Where to start?
Firstly, let us remember that the scoreline really doesn't reflect the game, indeed it flatters Liverpool, who were bossed for long periods of this second leg. In fact the scoreline reflects a contentious decision late on allowing Liverpool one of the softest penalty awards in front of a baying Kop I can recall.
Arsenal exploded out of the blocks, and made Liverpool look less than ordinary, taking almost complete control from the off. Aside from a couple of rather speculative long range efforts, Liverpool offered little, while Arsenal grew in strength.
The Gunners took a deserved lead through the most unlikely source in Abou Diaby after 16 minutes, after a concise move ripped The Merseysiders to pieces, and a finish to bamboozle the bewildered goalkeeper.
Somewhat against the run of play, Liverpool seized on a Phillipe Senderos mistake from a corner. Sammi Hyppia had an acre of space available when Senderos appeared to briefly look in the wrong direction, and allow him the time to head home, via the post and over Cesc Fabregases head to level the tie.
Liverpool took the initiative and began a period of dominance of their own creating a few chances, while Arsenal were holding firm at the back.
Possibly one of the turning points in the game came just before the interval, when Matty Flamini was taken off with an ankle injury to be replaced by a somewhat game rusty Gilberto. Although Arsenal were to remain on level terms until the break, the reshuffle offered little.
The second half began much as the first half left off, with Liverpool having the initiative. Chances created, Arsenal holding firm. Not to say that Liverpool were the authors of their own missed chance collection. Kuyt came close, but still Arsenal held firm.
Then another of those moments, a classic Arsenal break, three unmarked players in the box, and Eboue opted to shoot from about an inch from the byline. The side netting bulged, while Adebayor nearly cried in sheer frustration.
Liverpool were to take the lead with a route one goal. Fernando Torres with a strike that most would be proud of on the turn, although he had perhaps more time than he knew what to do with! The finish was devastatingly accurate, and Arsenal were behind, although needing just a goal to go through.
Time for the cavalry. On came Theo Walcott and Robin Van Persie. And within moments, Adebayor had a chance, one on one, only to place the ball wide. This seemed to only inspire Arsenal, and young Theo Walcott in particular, who picked up the ball from deep in our half, and went on a mazy, pacy run. Beating players for pace and skill, he'd run all of 70 yards, found a precision cross to Adebayor, who finished from close in. And so the celebrations began, surely this was enough.
Barely had the Arsenal fraternity regained composure, when the referee made a simply bewildering decision to award Liverpool a penalty. Where the decision came from, I really don't know, possibly the influence of the thousands at The Kop End made his mind up, who knows. Reminders of the penalty not given at Ashburton Grove sprung straight to mind for us, but not for Steven Gerrard who hammered the spot kick past Almunia.
Advantage Liverpool, and with The Gunners having no option but to push forward with everyone, Liverpool were to break away and score a fourth.
A somewhat flattering scoreline in a thrilling match, sadly Arsenal are to fall short of the mark for yet another season.
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