Thursday, 6 February 2014

Five Favourite Wins Against - Arsenal at Anfield

Continuing the series where I look back at my five favourite wins by Liverpool against their upcoming opponents.  This weekend Liverpool are up against league leaders Arsenal at Anfield.  Here are my five favourite wins from past encounters.

This series has concentrated solely on League encounters and generally carries a reasonable amount of games from the late 1970’s and 1980’s.  However, in this particular edition I haven’t included any of those wins.  This is mainly because the games I have included were either bigger victories, or wins during a period when Arsenal were a more dominant side in the league than Liverpool.

28th August 1994
LIVERPOOL   (3)   3   (Fowler 26, 29, 31)
ARSENAL   (0)   0  

LIVERPOOL: James; Jones, Nicol, Ruddock, Bjornebye; McManaman, Redknapp, Molby (Thomas), Barnes; Rush, Fowler

ARSENAL: Seaman; Dixon, Adams, Keown, Winterburn; Jensen (Linighan), Schwarz, Merson (Davis); Campbell, Wright, Smith

This game was all about one man – Robbie Fowler.  He scored one of the fastest hat-tricks in top-flight football and still the fastest in Premier League history.

This was the second game of the 1994-95 season and Liverpool had begun with a bang by thumping Crystal Palace 6-1 in their opening day fixture.  Fowler, then 19 years of age, only scored one in that match but it didn’t take him long to make his mark on this.  Arsenal had beaten Manchester City, 3-0 on the opening day but then lost 0-1 at Leeds.

Midway through the first half and Liverpool had a free-kick on the right side of midfield, but Arsenal failed to clear it as the ball hit Rush and fell to Fowler who instinctively fired a left-foot shot past Seaman.  Within minutes Liverpool attacked again as McManaman surged forward through the middle.  As he reached the 18 yard box he played the ball to his left where Fowler took a touch and then fired a left-foot shot through Lee Dixon’s legs and across Seaman in for goal number 2.  Two minutes later John Barnes chipped the ball forward from left wing for Fowler to get ahead of Adams.  As he got into the area, Seaman came out and both he and Keown managed to block the shot but the ball ran past the keeper, and as Fowler had kept on going he just calmly clipped the ball in with his right foot from the tightest of angles for a quite remarkable hat-trick.  Timed at 4 minutes 33 seconds.

It wasn’t the fastest hat-trick in England’s top-flight as Graham Leggat scored three goals in three minutes for Blackburn against Fulham on Boxing Day 1963, but no one has been able to better it in the Premier League.

It was Fowler’s 4th hat-trick of his short career by that stage, and it meant the game was over as a contest after it.  Liverpool ended the season in 4th as Kenny Dalglish guided Blackburn to the title.  Liverpool picked up the League Cup.  Arsenal had a poor season finishing down in 12th.

23rd December 1995
LIVERPOOL   (1)   3   (Fowler 40, 59, 78)
ARSENAL   (1)   1   (Wright pen, 8)

LIVERPOOL: James; McAteer, Wright, Scales, Harkness, Jones; McManaman, Thomas, Barnes; Collymore, Fowler

ARSENAL: Seaman; Dixon, Keown, Linighan, Winterburn; Parlour (Hartson), Platt, Jensen, Helder (Marshall); Wright, Merson

As Christmas 1995 approached Liverpool had just beaten Manchester United 2-0 thanks to two goals from Robbie Fowler, and now Arsenal were the visitors with memories still fresh of the mauling they’d had from the Toxteth-terror on their last visit.  Liverpool had ended a 5-game run without a win by beating Bolton and United.  Arsenal had drawn their last 4 matches.  The two sides were separated only on goal difference in the table.

Eight minutes into the game and Mark Wright was adjudged to have nudged Ian Wright and the Arsenal striker stepped up to convert the penalty.  As the half reached a conclusion McManaman threaded the ball through to Collymore.  He laid it on for Fowler who shot past Seaman to level things up.  In the second half it was all Liverpool and on the hour Mark Wright’s free-kick was flicked on by Collymore and Fowler raced onto the loose ball and his finish was again clinical, to put the home side in front. 

Fowler had another chance to score a few minutes later but put his shot over the bar.  But with 12 minutes to go, Collymore’s cross was headed in by Fowler, although Seaman looked as if he might save it, but in the end it trickled over the line for yet another Fowler hat-trick.

Liverpool finished 3rd in the table with Arsenal back in 5th.

6th May 1998
LIVERPOOL   (3)   4   (Ince 28, 30, Owen 40, Leonhardsen 87)
ARSENAL   (0)   0

LIVERPOOL: Friedel; McAteer (Thomas), Babb, Harkness, Bjornebye; Leonhardsen, Carragher, Ince; McManaman, Riedle (Murphy), Owen
ARSENAL: Manninger; Dixon, Bould, Upson, Grimandi; Parlour (Vieira), Platt, Hughes, Boa Morte; Wright (Anelka), Wreh (Mendez)

When Arsenal arrived on Merseyside in 1998 they were already crowned Champions.  A 4-0 win over Everton had secured the title, but Liverpool still had plenty to play for as they wanted to confirm a 3rd place finish.

