Despite an impressive first half which saw Liverpool take the lead, a Glen Johnson own goal and Andrey Arshavin goal ensured Arsenal left Anfield with all 3 points.
Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres both started for the reds for the first time in 12 matches, and the increase in performance was notable.
Torres should have scored when a counter attack from Liverpool set him free, but he fired straight at the Arsenal keeper. Moments later Steven Gerrard was brought down in the box by Gallas. The referee decided against the penalty.
Liverpool continued to dominate the first half, Johnson working a couple of opportunites. Eventually Dirk Kuyt, who spent the game as an anonymous figure, was on hand to mop up a poorly cleared free kick and fire the reds in to a deserved half time lead.
Within 5 minutes of the re-start Liverpool were stung when a cross was deflected in to the path of Glen Johnson who couldn’t remove his foot in time. The ball came off his leg, wrong footing Reina and Arsenal had got themselves a fortunate equaliser.
8 minutes later, Arshavin, the scourge of Liverpool who netted 4 times in last years 4-4 draw, fired home from close range to put Arsenal in to the lead.
Liverpool failed to match their first half performance with some sloppy play in the second half. Mascherano and Kuyt were removed, with Aquilani and Ngog replacing them – but the reds more attacking line up were even less effective at controlling the game.
The first half promised so much but the own goal changed the game. Liverpool were as toothless in the second half as they were impressive in the first half.
A real chance to close the gap on the leaders has gone this weekend. The reds face Wigan at Anfield on Wednesday looking for a significant improvement in fortune and performance.
Dirk Kuyt’s goal
Post Match Comments
“It is difficult to explain when you play so well in first half. We were on top of them. We had the chance for Torres, the goal and the penalty that was not given.
“Then we started the second half with an own goal and then a second goal went in and everything changed. You could see that the confidence went down. We gave the ball away in the second half which was the opposite to the first when we were controlling things.
“We’ve had too many problems this year and when you have another one, like the own goal, sometimes it is hard to keep the confidence high. We have to be ready and start training tomorrow. We need to show character and play at the same level we played at in the first half, against Wigan.
“The fans and the players are disappointed. We have to start working with the players and do things in the right way. Some players are coming back and they need to improve their match fitness. The positive is the first-half, the negative is the lack of confidence we showed in the second half.”
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson (Degen 82), Carragher, Agger, Aurelio, Mascherano (Aquilani 65), Lucas, Kuyt, Gerrard, Benayoun (Ngog 79), Torres.
Subs: Cavalieri, Insua, Skrtel, Dossena.
Yellow: Aurelio, Leiva, Mascherano
Goals: Kuyt 41′
Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Traore (Silvestre 87), Fabregas, Song Billong, Denilson, Walcott (Diaby 70), Arshavin (Ramsey 92), Nasri.
Subs: Fabianski, Eduardo, Vela, Wilshere.
Yellow: Fabregas, Denilson, Arshavin
Goals: Johnson og 50′, Arshavin 58′
Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)
Our man of the match
Despite some decent first half performances, most heads went down second half. Javier Mascherano