Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal
Last Updated: Sat, 03 Mar 2012 15:05
Robin van Persie's brace sealed a vital come-from-behind 2-1 win for Arsenal at Anfield as they strengthened their grip on fourth spot.
The Dutch hitman scored in both halves for the Gunners after Liverpool missed a penalty and then took the lead via a Laurent Koscielny own-goal.
Liverpool had the better chances throughout but were made to pay for the profligacy when Van Persie struck the winner in injury time.
Arsenal's fourth successive Premier League win moves them three points clear in the fourth Champions League qualification spot, whilst Liverpool stay seventh, ten points adrift of them on 39 points.
Liverpool started the brighter of the two sides and were handed an opportunity to go in front on 19 minutes after Wojciech Szczesny was harshly adjudged to have fouled Luis Suarez in the area and referee Mark Halsey pointed to the spot.
However, the Gunners' keeper made amends as he saved Dirk Kuyt's penalty before reacting quickly to parry away the Dutchman's follow up from the rebound.
The hosts did take the lead on 23 minutes when the put together a good passing move before Jordan Henderson's low right-wing cross was diverted into his own net by Koscielny.
It was almost two within as many minutes when Henderson's strike was parried away by Szczesny, before Suarez's effort from the left side of the area came back off the outside of the post.
Arsenal equalised with a goal out of nothing on 31 minutes when Bacary Sagna got down the right wing and whipped in a lovely cross which Van Persie met at the near post before heading past Jose Reina.
Suarez looked set to score one of the goals of the season three minutes later when he tricked his way into the Arsenal area, but his effort towards the far corner was brilliantly tipped past the post by Szczesny.
Liverpool had the last word of the first half in stoppage time when Kuyt got to Charlie Adam's low cross from the left ahead of Szczesny but watched as the ball trickled off the far post before being cleared.
The first opportunity of the second half came just after the hour when Martin Kelly got on the end of a Martrin Skrtel head down in the area but again Szczesny did enough to thwart him.
At the other end Alex Song's pull-back from the left of the area found Theo Walcott and his deflected effort was well saved by the outstretched leg of Reina.
As the game edged towards a draw, eight minutes of stoppage time went up on the board following a lengthy delay when Mikel Arteta was stretchered off the field earlier in the half due to severe concussion.
And, the Gunners took full advantage in the second minute of that injury time when Song's chip into the area was met on the volley by Van Persie, who guided the ball past Reina at his near post to win it.