28 minutes in and the ball ran loose in midfield for McManaman to pick up and gallop towards the Arsenal goal.  He laid the ball off to his right where McAteer scuffed his cross and the ball fell to Owen who tried to weave his way through the defence.  As he couldn’t keep control of the ball, Ince then pounced to fire it into the far corner and give the home side the lead.

Two minutes later Bjornebye’s left wing free-kick was played short for Leonhardsen to fire a low shot at goal.  Manninger got down to stop the shot but could only parry it to where McManaman knocked it back across goal and Ince finally scrambled it over the line after Owen couldn’t.  Two goals in two minutes for both Ince and Liverpool.  Then with five minutes of the first half remaining Liverpool forced a series of corners.  McManaman took the one from the right and it was headed down to the back post where Owen was back-peddling and he hooked his foot round the shot and it squirmed in past the hapless Manninger.  It was Owen’s 23rd of the season and a comfortable lead to take into the break.  They almost added to it just before half-time when Matthew Upson’s clumsy challenge brought McManaman down in the box but Owen’s penalty kick was saved by Manninger.

The second half was merely a formality as neither side could add to the goal tally, even though Arsenal were defending an 18-match unbeaten run.  With three minutes to go Bjornebye’s left wing cross was nodded down by Riedle and Leonhardsen fired a shot into the roof of the net to complete the win for Liverpool.

Liverpool finished 3rd in the table with Arsenal finishing as Champions.

23rd December 2000
LIVERPOOL   (1)   4   (Gerrard 11, Owen 61, Barmby 70, Fowler 90)
ARSENAL   (0)   0   

LIVERPOOL: Westerveld; Babbel, Hyypia, Henchoz, Carragher, Traore; Smicer (Barmby), Gerrard, Hamann; Owen, Heskey (Meijer)

ARSENAL: Manninger; Dixon, Keown, Luzhny (Pires), Silvinho; Parlour, Grimandi, Vieira, Ljungberg (Wiltord); Henry, Bergkamp (Kanu)

Liverpool were fresh from their victory at Old Trafford thanks to a Danny Murphy goal and Gerard Houllier named an unchanged side.  Arsenal had Bergkamp and Vieira back after their draw in the North London derby.  At the time, Arsenal were in 2nd place, 5pts behind Man Utd, with Liverpool in 5th place a further 5pts back.

The home side were in front on 11 minutes as Vieira’s header failed to get much distance and Steven Gerrard struck a low, fierce shot past Manninger.  Arsenal came back almost straight away but Henry was unable to equalise.  Bergkamp should’ve scored right on half-time but miscued his shot.

In the second half Arsenal seemed the more likely to score but on the hour Manninger failed to hold onto Heskey’s shot and Michael Owen was on hand to scramble the ball over the line.  Ten minutes later, substitute Smicer put Barmby through and he clipped the ball over the Arsenal keeper for a 3-0 lead.  Houllier then brought Fowler on for Owen and right on 90 minutes he beats the advancing Manninger to round off the scoring. 

Liverpool finished 3rd in the League with Arsenal 2nd.  Liverpool had a great season in the cups, winning the UEFA Cup, the League Cup and the FA Cup, beating Arsenal in the Final.

31st March 2007
LIVERPOOL   (2)   4   (Crouch 4, 35, 82, Agger 60)
ARSENAL   (0)   1   (Gallas 73)

LIVERPOOL: Reina; Arbeloa, Carragher, Agger, Aurelio; Pennant, Gerrard (Kuyt), Mascherano (Riise), Alonso, Gonzalez (Zenden); Crouch

ARSENAL: Lehmann; Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Eboue (Hoyte); Diaby (Rosicky), Fabregas, Baptista (Ljungberg), Hleb; Denilson, Adebayor

Arsenal had won twice at Anfield during this season and arrived 1pt ahead of their hosts with a game in hand.  The season was into the final quarter and both teams also had European commitments to look forward to.

Liverpool were first out of the blocks and inside the opening 5 minutes, Arbeloa and Pennant combined on the right and Arbeloa’s ball into the area was turned in at the near post by Peter Crouch.  Crouch could’ve had a second soon after but pulled his shot wide after giving Clichy the slip.  But with 10 minutes of the half remaining he rose highest to head home Aurelio’s cross from the left.

Arsenal came closest to scoring when Adebayor hit the post, but then a free-kick on the right wing curled in left-footed by Alonso was headed in at the near post by Agger.  Adebayor then went close again as Reina tipped the ball onto the post, but the Spaniard was beaten when Gallas turned the ball in at the far post from a right-wing corner.  By this time, Arsenal were second best and this was little more than a consolation goal.  Ten minutes later Crouch completed his hat-trick when Pennant’s ball into the area saw Crouch beat Gallas and tuck the ball past Lehmann.  It was the perfect hat-trick, one with his right, one with his left and one with his head.

Liverpool stayed ahead of Arsenal to finish 3rd with the Gunners in 4th.  Liverpool also reached the Champions League Final where they lost to AC Milan.

This result remains Liverpool’s last League win against Arsenal at Anfield.

HEAD TO HEAD at Anfield

Matches: 96
Liverpool win: 52
Arsenal: 26
Draws: 18

Liverpool goals: 185
Arsenal goals: 112

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