Three consecutive draws now with this result and in fairness before the game a point would have been acceptable. Arsenal dominated the possession and had the clearer chances yet the Reds could still have left with a win.
The first half was incredibly dull from a Reds' point of view with a very defensive style to build upon. The Reds got the game underway after a pre match huddle in their all black kit. The first ten minutes saw mainly\r\nArsenal possession without really troubling the Reds back line. The first shot from the Reds came from John Arne Riise who made a run from left back to collect a ball across the middle from Gerrard. His shot from the edge of the box though was a poor one straight along the ground to Seaman.
A minute later and Pires claimed a penalty for falling over as he tried to check back past Carragher. The referee waved the appeal away. Arsenal were starting to make the Reds camp out in front of the area by this time and on eleven and a half minutes Arsenal should have taken the lead. From one of their many corners in the half Carragher could only head the ball against Henchoz. The ball bobbled around a little before being struck past the post.
Three minutes later and again as a result of a corner the Reds actually did see the ball go in to their net. However the goal was rightly chalked off, with the referee spotting Campbell climbing all over Diao to get the\r\nleverage necessary to win the header.
Chris Kirkland was then out well just past the half hour mark to smother a Wiltord shot out for a corner. Two minutes later and the Reds were forced to make their first substitution. Michael Owen felt his hamstrings tighten up and El Hadji Diouf came on to replace him. A minute later and the Reds received their first caution of the afternoon. Salif Diao made a sliding challenge just a little late and after the play had been allowed to carry on he saw Yellow.
After thirty nine minutes Thierry Henry found himself free in the box to head at goal but couldn't direct it there and the ball sailed past the post. Three minutes later Sol Campbell won a header from yet another corner\r\nbut thankfully it went wide. With the two extra minutes passing by without incident the half time whistle blew.
The second half got underway and saw a different Reds side than in the first. Within a minute of the restart Diouf went on a mazy run which eventually resulted in a corner which was easily cleared away but the signals were much better from the Reds. Three minutes in to the half Cheyrou collected a short free kick from Murphy before hitting a shot, but wide of the goal. A minute later and Murphy saw Yellow after arguing with\r\nthe referee. Henry and Henchoz jumped for a ball which the Swiss defender won but Henry fell down like a sack of potatoes and won a free kick. As Murphy moaned the referee decided to show who was boss and got his Yellow card out. You expect no less from Jeff Winter.
Kirkland was called upon on fifty two minutes to make a double save for the Reds. The first from a deflected Henry shot was parried but he was up well to push the follow up shot over the bar for a corner. Five minutes later and Wiltord got round the back of the defence but his shot went into the side netting as Kirkland was beaten.
The Reds really should have taken the lead a minute before the hour from a corner. The corner whipped in, for once, gave the Reds a chance to win a header and the header went down towards the goal and from two yards out Diouf looked to head it past Seaman but only managed to fluff it to Cole who cleared it to the edge of the box were Baros steamed in and shot high over the bar. A minute later and Baros nearly opened the scoring when he pushed the ball round Keown but as the defender tried to let Seaman get it he kept going. Baros managed to nick the ball from Seaman but from an acute angle hit his shot against the post when a square ball to Cheyrou would have been easier.
The Reds got a penalty on sixty seen minutes and took the lead. A Reds attack was broken down by Arsenal who attacked the Reds to our own penalty area where they lost out to Carragher. As the ball broke Gerrard took control and sent a long ball to Baros. Baros controlled the ball and cut across Campbell and moved in on the area. As Campbell got back Baros edged the ball away from his challenge and was brought down for a clear penalty. The referee's assistant helped out in awarding it but Campbell escaped punishment somehow. After a bit of debate the Reds were able to take the penalty but even then it needed Gerrard to sort out Diouf and Murphy who both wanted to take the spot kick. Murphy stepped up and slotted it high in to the right hand corner.
The goal meant Arsenal were ready to attack the Reds even more now. The Reds held out easily for ten minutes before conceding a dubious penalty. Bergkamp received the ball thirty yards out and played it into the area towards Jeffers who turned on the ball before going down rather easily following Riise putting a hand on him. Riise received a booking for his penalty offence. It was a soft penalty but one that looked a penalty from the referee's angle and in fairness one most striker's would have gone down for. Thierry Henry stepped up and hit his shot pretty central and in to the back of the net.
As the goal was cheered by the home crowd Bruno Cheyrou was replaced by Djimi Traore. Arsenal looked to build on the goal and snatch a win but the Reds also looked for a winner at the other end with Baros looking the most likely source. It came as a surprise then that Igor 'I'm picked in any position' Biscan came on up front to replace Baros. It was a bizarre move and especially when the Reds had Neil Mellor on the bench as an actual striker to come on.
As the minutes ticked by the Reds had a couple of chances to score the winning goal although so did Arsenal. Biscan blazed a shot high over the bar just before the ninetieth minute whilst Murphy hit his shot over half way through the four extra minutes of play. A minute before the final whistle and the Reds were really lucky not to concede. An excellent ball from Bergkamp round Carragher freed Cole who squared a ball across the six\r\nyard box. Gilberto came racing in at the back post and somehow managed to shoot wide.
Overall the draw was a fair result and the second half incredibly better to watch than the first. The first half seemed to be damage limitation and build whilst the second was more a case of trying to actually score. The\r\ngame was decided on two penalties in the end which were both scored although the Arsenal one was a little more dubious than the Reds' one. The referee awarded them though and that's football. We could and really should have created a winner though and with better finishing may have sneaked the match late on.
MotM : Danny Murphy - in his final game before a one match suspension he played well. Took his penalty well and operated well down the right. Steven Gerrard also played well in the midfield and ensured Viera was quiet throughout and also played some great balls in the second half.