Liverpool v Arsenal classics: We look at five recent Premier League thrillers at Anfield between the rivals
By Peter Smith
Last Updated: 20/12/14 8:22pm
Liverpool v Arsenal is a fixture steeped in history and with the pressure on both bosses ahead of their Super Sunday clash, this weekend’s meeting could be another one to remember.
The 1989 title decider at Anfield, which saw Michael Thomas snatch the crown for Arsenal in injury time, is perhaps the most famous Liverpool v Arsenal contest of all.
But Liverpool’s home ground has also hosted thrilling cup ties between the pair in recent years; Arsenal’s 6-3 win in the League Cup in 2007 and the Reds’ 4-2 (5-3 on aggregate) Champions League quarter-final success the following season stand out.
Here we look at five great recent Premier League matches between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield.
Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal - February 2014
Arsenal arrived at Anfield as Premier League leaders but were blown away in 20 minutes by a Martin Skrtel double and efforts from Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge. Sterling added his second of the match after the break before Mikel Arteta restored some pride for the shell-shocked visitors from the penalty spot.
Arsene Wenger said his side had “a lot of answers to find” after the hammering which allowed Chelsea to knock them off the top of the table. However, despite exacting revenge with an FA Cup win over Liverpool a week later, Arsenal slipped off the pace and eventually finished fourth, whilst Brendan Rodgers’ men went on to win their next 10 league games and just miss out on the title.
Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal - April 2009
Andrey Arshavin joined Arsenal in January 2009 tipped to do great things. While the Russian’s stay in north London was hardly a roaring success, he showed how destructive he can be in this eight-goal thriller. Despite netting just twice since signing for Wenger’s side, Arshavin bagged all four at Anfield in April 2009.
Fernando Torres responded to his opener before Yossi Benayoun put the Reds ahead but two in three second-half minutes from Arshavin swung the momentum Arsenal’s way. Torres then levelled again before Benayoun cancelled out Arshavin’s own injury-time effort at the death to share the spoils. The result moved Liverpool back to the top of the Premier League but Manchester United overhauled their rivals by winning their two games in hand to take the title and deny Rafael Benitez’s men.
Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal - December 2001
Arsenal ended a nine-season wait for a Premier League win at Anfield in December 2001 – but they had to do it the hard way. Giovanni van Bronckhorst was controversially sent off after just 35 minutes when ref Paul Durkin deemed him to have dived and dished out a second yellow card. However, Thierry Henry put Wenger’s men ahead from the penalty spot after Jerzy Dudek had brought down Freddie Ljungberg – but escaped a red himself – and the Gunners went two clear when the Swede slotted in Robert Pires’ centre.
Liverpool struck back three minutes later through Jari Litmanen but, despite a late onslaught led by Partick Berger, the hosts were unable to find an equaliser. Arsenal leapfrogged Liverpool into second with the win and went on to beat the Reds to the title by seven points – and seal their second league and cup double under Arsene Wenger.
Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal - October 2003
There are a handful of matches which could easily have seen Arsenal’s Invincible season come undone – and this victory over Liverpool was one of them. The Gunners went into the game without the injured Patrick Vieira and were under the cosh from the first whistle. Harry Kewell deservedly put the hosts ahead on 13 minutes before he and Michael Owen spurned chances to double the lead. Liverpool paid for that wastefulness as Arsenal fortuitously got back on level terms when Robert Pires’ free-kick deflected in off Sami Hyypia. The visitors improved after the break and went ahead through a fine Pires effort in the second-half and held on to clinch all three points – and stay on track for an unbeaten season.
With Arsenal’s incredible feat only in its infancy in October 2003, however, headlines focused on a second-half injury to Owen, which ruled him out of England’s final Euro 2004 qualifier in Turkey. Wayne Rooney stepped in for the Liverpool man and helped his country book their spot at the Portugal showpiece the following summer – when Arsenal fans were basking in the glory of the Invincibles’ achievement.
Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal - December 2000
Gerard Houllier had tried to play down Liverpool’s title chances before Arsenal’s arrival at Anfield in December 2000. However, after beating Premier League leaders Manchester United earlier in the week, Liverpool hammered second-placed Arsenal to move to within two points of the Gunners and ignite their championship aspirations.
Arsenal went into the contest minus captain Tony Adams and ‘keeper David Seaman, but there was little either could have done to stop 20-year-old Steven Gerrard’s stunning opener. Both sides wasted good chances before the break before Michael Owen and Nick Barmby put the game beyond Arsenal’s reach in the second half and sub Robbie Fowler added gloss in injury time. Liverpool’s title hopes eventually faded away but they enjoyed a fine season, winning a treble of trophies – the League Cup, UEFA Cup and FA Cup.
Watch Liverpool v Arsenal live on Sky Sports 1 HD on Sunday from 3.30pm.