A disappointing defensive display combined with a great performance from some of our forwards resulted in a frustrating (but exciting) 3-3 draw with Liverpool at Anfield, both sides having to settle for a draw.
Liverpool started off really brightly, and were clearly looking to assert their dominance as the home side. They were playing the high pressing game we saw Jurgen Klopp implement so often at Borussia Dortmund, and it was causing us some real problems.
An early corner looked like it was going to be easily dealt with, but Theo Walcott attempted to dribble out of his own box rather than just clearing it. He was dispossessed easily, and Emre Can was able to get a shot away. Petr Cech made a good save, but could only palm it to Roberto Firmino. The Brazilian controlled it well, and then wrong-footed the Czech shot-stopper to slot it in. 1-0.
There were fears that we could crumble under the pressure of conceding so early, but we showed our mental strength and moments later we were level. Joel Campbell played a fantastic reverse pass to pick out Aaron Ramsey, who had made a superb diagonal run. The Welshman took it first time and put it arguably into the only part of the goal he could have scored from, squeezing it past Simon Mignolet at his near post. 1-1
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You’d hope that after the initial shock we would have settled down and grown into the game, we let Liverpool straight back into it though – Firmino scoring his second of the night. We were slightly unlucky, with Joel Campbell flummoxed by the bounce of the ball. It fell fortuitously to Firmino, who curled a stunning shot into the top corner from distance. 2-1
Again we hit straight back though, this time Olivier Giroud grabbing the goal. The corner was whipped in by Aaron Ramsey, and it flashed dangerously towards the near post. Giroud got a slight touch to keep it out of the hands of Mignolet, slipping between the Belgian’s legs. 2-2.
Giroud had a great chance to give us the lead shortly after, Theo Walcott putting it on a plate for him with a ball across the face of the goal. The Frenchman overstretched for the ball though, and somehow managed to miss the gaping goal when it seemed easier to score.
We went into half time at 2-2, but shortly after the break we took the lead for the first time. Hector Bellerin pinched the ball and started the attack, laying it off to Joel Campbell. The winger’s deflected pass (seemingly meant for Aaron Ramsey) found its way to Giroud, who pulled out a great Cruyff turn and lashed the ball into the far corner. 3-2
We really should have extended our lead a few times, and as Liverpool appeared to tire we were growing stronger. We failed to capitalise on our chances though, and were made to pay for it late on.
The Reds got a second wind in the last 15 minutes and began to pile the pressure on. Arsene Wenger had made a number of defensive substitutions, and we were turtling somewhat in the latter stages of the game. We eventually cracked under the pressure, and when second half substitutes Christian Benteke and Joe Allen linked up, the Welshman was able to volley into the back of the net from inside the box. 3-3.
A disappointing end to a game we really should have won having taken the lead, but we have nobody to blame but ourselves after a slow start and some really sloppy defending.
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We’re still top of the table, but after Leicester City’s win over Tottenham we’re only clear by goal difference.