Barclays Premier League
Anfield, Liverpool, England
Super-sub Joe Allen scored a late equaliser to prevent Arsenal from extending their lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League. Despite the Reds taking the lead, a brace from Olivier Giroud after Aaron Ramsey had got the Gunners level, almost gave the Gunners victory after Roberto Firmino had twice given the Reds the lead. However, a tactical masterclass from Jürgen Klopp salvaged the Reds a point. The German brought on substitutes Christian Benteke and Joe Allen, who combined late-on to deny the Gunners a precious victory. Had the Gunners won, it would have been due to some shoddy Liverpool defending.
The home side started well and dominated possession early on, although the visitors also looked quite comfortable on the ball themselves.
Within the first five minutes, the home side thought they should have had a penalty when Adam Lallana went down in the box following a challenge from Per Mertesacker, although there was minimal contact.
Four minutes later, the Reds took the lead. Following a corner, James Milner found Emre Can, whose powerful strike was parried by Petr Čech into the path of Roberto Firmino, who took a touch before firing past the former Chelsea keeper.
However the lead lasted barely five minutes when Joel Campbell found Aaron Ramsey, who beat Simon Mignolet at his near post, against the run of play.
Since then, the home side looked like they would get the next goal, and it took five minutes for the home side to do exactly that. After the ball pin-balled deep inside the visitors’ half, Milner found Firmino on the edge of the box, and the Brazilian curled a fantastic effort into the top-corner.
A minute later, the home side came close to getting another in quick succession. A nice swift move resulted in Milner hitting the bar in a one-on-one situation, but even if it had gone in, it wouldn’t have counted as the flag was up for offside.
Four minutes later, the visitors were inches away when Olivier Giroud played-in Ramsey, who managed to lob Mignolet, but Mamadou Sakho was there to head over the bar on the line.
From the resulting corner, the visitors did draw level. A corner sent into the near-post by Ramsey somehow made its way to Giroud, who made the slightest of contacts to beat Mignolet, who couldn’t prevent it from going over the line.
In the 27th minute Campbell found Theo Walcott, who played a fantastic low-cross to find Giroud, who somehow miscued his effort from a yard out, the Frenchman connected with his heel, and it was pushed away by Mignolet.
In the 46th minute, the home side were inches away from taking the lead. The visitors failed to deal with a Jordan Ibe cross, which then fell to Firmino, who was looking to get his hat-trick, but he was to be denied after his volley on-the-turn hit the top the top of the crossbar.
That was the last action of the first half as the referee blew his whistle to bring the first 45 minutes to an end, where Liverpool’s hard work had twice come undone as a result of some sloppy defending.
The second period began in similar fashion to how the first period concluded. Within the first minute of the second half, the visitors came close when Özil found Campbell at the back-post, but the Costa Rican couldn’t find the target from close-range.
Two minutes later, the home side came close when a Milner cross was flicked-on by Firmino onto Alberto Moreno at the back-post, but he lashed his effort over.
Three minutes later, the Gunners broke with Walcott, who went alone before dragging a shot just wide.
In the 54th minute, the visitors took the lead for the first time in the match. A fantastic run from Hector Bellerin resulted in the Spaniard finding Campbell, whose deflected pass fell kindly to Giroud, who turned his man, before finding the bottom corner.
In the 66th minute, the home side made their first change of the game with Christian Benteke coming on for Milner.
Two minutes later, a Liverpool corner made its way to Moreno, who fired just wide following a deflection. The resulting corner saw the Spaniard find Firmino, but the Brazilian’s header drifted just wide.
In the 74th minute, the visitors made a double substitution with Campbell departing for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Kieran Gibbs coming on for Walcott.
In the 81st minute, the Reds made their second change of the game, with Can departing for Joe Allen.
Five minutes later, the visitors made their third and final change of the game, with Özil giving way for Mikel Arteta.
A minute later, the home side made their third and final change of the game, bringing on: on-loan QPR defender Steven Caulker for Lallana.
In the 90th minute, the home side drew level as a result of two substitutes combining. A long-ball forward was nodded on by Benteke to find Allen, who volleyed past Čech and give the Reds a late equaliser.
There were three additional minutes for stoppages, which amounted to nothing.
That was the last action of the game as the referee blew his whistle to bring the game to an end.
The result for the Reds meant that they dropped into ninth on 31 points following results going against them in tonight’s other matches. The result for the Gunners meant that they remain in first, joined on 43 points with Leicester in second, however the Gunners have a superior goal difference.