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Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal: Player ratings

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Martin Skrtel scored a stoppage-time header to help 10-man Liverpool salvage a dramatic 2-2 draw against Arsenal at Anfield.

Philippe Coutinho put the home side 1-0 ahead minutes before half-time with a fine finish, but Arsenal equalised moments later through makeshift centre-back Mathieu Debuchy’s header.

Olivier Giroud scored his third goal in two matches after the break, which appeared to be the winning goal - even more so after substitute Fabio Borini was shown a red card late on  - but Skrtel popped up to help alleviate the pressure on under-fire manager Brendan Rodgers.

This was a far from convincing performance from either side, although Liverpool dominated almost the entire first half and deservedly took the lead on the stroke of half time thanks to Brazilian midfielder Coutinho, who expertly shifted onto his right foot before arrowing his shot into the bottom corner of the net after receiving a neat pass from Jordan Henderson.

Arsenal had struggled to cope with Liverpool’s 3-4-3 system, but responded immediately through an unlikely source. A free-kick by Alexis Sanchez was poorly defended by the hosts, and the ball eventually landed to Debuchy, who rose highest to beat Skrtel in the air and send the ball into the Liverpool net past Brad Jones.

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It was the moment of good fortune that Arsenal and their under-fire manager Wenger so desperately needed. While their first-half performance wasn’t as catastrophic as last season’s opening 45 minutes at Anfield - the Gunners were thrashed 5-1 back in February - there was still plenty for Wenger to feel anxious about.

Debuchy’s equaliser changed Wenger’s half-time team talk and Arsenal emerged from the half-time interval on the front foot.

However, their momentum was thwarted by a lengthy stoppage caused by a head injury to Skrtel, who soldiered on after Giroud accidentally stood on him.

Steven Gerrard went close to restoring Liverpool’s lead after Raheem Sterling had rounded Wojciech Szczesny - with the aid of his hand - but the Reds’ skipper can only head over the crossbar from the edge of the box.

Giroud goal

And it proved a costly miss, because minutes later Arsenal had taken the lead through Giroud, who slammed Santi Cazorla’s cut-back through the legs of the helpless Jones.

Rather than allowing their heads to drop, though, Liverpool finished strongly and went agonisingly close to equalising through Lucas, whose sliced shot whistled past Szczesny’s far post.

Arsenal’s first-choice goalkeeper than produced a fine save from substitute Borini to keep the Gunners’ one-goal lead in tact - temporarily, at least.

Nine minutes of stoppage time were added, during which time Borini was shown a foolish red card. But his Liverpool teammates showed enough character to find the equaliser, which arrived courtesy of Skrtel.

Player Ratings

Liverpool

Brad Jones - 5.5

Kolo Toure - 6.5

Martin Skrtel - 7

Mamadou Sakho - 6.5

Lucas Leiva - 6.5

Jordan Henderson - 7

Lazar Markovic - 7

Philippe Coutinho - 8

Steven Gerrard - 7

Adam Lallana - 6

Raheem Sterling - 7.5

Subs

Fabio Borini - 3

Rickie Lambert - 6

Arsenal

Wojciech Szczesny - 7

Mathieu Debuchy - 7.5

Per Mertesacker - 6.5

Calum Chambers - 7

Kieran Gibbs - 7

Mathieu Flamini - 5.5

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - 7

Santi Cazorla - 7

Alexis Sanchez - 6.5

Olivier Giroud - 7.5

Danny Welbeck - 6

Subs

Francis Coquelin - 6

Joel Campbell - N/A

Nacho Monreal - N/A

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Topics:
Martin Skrtel
Liverpool
Arsenal
Premier League
Football

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