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Arshavin torments Benitez again

December 13, 2009

Liverpool's Glen Johnson diverts Samir Nasri's cross into his own net

Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal

Kuyt 41 Johnson (og) 50
Arshavin 58

A half-time dressing room roasting from Arsene Wenger inspired Arsenal to victory over Liverpool at Anfield.

The defeat, Liverpool’s sixth this term, means the Reds and their floundering manager Rafa Benitez remain in seventh place in the Premier League, 13 points adrift of leaders Chelsea. Arsenal, meanwhile, climb to third.

Andrey Arshavin, scorer of four goals in the corresponding fixture at the end of last season, continued his incredible scoring record on Merseyside, lashing home the winner from the edge of the penalty area.

Less than ten minutes earlier, Glen Johnson’s comical own goal had cancelled out Dirk Kuyt’s scrambled first-half opener.

Liverpool dominated the opening period, and should have gone in at the break with more to show for it. Fernando Torres uncharacteristically scuffed a golden chance, while William Gallas was fortunate not to concede a penalty when he upended Steven Gerrard in the area.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger unleashed a furious tirade at half-time. “The boss screamed,” said captain Cesc Fabregas. “I’ve never seen him like that before. He was really disappointed in the first half and said we didn’t deserve to wear the Arsenal shirt if we played like that. I think he was right but in the second half we turned it round.”

Wenger, however, refused to divulge the details of his team talk. “I don’t like to talk about that,” he said. “I’ll keep that in the dressing room.”

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez all but conceded his side’s title challenge is over. “We will keep going,” he said. “We have another important game on Wednesday, we have some players coming back. Top four is the same target, it’s a long way but we need to keep going.”

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