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Liverpool - Arsenal: Player Ratings
Goal.com rates the performances of the unbeaten Liverpool an Arsenal players after their compelling, high-quality Premier League draw at Anfield, where Cesc Fabregas again underlined his class, and Steven Gerrard was back to his influential best...
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Pepe Reina - 6.5: Despite Arsenal's domination of territory and possession, Reina did not have too many outright saves to make, though he showed speed of thought and anticipation to deny Adebayor in the first-half. Beaten at the near-post for Arsenal's goal, which is usually regarded as a cardinal sin among keepers, but he shouldn't beat himself up over that because it was speed of thought from Fabregas that undid him.
Steve Finnan - 6: With Clichy and Rosicky to contend with on his station it was never going to be an easy afternoon but the Republic of Ireland international stuck manfully to his task throughout.
Sami Hyypia - 6.5: The Finn was expected to be exposed for pace and it was not his most comfortable game, but he was not embarrassed, and his best moment came when Reina was beaten by Rosicky's lob and Hyypia was in the right place to clear the ball off the line.
Jamie Carragher - 7.5: He was voted man-of-the-match on Sky Sports, so clearly he put in a strong performance, though there were others on the pitch whose contribution was more influential. But with Carragher you know exactly what you are going to get: non-stop effort and commitment and the willingness to die for the Reds' cause. Today he did not disappoint on any of those criteria.
John Arne Riise - 6: A lot of Arsenal's most threatening moves were launched along their right flank and defensively the Norwegian - surprisingly linked with a possible Anfield exit according to some sources - was frequently stretched. He is always a potential threat going forward though, and his volley from the edge of the penalty area that landed on the roof of the net was further evidence of that.
Javier Mascherano - 8: The Argentine was a nagging presence in midfield as far as Arsenal were concerned, harrying them whenever he could, snapping into tackles and working hard to protect the back four.
Xabi Alonso - 7.5: It was a blow to Liverpool that the Spaniard with his perceptive passing injured his foot and had to be replaced on 68 minutes by Arbeloa. His contribution to that point had been important because he didn't waste possession too often. Having just returned from a broken metatarsal injury, the fear is he aggravated the same problem.
Steven Gerrard - 8.5: There has been criticism that Gerrard has been off his game in recent weeks, and the Liverpool skipper clearly had a point to prove against Arsenal. He was the heart-beat and the driving force behind the Reds' performance, winning crucial tackles, covering ground relentlessly, posing the most potent goal threat to the Gunners and giving his side the invaluable cushion of an early goal with a magnificent drive from a free-kick. Led by example in typical fashion.
Andriy Voronin - 5.5: Rafa Benitez opted for a three-pronged strike-force but it proved ineffective, partly because Torres was not fit bur mainly because Arsenal's domination of possession left he strikers isolated. Voronin probed and toiled, but made little impact on the match.
Fernando Torres - 5: Ironically, the famous Benitez rotation policy saw Torres not omitted but brought back - but the Spaniard was clearly not fully fit following his thigh muscle injury, which forced him off again at half-time. He struggled to make any impression before being withdrawn - apart from playing the ball back to Alonso who was fouled by Fabregas for the free-kick from which Gerard scored.
Dirk Kuyt - 6.5: The Dutchman was his usual energetic and willing self, but rarely produced much of a goal threat though he never let Arsenal's defenders relax when Liverpool got forward.
Peter Crouch (46') - 7: He made a difference to Liverpool when he came on, giving them a different attacking option, testing Almunia and setting up Gerrard for what was nearly a late winner.
Yossi Benayoun (65') - 5.5: Replaced Voronin but had little impact.
Alvaro Arbeloa (68'): - 6: Replaced the injured Alonso and did little wrong - or right.
Manuel Almunia - 7: Jens Lehmann will be kicking his heels and grumbling for some time yet because Almunia, who stood no chance with Gerrard's explosive free-kick, produced two or three crucial saves. Alert and athletic when called upon.
Bacary Sagna - 6.5: The Frenchman has slotted seamlessly into the Arsenal set up and was again competent and composed at Anfield.
William Gallas - 8: Arsenal did well without him when he was injured, but there is no doubt he adds leadership and experience when he is in the team. Gallas was influential at both ends of the pitch, getting forward to join the attack as Arsenal searched for an equaliser and then a winner, but having defended well throughout he produced a superb blocking tackle to thwart Gerrard at the death.
Kolo Toure - 7.5: Athletic, tireless and committed, Toure is a rock at the back and his presence is central to Arsenal's game. His reading of the game was again important as the defence ensured they did not fall further behind.
Gael Clichy - 7: Quietly effective with timely tackles and tidy distribution. Ashley Cole has never been missed since his acrimonious departure, testament to Clichy's maturity and technical prowess.
Emmanuel Eboue - 6.5: Effective in forward runs down the right wing, and was unlucky when he cut and shot only to see the effort cannon off the foot of the post. But Eboue needs to curb the temperamental side of his game.
Mathieu Flamini - 7: Provided the midfield bite and ball-winning that enabled the others to play. Probably the most improved player in the Arsenal squad, Flamini has made the defensive midfield role his own.
Cesc Fabregas - 9: The young Catalan was hugely influential for the Gunners, and on another day he could have had a hat-trick. Squandered a glorious chance when Eboue's effort flew out to him off the post, then was unlucky to see a deft side-footed shot for distance smack the post. But in-between his astute run from midfield put him in position to poke home Arsenal's equaliser for his tenth goal of the season. He was the creative brains as the visitors bossed possession.
Tomas Rosicky - 7.5: The Czech was part of Arsenal's holy trinity in midfield - a triangle working the ball between them to push the Gunners forward.
Alexander Hleb - 8: The third member of the trinity, along with Rosicky and Fabregas, Hleb's dancing feet helped Arsenal keep possession, and his licence to roam kept Liverpool on their toes. Had the skill to wait and wait, shrugging off tackles, before releasing the ball into the path of Fabregas for the equaliser.
Emmanuel Adebayor - 5.5: Typically tireless, but had a relatively quiet game as Arsenal's lone striker, with few clear-cut opportunities coming his way.
Theo Walcott (66') - 6: Came on for Rosicky but was unable to make the sort of impact he had against Slavia Prague.
Gilberto Silva (74') - 6: Replaced Clichy. One misplaced pass bit otherwise solid.
Nicklas Bendtner (74') - 5.5: His inexperience betrayed him when he lofted the ball over as it came back to him off the post. That could have been the winner for Arsenal.