Liverpool 4 Arsenal 2 — your views on an instant classic

April 8, 2008

Liverpool celebrate

For once a tie between two English sides in Europe brought out the best of the Premier League. A breathless second leg at Anfield has already been hailed as a classic after Liverpool won through 5-3 on aggregate to set up yet another semi-final against Chelsea, which will doubtless be slightly less of a classic.

Still, let’s take a bit of time to let Tuesday’s match sink in. It will be remembered by Liverpool fans as another great European night at Anfield, while Arsenal supporters will see the tie as a whole as a tale of two penalties — one turned down in London and one given in Liverpool.

We’ll have more on this on the blog tomorrow. For now, read Mike Collett’s report from Anfield here at the main site — he describes the tension on the night as almost unbearable — and send us your views on the match, the tie and the semi-final to come. Did Rafa Benitez get his tactics wrong at the start? Were Arsenal hard done by? And when was the last time you saw a European tie as good as that?

PHOTO: Steven Gerrard and Ryan Babel celebrate victory over Arsenal at Anfield, April 8, 2008. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito

18 comments

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Here’s how El Pais described the game:

“Liverpool and Arsenal glorify football,” is the headline. “The aged stadium of Anfield offered the fans another night of fantasy…”

http://www.elpais.com/articulo/deportes/ Liverpool/Arsenal/glorifican/futbol/elpe pudep/20080408elpepudep_13/Tes

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

A good game, however I truly think the wrong team. 2 Incorrect decisions. I think Mr. Wenger needs more depth to this side.

Posted by Sherif | Report as abusive

Terrific goals, great entertainment. Not sure if Liverpool deserved it, but maybe just. Rolle on Moscow!

Posted by Luc | Report as abusive

Here’s what Wenger said after the game:
“We feel everything is going against us at the moment but we’ll try to finish [the season] strongly. The dressing room is down now and it will be difficult to lift the players, especially as we feel we have been hard done by. We go home having lost a game 4-2 but that is not a reflection of what we did tonight.”
Hard not to feel a bit sorry for them, no?

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

MU forever……….

Posted by amor | Report as abusive

I dont think wenger can moan about the penalty, Babel was clearly clipped…but Kuyt did commit a foul in the first leg.
The semi-final wont be as good (probably as dull as the last two times.) Chelsea were pretty poor in beating Fenerbahce.
The only plus point for arsenal fans now is the performance of walcott..an englishman!

Posted by Mark Meadows | Report as abusive

WENGER NEEDS TO STOP MOANING LIKE A BITCH,
BUT WHO CARES WHAT WENGER THINKS
WERE IN THE SEMI’S THATS ALL THAT MATTERS HAHA..
BRING ON CHELSEA, THEN THE MANCS IN THE FINAL
COME ONNNNNNNNN !!!!!!!!!!!!!! AV IT

I’m very happy and satisfied with Liverpool’s performance and progress. Rafa got his tactics spot on. It was correct to play 4-4-2 because you expect Arsenal to score goals and you want a more attacking side to nullify Arsenal’s super offense. And I don’t think Arsenal were hard done. They had plenty of chances to put the game far beyond Liverpool’s reach but perhaps they were a little tired or jaded from too many matches. But then again, I’m a Liverpool fan and coming from me, of course it’s like that.

Probably only 2 recent European ties were better than this match; Liverpool against Olympiakos and the legendary CL final at Istanbul.

It has to be noted that Liverpool are still suffering from the shenennigans in their boardroom. The Liverpool Daily Post had a survey on whether fans want Dubai in, an overwhelming 89.2% voted YES.

Thus being pragmatic, we are still in the building stage and anything else from this q-finals onwards will be regarded as a bonus. I.E. win or lose against Chelsea doesn’t really matter. The 2nd leg being at Stamford Bridge gives a slight advantage to Chelsea. Though of course I’m still quietly optimistic and would like to change my nickname to 6 times.

My full concentration will be on supporting any team playing against Man-U.

Posted by Five Times | Report as abusive

OH YEAH LIVERPOOL,,,NEVER EVER WALK ALONE.WHAT A CLASSIC MATCH….NOW ALL WAY TILL WE LIFT THE CUP

Posted by PETT`Y | Report as abusive

FOR ALL WHO FEEL AGGRIEVED,JUST REALIZE LIVERPOOL WAS THE BETTER TEAM,,WITH ALOT OF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE EXPERIENCE,,ESPECIALLY IN THE LAST COUPLE YEARS,,SO TO ALL EVANS,HENRY ,,,GITAU,,PLEASE GET USED TO OUR WINNING WAYS.

