Arsenal and Liverpool both played their part in a frantic and exciting game that somehow ended up goalless. Petr Cech’s close-range stop from Christian Benteke and a sprawling save from a curling Philippe Coutinho shot meant both sides went home with a point.
Aaron Ramsey had a goal disallowed for offside, despite appearing to be narrowly onside, and Coutinho should have done better with a clear chance from the centre of the box, but could only direct his effort onto the bar.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s frustration at the disallowed was evident in the post match interview, as he argued: “We scored a regular goal that was disallowed. Like it or don’t like it, it is a fact.”
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Before the match Rodgers had said to the BBC “that you don't need to dominate the ball, but you [do need to] dominate the space”, a statement that rang true by the end of the game, as only wasteful finishing prevented Liverpool from gaining an impressive victory.
Liverpool flooded the centre of the park, with Emre Can, Lucas Leiva, and their captain for the evening James Milner forming a three-man midfield that consistently thwarted Arsenal’s playmakers.
The set-up of Rodgers’ team clearly highlighted his emphasis on defensive solidity, and Liverpool therefore largely played on the counter-attack, only managing 34 percent of possession.
Benteke played an important role in providing a focal point up front, with his ability to hold the ball up providing an essential outlet ball to a defence often pinned down by an Arsenal side that dominated possession in the second half.
Arsenal’s pressure in the second half, with 66 percent of possession, did not prove telling, as Simon Mignolet matched the brilliance of Petr Cech’s saves with a fine stop from a powerful Olivier Giroud shot.
Both sides ultimately will be content with a point in a game that could have left either side as victors.
But Liverpool will certainly be the happier. Playing away from home, they remained defensively strong, and provided glimpses of fluidity in their attacking play that had been so desperately lacking in their opening two games of the season.
Who will be most happy with the result? Let us know below!
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