Arshavin rocket leaves Reds reeling

The Russian, who scored four times on the same ground towards the

back end of last season, rifled in an unstoppable winner on 58

minutes after a Glen Johnson own goal (50) had cancelled out Dirk

Kuyt’s first-half opener (41) for the Reds in Sunday’s Premier

League meeting. After an even start, it was Liverpool who carved

open the first opening when a quick break saw Steven Gerrard set up

Fernando Torres, but the Spaniard’s shot lacked enough power to

trouble Manuel Almunia. Moments later, Gerrard went tumbling under

a William Gallas tackle in the box, but referee Howard Webb waved

away the penalty claims. Liverpool continued to press and Torres’

tumble in the area – again with Gallas in close attendance – posed

another penalty shout, though again Webb allowed play to continue.

The Gunners finally had their first effort on goal after 33 minutes

with Alex Song dragging a shot comfortably wide of goal. But it was

Liverpool who were celebrating on 41 minutes when Fabio Aurelio’s

free-kick into the box was not dealt with properly by Almunia and

Kuyt controlled the ball on his chest before guiding his shot

through a crowd of players from 12 yards. The Gunners made a bright

start to the second half, with Cesc Fabregas finally having their

first effort on target, but his low shot was easily gathered by

Pepe Reina. But the visitors were back on level terms after 50

minutes when Samir Nasri’s right-wing cross took a deflection off

Jamie Carragher and caught out the retreating Johnson, the Reds

full-back unable to sort out his feet in time to prevent tapping

through his own goal from six yards. And just eight minutes later,

the Gunners were celebrating again when Arshavin showed good

control in the area before drilling an unstoppable shot past Reina

from 18 yards which flew into the net via the post. The Reds did

their best to get back into the game, but the Gunners’ defence

comfortably held firm to help them move up to third and just six

points behind leaders Chelsea with a match in hand. Liverpool

remain seventh.