Posted by PETT`Y | Report as abusive

So why this is so heartbreaking this time around? Because this also puts an end to beauty of imagination and that quintessential dream of any football purist: unknown talent moulded into a cohesive whole who can go on to play and win beautifully. Is it too much to ask for?

In the last few years Arsene Wenger has created a team of relative unknowns whose combined value of acquisition of 30 million pounds was what Manchester United paid for one Wayne Rooney.

Even yesterday, with no disrespect to Liverpool, they played some outstanding football and passed Liverpool out of the park. Just when they thought they had a victory the opponents were awarded a dodgy penalty which they duly converted and it is the same old story for Arsenal.

The beauty of the game is that it can lead to memorable upsets and magnificent victories. In both these fronts Arsenal became the fall guy. Arsene Wenger wanted to prove that talent short on passports and high on technique can win trophies and win them beautifully. He wanted to show that one doesn’t require money (Chelsea, Man u, Liverpool et al) to mould great teams. He wanted to show that this time Arsenal can win trophies and play by his vision by supplementing beauty with resilience. He wanted too show the world how the game is to be played in a time and age when money does all the talking.

Arsene Wenger has fallen short. Does this mean the demise of dreams? Does this mean the end of imagination? Does this mean he has to go into the next season and spend a fortune on new ‘star’ players who will help him win games in important matches? Does this mean that natural talent and youthful innocence don’t stand a chance in the high-cauldron of football aesthetics?

I hope not. The matter is simple and clear: I will always support Arsenal till i die. I may not win trophies but when young Theo Walcott runs 80 yards through five players and makes an inch perfect pass for the forward to convert then i am transported into a new footballing realm of dreams and aesthetics. That moment will be enough for me to last a whole season.

That’s very nicely put, Shyam. The Theo Walcott moment was indeed a special one, and the match would have been remembered for that sublime run had Liverpool not gone straight up the other end and scored.
I wonder how many Arsenal fans will wonder after that game if Wenger has been a bit too parsimonious with the transfer funds available. Liverpool paid top dollar (far too much, one might even say) for two players — Mascherano and Torres — but have been rewarded with a place in the semi-finals.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

arsneal can only go as far as long as senderos keeps his head…two goals last night were arguably down to his poor defending…toure should have played with gallas and eboue tucking in at right back with walcott down the wing…poor decision by wenger

Posted by james | Report as abusive

What’s most upsetting is that in 5 years, this champions league wont be remembered for Arsenals sublime football. Because of a very controversial (personally i think it was a load of crp) penalty with minutes remaining in a second leg clash. Bottom line is Liverpool buy Torres and go through to the semis while injury plagued Arsenal develop a beautiful game with raw young talent for a season that will be esentially forgotten in the history books.

Posted by clement | Report as abusive

what a good game off football the best team over 2 legs won

Posted by mohammad | Report as abusive

Let’s set a couple of things straight: pinging the ball around is very impressive, but scoring goals and preventing the other side scoring is what football is all about.

And as for the penalty, nobody is mentioning Flamini’s blatant handball as he controlled the ball in the build up to Diaby’s goal. The ref missed it. Maybe he made a mistake for the penalty. That’s football too.

Until they bring in video replays (which I thing FIFA are too old-fashioned and short-sighted to do) referees will make mistakes.

The fact is that Liverpool were behind 3 times in this tie and came back to win – that shows incredible willpower, and in the case of Torres and Hyypia, incredible skill.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

John sums it up very nicely, though I disagree on the video referee part as I wouldn’t like football to be too sanitised and thus taking the drama away from it all… even at the expense of my beloved team.

Shyam is a true fan and I respect that. Win or lose, always support your team.

And Kevin, those who think Liverpool paid too much for Torres or even Mascherano should really do more research.

http://www.footballeconomy.com/stats/sta ts_turnover_07.htm

Of course Wenger has some really spectacular cheaper buys like Henry and Fabregas but let’s compare apples with apples.
None of the players in the list above except for maybe Van Nistelroy has contributed as much in his 1st season as Torres which makes the price of Torres really an absolute bargain. So please £21m doesn’t really warrant all the exaggeration especially when you look at that list.

And when you look at the even bigger picture…
http://www.top-ten-10.com/sports/footbal l/football_transfers.htm

Torres’s sum become even more paltry.

Posted by Five Times | Report as abusive

Hi Five Times, and fair point over the transfer fees. It’s clear that Benitez has been absolutely vindicated in insisting on those signings, even though the fees were of the nose-bleed variety.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive