Kuyt gives Liverpool dramatic 1-1 draw at Arsenal
Dirk Kuyt equalized with a penalty kick in the 12th minute of injury time to give Liverpool a dramatic 1-1 draw at Arsenal and frustrate the Gunners' chances of winning the Premier League title.
With time added on because of a second-half injury to Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, Robin van Persie had only just put the home side in front with another penalty when Emmanuel Eboue shoved Lucas Leiva over in the area.
Kuyt stepped up to smash in the last kick of the match and leave Arsenal six points behind leader Manchester United with six games remaining.
Chelsea is just two points further back in third place as Arsenal now regroups for Wednesday's match at fierce local rival Tottenham.
''It looks like a defeat, it is true,'' Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. ''It is a big test of character. I've had a few. In 15 years, you go through a few tests but the time is very short to recover.''
With captain Cesc Fabregas struggling to impose himself on the match, Arsenal had failed to open a defense hit by injuries to Fabio Aurelio and Carragher.
Theo Walcott hit a drive at visiting goalkeeper Pepe Reina and Laurent Koscielny headed against the bar early on, but that was largely all Arsenal created until Van Persie drew saves from goalkeeper Pepe Reina in the last six minutes of normal time with a header and a close-range shot.
''We played a team that came to defend, only to defend,'' said Wenger, who claimed Lucas had blocked Eboue's run and did not deserve a penalty. ''It was difficult for us to create chances because they defended deep.
''Every time we had the ball, we played against eight to 10 men in their half.''
But Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, who at the end of the match was involved in an apparently angry touchline exchange with his frustrated Arsenal counterpart, dismissed the complaint.
''That's good if were frustrating the opposition manager,'' Dalglish said. ''We'll take that any day of the week. We'll look after ourselves. Someone else has got a problem with us, I cannot help them.''
Dalglish lauded the performance of midfielder Jay Spearing despite his tackle from behind on Fabregas that led to Arsenal's penalty.
Van Persie scored the resulting kick in the eighth minute of injury time to send the home supporters wild, but Kuyt almost equalized straight from the kickoff with a shot from halfway that goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny saved.
Then, following a free kick on the very edge of the area, Eboue shoved Lucas to give away the crucial penalty.
''I don't think there's any team anywhere can show the character and attitude and commitment our team's shown today,'' Dalglish said. ''I don't think there's anyone would have done what they did today.''
But aside from the first 10 minutes of each half and the dramatic 12 minutes of injury time, Arsenal looked the more accomplished team, passing the ball with ease and displaying some neat flicks and touches.
But Spearing and Lucas prevented those touches from taking place in dangerous areas, while Samir Nasri passed up a couple of opportunities to shoot and passed instead.
Additionally, Walcott failed to seriously test Jack Robinson after the 17-year-old fullback replaced the injured Aurelio in the 21st minute. It was only Robinson's second appearance for the club and Walcott was replaced by Arshavin midway through the second half.
Arsenal still has an outside chance of winning the title for the first time since 2004, but is likely to endure a sixth straight season without a trophy.
Liverpool is in sixth place with 49 points but could be without Carragher for next weekend's meeting with Birmingham after the central defender was carried from the field on a stretcher with his neck in a brace following a 56th-minute clash of heads with teammate John Flanagan.
Carragher was knocked out cold as he crashed to the ground and was given oxygen during a seven-minute break in play. Dalglish said the injury was not serious and that Carragher regained consciousness in the dressing room, but he may still be rested.
Also of concern to Liverpool could be an injury to record signing Andy Carroll, who twisted his right ankle and knee chasing a ball into the area. After failing to recover fully, he had to be replaced in the 70th.
''It's just a precaution,'' Dalglish said. ''He's jarred his knee.''
The start of the match was preceded by an immaculately observed minute's silence to honor former Arsenal director Danny Fiszman, who died this week, and the 22nd anniversary of the Hillsborough stadium disaster that killed 96 Liverpool fans.
Stan Kroenke, who assumed control of Arsenal this week partly through the purchase of Fiszman's shares, watched the match at Emirates Stadium but saw his new team show its old failings.