Monday, 17 February 2014

Reds Exit The Cup At Arsenal

After a last-gasp win at Fulham in midweek, Liverpool made their second trip to London in a week to face Arsenal with the prospect of a quarter final against city rivals Everton on the cards.

Liverpool surprisingly made changes despite the fact their next game is not for a full seven days but in came Jones, Agger and Allen as they looked to complete a mini double over Arsenal in February.

In a copy of the previous meeting between the sides, Liverpool had the first chance as Sturridge connected to a superb pass from Gerrard but he was denied a continuance of his scoring streak by a block from Fabianski. Minutes later, Sturridge had another chance via a pick out from Suarez which saw the Englishman collect the pass and round Fabianski but sadly saw his shot travel wide of the post.

The failure to convert the early chances was costly as in the 16th minute, Arsenal took the lead after a delivery from Arteta led to a melee in the area and the result was a collection by Oxlade-Chamberlain who hit a low finish past Jones. The SAS combined with Suarez hitting a superb volley but sadly for the visitors the move broke down. Sterling had a great chance to level on the half-hour as he swished past two markers and looked for team-mate in space but Flamini was able to block.

Skrtel was on hand to block a chance from Ozil and in stopping a rapid Arsenal counter-attack by Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gerrard became the fifth player booked inside the first half while Fabianski was called into action just before the interval and was at full stretch to deny Suarez as the Uruguayan swept in a volley that was a tough test but at the break it remained 1-0.
 
Suarez began the second half as he ended the first with the ball and on the attack as an quick turn of pace allowed him to drive at Fabianski but the 'keeper denied him with an outstretched boot to retain the lead which increased when Oxlade-Chamberlain and Podolski exchanged with the latter hitting a superb shot that beat Jones and breached the net at pace. 

Sturridge created space and hit a curling shot that failed to trouble Fabianski but it was a sign of things to come as Liverpool pulled one back minutes later after Suarez was felled by Podolski in the area and Webb pointed to the spot. Gerrard stepped up looking for his second penalty goal this week and side-footed past Fabianski who dived the opposite way.
 
Liverpool could have been level rapidly after Coutinho and Sturridge combined but Fabianski put a stop to the move to keep his side in front but he was caught out with five minutes remaining as a superb free-kick from distance saw Agger connect when the Arsenal keeper had come out to punch but the ball drifted wide and meant Liverpool exited at the fifth round stage and were denied of a Merseyside derby in round six.