The late goals are flying in and there’s Liverpool v Arsenal on Monday. If you want late late goals, that fixture does have history….make sure you hang around ’til closing time.
Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool (April 2011)
There was a precedent to the hair-raising final few minutes at the AMEX on Saturday when Arsenal and Liverpool went even deeper into the injury-time abyss at the Emirates in April 2011. The Gunners were chasing Fergie’s coat-tails, facing a sixth straight season without a trophy. The match had 12 minutes of injury-time as Jamie Carragher was dazed after clashing heads with an 18-year-old Jon Flanagan.
When Arsene’s boys finally went ahead after a Robin van Persie penalty in the 98th minute, that was surely that. Not so. The Reds got a spot-kick down the other end when Emmanuel Eboue clattered into the back of Lucas Leiva. Think of Kolo Toure’s challenge on Ryan Babel in the Champions League classic the year before and now times it by 10. Dirk Kuyt did the rest with the last kick of the game. TV footage at the end of the match appeared to show Kenny Dalglish saying “piss off” to Wenger, who was furious at the penalty award. Dalglish deadpanned: “I just told him I still owe him dinner.”
— TalkingTikiTaka (@talkingtikitaka) April 17, 2015
Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal (December 2014)
What is it with ridiculously late goals and head injuries between these two sides? The Reds were a mournful shower of the team that had beaten Arsenal 5-1 during their title near-miss the previous season. When they took on the Gunners 10 months later, shorn of Luis Suarez and the perennially injured Daniel Sturridge, they had already lost seven games while Arsenal were occupying the Europa League places.
Despite dominating much of the match, Brendan Rodgers’ side found themselves 2-1 down with nine minutes of injury-time added and a man down due to Fabio Borini’s 18-minute cameo of indiscipline. Martin Skrtel, heavily bandaged after an accidental clash with that other shrinking violet Olivier Giroud, rose like a Slovakian eagle to meet Adam Lallana’s corner in the 97th minute. It flew past Wojciech Szczesny and made Christmas just a wee bit more digestible for the Kop. Rodgers’ assertion that this was an even better performance than the 5-1 mauling showed he was not far from La La Land.
Liverpool 3-3 Arsenal (January 2016)
The first clash between Wenger and Jurgen Klopp was bound to be an excitable affair, given the German had not quite reined in his jack-in-the-box moments of touchline adrenaline. Roberto Firmino showed the very first few signs of an exceptional talent with two superb goals, but again Liverpool’s defensive frailty saw them fall behind to the power and presence of Giroud and the flaky shakiness of Simon Mignolet.
But Klopp understood the power of Anfield and went on a rain-soaked charge up the line when Joe Allen hooked in an equaliser past Peter Cech’s right hand in the last minute. “I told him (Klopp) just calm down,” Wenger said after the game. “At Liverpool it is very tight, and you are very close to each other.” Well, it’s heavy metal, not an orchestra, as Jurgen might say…
Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal (April 2009)
Having lost only twice all season and beaten Manchester United 4-1 at Old Trafford, Liverpool needed a win to keep alive any realistic chance of beating Big Bad Fergie to the title. Instead, their defence took a Ferris Bueller-style day off with some kamikaze recklessness, although this was offset by the superb Fernando Torres, who hauled them back into the game twice with stunning finishes. Andrey Arshavin was the unlikely four-hit wonder for the Gunners, scoring his last goal in the final minute of normal time to make it 4-3.
In the context of Liverpool and Arsenal matches, this gave the Anfield side plenty of time to strike back, which they duly did with Yossi Benayoun in the 93rd. There was still time for a disallowed Fabregas strike. Nuts. Rafa Benitez was not happy as another title chance slipped away. He fumed: “You don’t remember any save from Pepe Reina, it is just four chances and four goals and all of them have been our mistakes.”
Liverpool 0-2 Arsenal (May 1989)
There have been films, books and endless nostalgia about this match, which in some ways was the beginning of the era of football as mass entertainment, beamed into homes across the land on a Friday night with a dramatic denouement to boot.
Arsenal needed to win by two clear goals at Anfield to claim the old First Division title from their hosts. It had been a torrid few months for Kenny Dalglish’s men after the tragedy of Hillsborough and a draining and emotional 3-2 FA Cup final victory over city neighbours Everton just six days before. A stodgy, goalless first half saw the home team stutter as they were caught between playing stick or twist.
Liverpool got terribly nervous when Alan Smith gave the visitors the lead with a disputed goal on 52 minutes. Forty minutes later, Michael Thomas ran through the Liverpool defence after a fortunate deflection off Steve Nicol and slipped the ball under Bruce Grobbelaar. Cue mayhem. The visual of Thomas contorting his body in sheer joy remains the abiding memory as does the crestfallen John Aldridge shrugging away the condolences of the opposition at the final whistle.
Tim Ellis – follow him on Twitter