Van Persie stars for Arsenal
Liverpool - Robin van Persie delivered a huge
blow to Liverpool's Champions League prospects as Arsenal secured a
dramatic 2-1 win at Anfield on Saturday.
Dirk Kuyt missed a penalty for Kenny Dalglish's side before Laurent Koscielny's own goal gave the hosts the lead.
Arsenal skipper Van Persie equalised before half-time and then hit a
stunning stoppage time winner - his 31st in all competitions - to secure
a fourth straight league win for the Gunners.
home defeat of the campaign leaves them 10 points adrift of
fourth-placed Arsenal and in need of a miracle to qualify for the
On a bitterly frustrating day for the new League Cup winners, Liverpool twice hit the woodwork.
captain Steven Gerrard showed off the club's first silverware for six
years before kick-off when he paraded the League Cup, secured after a
penalty shoot-out win over Cardiff last Sunday, in front of a sell-out
Unfortunately for home fans, that was the last they saw of Gerrard.
inspirational midfielder's hamstring injury while on England duty
against the Netherlands in midweek meant he was unable to take part in a
match his team had to win to stay in contention for a Champions League
spot next season.
Victory at Wembley last week guaranteed the club
a place in next season's Europa League but Dalglish wants his side to
end the season with a flourish and secure a return to the Champions
League stage for the first time since 2009.
Arsenal arrived on
Merseyside with confidence sky high following their incredible 5-2 north
London derby win over Tottenham, having trailed 2-0.
Wenger's side started from where they finished against Spurs as Pepe
Reina was forced to produce a fine save to prevent Theo Walcott from
firing the visitors into an eighth minute lead following Mikel Arteta's
Liverpool responded with Suarez almost capitalising
on an error by Koscielny before the Uruguay striker earned his side an
18th minute penalty after being fouled by Arsenal keeper Wojciech
But Szczesny, who escaped a yellow card, made amends by
keeping out Kuyt's spot kick before the Polish keeper produced a second
stop to deny the Dutchman's follow-up.
Liverpool had failed to
score in their previous two Premier League home games but they took a
23rd minute lead when Koscielny sliced Jordan Henderson's low cross from
the right into his own net at the near post.
Suarez was denied
by the woodwork before Arsenal conjured up an equaliser out of nothing
in the 31st minute after sloppy defending by the hosts.
A fine cross by Bacary Sagna found Van Persie who nodded home from five yards out.
drama continued as Suarez was denied by another fine Szczesny save
after a brilliant solo run by the former Ajax man, while Kuyt hit the
woodwork on the stroke of half-time after connecting with Charlie Adam's
cross from the left.
Arsenal's cause was not helped by the
untimely departure of midfielder Arteta on a stretcher in the 53rd
minute after running into Jordan Henderson.
Defender Martin Kelly,
starting in place of the injured Glen Johnson, missed a glorious chance
from inside the six-yard to earn Liverpool victory after Henderson
delivered a fine 70th minute cross into the six-yard area.
At the other end, Reina's outstretched leg prevented Walcott from winning it for Arsenal.
entertaining match looked set to end in stalemate before Van Persie
unleashed a terrific volley from an acute angle following a great ball
from Alex Song deep into eight minutes of stoppage time.