Result: Liverpool 2 – 2 Arsenal
Competition: Premier League
Date: 9 April 2023
Arsenal: Ramsdale, White, Holding, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Partey, Xhaka, Odegaard, Saka, Martinelli, Jesus
Subs: Turner, Tierney, Walters, Kiwior, Jorginho, Smith Rowe, Vieira, Nelson, Trossard
Arsenal scrapped their way to a draw at Anfield in a pulsating match. The Gunners looked to cruise with first half goals by Martinelli and Jesus. However, Liverpool came back in the first half through Salah and gained a foothold of the game from here on end.
Firmino equalised late on in the second half though Arsenal had Ramsdale to thank for multiple world class saves to earn Arsenal a point away to Liverpool.
Arsenal put out their best 11 for the big game against Liverpool. The backline picked itself with Ben White on the right, inverted wingback Zinchenko on the left, anchored by Holding and Gabriel.
As expected, the trio of Partey, Odegaard and Xhaka looked to dominate the centre. Jesus lead the line, flanked by Martinelli and Saka.
Arsenal sought to keep the lively Anfield crowd quiet from the off. Seeing Martinelli on that teamsheet against Alexander-Arnold definitely gave the opposition jitters and it only took a few seconds for the winger to torment his opponent.
He jinked past the defender in the box but couldn’t find a teammate with his cutback. Arsenal also did a good job disrupting the Liverpool attacks and it didn’t take long for them to turn a disruptive moment into a shot on goal.
A break down the right had Saka feeding Odegaard in the middle. The captain attempted to return the pass through for Saka but the ball deflected into the path of Martinelli who poked the ball past Alisson for the first goal. 0-1 to Arsenal
Arsenal stayed resolute when defending against the home side. Holding and Gabriel were imperious in the air and were quick on their feet to jockey the quick feet of Salah, Jota Gakpo wide. Liverpool threatened briefly with a dangerous strike across goal but it was Jesus who made his mark next.
Xhaka lofted a ball in behind for Martinelli. The winger crossed in for Jesus who jumped past the static Van Dijk and Konate to make it 0-2 Arsenal.
The crowd was silenced by the goal but it took a scuffle between Xhaka and Alexander-Arnold for emotions to run high again in the stadium. The crowd and the home team were lifted and Liverpool equalised. Jones’s clever back heel played in Jota who cut back for Henderson. Henderson couldn’t connect well but the ball spun towards the far post for Salah to tap in. 1-2 Liverpool
The home side had the momentum and energy and were threatening to find an equaliser. The Gunners were relieved to have heard the whistle go for half time.
Coming out of the break, Liverpool continued their dominance in possession. They played with zip and intensity and Arsenal couldn’t keep the ball long enough to take the sting out of the game.
Then came the pivotal moment. Jota looked to have won a penalty after being tripped by Holding. It looked soft but considering this was Anfield, the ref pointed to the spot. It was a golden chance for Salah to equal the score but he could only shoot wide. The Egyptian had another attempt just a few minutes later but Ramsdale was more than equal to his attempt for the far post.
Arsenal just couldn’t wrestle momentum back and defended deep, doing just enough to repel wave after wave of attack from the home team with Holding, Gabriel and Partey alert to intercept.
Jesus, despite being constantly manhandled by Konate, did a great job in holding up play and releasing Martinelli for a counter. His Liverpool counterpart, Nunez, however, found Ramsdale to be his equal during a break.
After defending against a torrent of Liverpool attacks, the Gunners relented on the 87th minute. Alexandre-Arnold found some space down our left, nutmegged Zinchenko to cross for substitute Firmino to head in for the equaliser. 2-2 Liverpool
The drama wasn’t ending there. The Gunners had Ramsdale to thank for two exquisite saves, one from a deflected Salah shot and the other from a close Konate finish off the line.
The Arsenal had one more chance to win with a counter attack but they just couldn’t find the final pass for Saka.
Overall, Arsenal should have seen it as a point earned, especially after being on the backfoot for most of the game.