Arsenal draw Liverpool thriller after 'miss of the season' from Giroud
Gunners miss the chance to go clear of Premier League rivals as they are held at Anfield after comeback
Liverpool 3 Arsenal 3.
A late strike from Joe Allen capped a thrilling match at Anfield and denied Arsenal a victory that would have taken them clear at the top of the Premier League. Instead the draw, coupled with Leicester's 1-0 win away at Tottenham, leaves the Gunners and the Foxes level pegging on 43 points. Manchester City's goalless draw at home to Everton means they remain three points adrift in third spot, while West Ham's victory at Bournemouth moves the Hammers above Manchester United into fifth spot.
In short it's getting very tight at the top and Arsenal will be kicking themselves that they didn't leave Liverpool with maximum points. "I'm frustrated by the result," admitted Arsene Wenger. "We were a bit apprehensive. I feel in the first 20 minutes we were a bit on the back foot and we came back in a convincing way... the frustration comes from the fact that I think at 3-2, we had three situations where we should have made it 4-2 and we made a bad decision."
But if Wenger was feeling annoyed at the outcome, so was his Liverpool counterpart, whose side twice let the visitors back into the game during a breathless opening 30 minutes when they dominated their opponents. "I think for 60-70 minutes of game we played really well and caused them big problems but we gave away easy goals," said Jurgen Klopp. "We lost the ball too easily... [and] during the game I see the faults. You cannot ignore that a few things were not too good."
Nonetheless it was a wonderful spectacle, played in driving rain, with six goals of mostly top quality. Liverpool's opening two goals came from Roberto Firmino (the second a wonderful curling effort from 20 yards) with Aaron Ramsey's sharp finish sandwiched between the Brazilian's brace.
The Gunners then levelled on 25 minutes when Olivier Giroud took advantage of some shoddy Liverpool defending at a corner to flick the ball past Simon Mignolet.
The French striker should have then given Arsenal the lead but instead managed what the The Sun describes as the miss of the season. With the goal gaping Giroud slid in to convert a cross from Hector Bellerin, but somehow, from a distance of two yards, managed to divert the ball away from goal.
Gooners groaned in disbelief but Giroud made amends ten minutes into the second half when he swivelled and shot from just outside the six-yard box, driving the ball past Mignolet into the bottom left-hand corner. It was a sweetly-struck goal, but it was not enough, as Liverpool responded in kind in stoppage time when substitute Joe Allen volleyed Christian Benteke's deft header past Petr Cech.
Asked what lessons his players could draw from the result, Wenger replied: "They need to transform the frustration they have in the dressing room at the moment to even more motivation for the next game. There is a lot of positives in the game and there is more positives than negatives in the game. I think what happened tonight should strengthen their belief that they have a big part to play in this league."