Football

Joe Allen celebrates his equaliser for Liverpool.

Liverpool 3-3 Arsenal: Allen strike shows resilience of Reds

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For the second time in three matches, Liverpool showed a resilient and gutsy attitude.

Last Friday's 2-2 draw against Exeter City has been written off by many, given the youthful side Jurgen Klopp fielded.

Resilient attitude

The Reds had many of their chief protagonists back for Wednesday's clash against Arsenal. In the past, they've lacked character when their backs have been against the wall and crumbled under pressure.

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However, Klopp's men proved that they are blossoming as a team who do not go down without a fight.

Liverpool battled to victory in the League Cup semi-final first leg at Stoke City last week and they displayed a never-say-die attitude to salvage a point against the Gunners.

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The league-leaders have been in a rich vein of form this campaign and they usually go into sixth gear in the second-half of the season.

Arsenal have had a fair amount of success when visiting Liverpool in recent years and likely thought they were travelling back to north London once again with three points.

But an unlikely source in Joe Allen popped up in the dying stages of the match to pin back Arsene Wenger's men and snatch the Reds a vital point.

Fast start

Klopp would have urged his side to build on last week's victory at Stoke in his pre-match team talk and begin the game on the front foot.

Emre Can got out of the blocks and issued his intent for the match. From the first whistle, the 22-year-old looked to give those in gold and blue no time on the ball, getting in their face and going in hard in the tackle.

Adam Lallana could have well earned his side a penalty in the sixth minute when brought down by Laurent Koscielny. The decision would have been slightly on the harsh side, but they've been given before and will certainly be given again.

Without Philippe Coutinho, it was Roberto Firmino who stepped up. In the absence of his fellow Brazilian, Firmino would have stolen the show in any other match.

Watford v Liverpool - Premier League

Firmino steps up

The 24-year-old has had his critics since his £29 million summer move from Hoffenheim, however against Stoke he impressed and he raised the bar further yet again.

Can's pressure forced Theo Walcott to lose possession following a Liverpool corner and the former Bayer Leverkusen man only had one thought in his mind - to shoot.

His effort rippled the palms of Petr Cech, who could only parry as far as Firmino, who kept his cool to finish the rebound.

Liverpool dominated the early stages but, like so many other teams, fell sucker to a classic Arsenal attack.

The beauty of the Londoners first goal will be played on highlight reels for years to come and a perfectly-weighted pass from Joel Cambell was met by a precisely-timed run from Aaron Ramsey.

News emerged in the morning before kick-off that Simon Mignolet had been offered a new five-year deal at Anfield, but he still proved he has his frailties. As elegant as the Arsenal attack was, Mignolet was beaten at his near post and should have done much better.

Coutinho's shooting boots have been distinctly absent in recent weeks. In contrast, Firmino's were very much on fire.

Jordan Henderson's presence in the heart of midfield was very much welcomed, bringing plenty of energy to the table. His pressure forced Joel Campbell off the ball and James Milner played a neat ball to Firmino. In acres of space, he bent his shot beyond the realms of Cech in what could be a contender for goal of the season.

FBL-ENG-PR-LIVERPOOL-ARSENAL

Same old Liverpool

As good as Liverpool were on the offensive, they proved they still have major concerns keeping goals out. Crosses and corners have been their Achilles heel this term and that negative stigma continued.

Ramsey went close to scoring again but for Mamadou Sakho who headed his chance off the line. The Welshman was denied a second, but his curling corner exposed Liverpool's defensive woes; Lallana failed to clear at the front post and Olivier Giroud got in ahead of Sakho - Mignolet possibly could have done better, also.

Whereas Liverpool got out to a flyer in the first period, they were slow to react after the break.

Giroud's second indicated a striker whose confidence is through the roof. His Cruyff turn left the flat-footed Kolo Toure for dead and he converted his left-footed strike precisely into the corner. The finish was impeccable but Liverpool allowed Arsenal far too much time and space in the build-up.

The Reds did not go down without a fight, however. Martin Skrtel snatched a late equaliser for Brendan Rodgers in this fixture last term and the Northern Irishman's former protege Allen did the same for Klopp.

Liverpool v Arsenal - Premier League

Never-say-die

The eccentric 48-year-old brought on Christian Benteke to give Liverpool another option as they looked to break level. Steven Caulker was in contention to start at centre-back and likely did not think his debut would be going on up front in the dying stages.

Although Benteke hasn't had the most successful maiden campaign since his £32.5 million move from Aston Villa, the Belgium international has arguably not had his strengths played to at Anfield and proved how he can still have a future at the Reds.

Koscielny and Per Mertesacker had little aerial threat to deal with throughout the game and were unaccustomed to the height of Caulker and Benteke. A Henderson last-ditch lump into the box in the 90th minute found Benteke, who smartly spotted Allen's run into the box.

It was do or die for the ex-Swansea City midfielder who's received plenty of criticism by Kopites down the years, but he deserved to be the hero on this occasion, especially after his gutsy performance against Stoke.

Liverpool v Arsenal - Premier League

Liverpool extended their unbeaten streak at Anfield to six matches and it's once again becoming a difficult place for opponents to visit.

Manchester United make the trip to L4 on Sunday and confidence will be high in the Liverpool camp. Louis van Gaal's side have been under a significant amount of pressure this term and a victory for the Reds could see the Dutchman dismissed from his job.

How will Liverpool fare against Manchester United on Sunday? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!

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Topics:
Liverpool
Arsenal
Christian Benteke
Steven Gerrard
Premier League
Football
Joe Allen

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