Man Utd edge closer to Premier League crown as Liverpool equalise in 12th minute of stoppage time
ARSENAL (1) vs LIVERPOOL (1)
ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger admits his side’s Premier League title dream may be over after Dirk Kuyt’s 102nd-minute penalty snatched the most dramatic of draws for battling Liverpool.
An injury-time spot-kick of their own from Robin van Persie looked to have earned the nervy Gunners a first win in three home league games and the points needed to keep leaders Manchester United in sight.
That was in the 98th minute, but incredibly there was still time for Emmanuel Eboue to be penalised for a challenge on Lucas Leiva, allowing Kuyt to equalise with the last kick of the game.
Wenger protested against referee Andre Marriner’s decision and the additional four minutes of stoppage time but did not deny that, six points adrift with six games to play, Arsenal’s title hopes lie in tatters.
“I don’t know, we dropped two points today. It was a difficult game against a Liverpool team who defended a lot and basically only defended,” said Wenger.
“We will have to give everything until the last game of the season and see if it is our year or not. We have been badly done, that’s what you can say, in the last three home games.”
Wenger and opposite number Kenny Dalglish traded heated words on the final whistle, but the Liverpool boss played down the touchline spat.
“I’d rather not repeat what was said,” Dalglish explained. “I don’t know why a conversation between two managers on the bench is relevant after a game like that. It’s not worth the time of day.”
Arsenal’s largest shareholder Stan Kroenke was in the directors’ box to watch his first game since taking control of the club last week, but saw little of note until the frantic closing stages.
Gunners defender Laurent Koscielny headed against the bar in the first half and Van Persie forced a sharp point-blank save from Pepe Reina, while Luis Suarez tested Wojciech Szczesny from distance for the visitors.
Lengthy stoppages for injuries to Liverpool duo Jamie Carragher and Andy Carroll made for an extraordinarily long injury time, and Arsenal were first to benefit when Marriner penalised a Jay Spearing tackle on Cesc Fabregas.
But no sooner had Van Persie slotted the opener than Lucas tumbled under a sprawling Eboue and Kuyt stepped up to drive another nail into the coffin of Arsenal’s season.
KEY MOMENTS | GUNDONE
Stan Kroenke, who last week took control of Arsenal, paid a rare visit to Emirates Stadium but would not have been hugely excited by the play on offer from either side for much of the opening 90 minutes
98 mins: The drama erupted once the game went into stoppage time, however, Robin van Persie scoring what looked like being the winning penalty after Jay Spearing had tripped Gunners captain Cesc Fabregas in the box
102 mins: Yet there was to be another twist. Lucas Leiva went down under a challenge from Emmanuel Eboue in the Arsenal penalty area and Dirk Kuyt scored from the spot, to Arsene Wenger’s intense frustration