,” Giroud said.

A tweet from Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil summed up one of the games of the season: “There was no time to blink during the match.”

It was chaotic at times, especially Liverpool’s axis of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and central defenders Kolo Toure and Mamadou Sakho that was all over the place in the first half. Mignolet might have been at fault for both of Arsenal’s first-half goals, and the Belgian received ironic cheers at one stage in the first half when he collected the weakest of shots.

Arsene Wenger Manager of Arsenal reacts after Liverpool's third goal.Source: Getty Images

Liverpool started at a furious pace and took a 10th-minute lead when Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech parried Emre Can’s fierce, angled shot straight out to Firmino. The Brazil forward controlled and shot left-footed through the legs of Laurent Koscielny and past an unsighted Cech.

Arsenal’s response was rapid as Joel Campbell slipped a perfectly-weighted pass through to Ramsey, who drove a low finish past Mignolet at his near post in the 14th.

Firmino grabbed the third - and best - goal in a thrilling nine-minute span when he curled a shot from 25 meters beyond Cech’s grasp.

The defending couldn’t really be blamed there, but fingers will be pointed at Mignolet and his defenders for Giroud’s first goal, the striker getting the faintest of touches on Ramsey’s left-wing corner to the near post, which wasn’t guarded by a Liverpool player. Mignolet scrambled across his line but couldn’t keep the ball out.

Mignolet had no chance with Giroud’s classy second. The France international took a short pass from Campbell, beat Toure with a turn, and bent a low shot into the bottom corner from 10 meters.

With Liverpool’s passing becoming ragged, Arsenal grew in confidence but still looked vulnerable at the back, especially to crosses from the wings.

Olivier Giroud of Arsenal celebrates scoring his team's third goal.Source: Getty Images

Klopp threw on Christian Benteke, then Allen, and then defender Steven Caulker - signed to ease Liverpool’s injury woes at center back - as an emergency striker.

From one of many high balls into the box, Benteke leapt highest and headed the ball across for Allen to volley home.

“It’s an explosion of goals,” Klopp said, “but at the final whistle you cannot ignore there were problems.”

Liverpool is in ninth place but only five points off the Champions League

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