Paddy Power’s 5 greatest Liverpool v Arsenal games

There’s been a few belters over the years!


Liverpool and Arsenal find themselves at the top of the Premier League tree together for the first time since 2013.

Granted, the league season is only two games old and it is still very much early days, but Liverpool and Arsenal being top of the league evokes memories of when the two clubs were top dogs in England.

Liverpool versus Arsenal has always been one of the standout fixtures in the Premier League calendar and it is perhaps the most consistently entertaining fixture in the history of English football.

It’s almost 18 years since Arsenal beat Liverpool to a Premier League title in 2002 – the last time the clubs finished a league season in the top two – but they have continued to serve up classics when they faced one another since, even if one or both teams were going through a rough patch.

Here are five of the best games the clubs have served up.

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May 1989: Liverpool 0-2 Arsenal

Forget Sergio Aguero and Manchester City’s comeback against QPR in 2012, Arsenal’s 2-0 victory at Anfield in 1989 will forever be the most dramatic finale to a league season.

The Gunners went into their final league fixture in second place, three points behind Liverpool in the league table. Goal difference dictated that Arsenal would have to win by two clear goals if they were to steal the title from under Liverpool’s noses in a fixture that was deferred due to the Hillsborough Disaster.

The London club had gone 18 years without a league title when they travelled to Anfield on that faithful night and it seemed as though that wait would go on as the first half drifted by without much hint of Arsenal scoring one goal, let alone two.

Yet, when Alan Smith headed home from a Nigel Winterburn freekick midway through the second half, everything changed. Suddenly, Liverpool were just the concession of a goal away from relinquishing a title they were almost certain to retain.

Liverpool players looked visibly nervous and Arsenal’s Michael Thomas squandered a great chance to secure the title when he shot weakly at Bruce Grobbelaar with a quarter of an hour remaining.

He made amends though, latching on to an Alan Smith knock on deep into injury time and sliding the ball past Grobbelaar to snatch the title away from Liverpool, encapsulating all that is great about football in one dramatic moment.

May 2001: Arsenal 1-2 Liverpool (FA Cup)

This time, it was Liverpool snatching a trophy away from Arsenal at the 11th hour.

In the first FA Cup final in Cardiff, Arsenal led with seven minutes remaining thanks to Freddie Ljungberg and his pink-highlighted hair. The Gunners could have gone two-nil up had Thierry Henry managed to finish past Sander Westerveld moments later, but he shot straight at the Dutch stopper and Liverpool clung on.

Arsenal still seemed destined to lift the trophy, but Michael Owen had other ideas. The 2001 Ballon d’Or winner lashed home after a pinball in the box with seven minutes remaining, before firing a left-footed shot across David Seaman five minutes later to break Arsenal hearts.

Owen’s brace helped Liverpool secure the second part of their pound shop treble, which included the League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup.

April 2004: Arsenal 4-2 Liverpool

Arsenal’s invincible season ultimately hinged on two key moments; Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s missed penalty in September and a second half comeback against Liverpool in April.

As Arsenal trundled towards an undefeated league campaign, they were faced with a full-on collapse in mid-April.

First, Manchester United dumped them out of the FA Cup at the beginning of the month, laying waste to their treble hopes. Chelsea did the same three days later in the Champions League, meaning that the success of Arsenal’s season would be measured by whether or not they could go unbeaten in the league.

They twice found themselves a goal down against Liverpool just three days after Chelsea knocked them out of Europe, but eventually prevailed thanks to the genius of Thierry Henry.

The Frenchman first cancelled out Sami Hyypia’s headed opener midway through the first half, but Arsenal soon fell behind again through Michael Owen and a typically tidy finish.

Robert Pires hauled Arsenal level with a scrappy finish at the start of the second half, then Henry took centre stage. Picking up the ball just inside the Liverpool half, nothing seemed to be on for the prolific Frenchman, but that didn’t matter.

He proceeded to jink and twist his way through the Liverpool defence, who hit the floor as if they’d been shot by a distant sniper, before calmly slotting beyond Jerzy Dudek. Henry completed his hat-trick moments later with a fortuitous finish and Arsenal would, of course, go on to finish the league season unbeaten.

April 2009: Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal

It’s easy to forget this game was only 1-0 at half time. The draw ultimately proved fatal for Liverpool’s title bid. Arsenal withstood a barrage of Liverpool attacks in the opening period thanks to Lucasz Fabianski’s heroics and hit Liverpool with a sucker punch when Andrey Arshavin cracked in a shot off the underside of the crossbar.

Liverpool hit back though, and a Fernando Torres header along with a scrappy Yossi Benayoun effort had them in front within ten minutes of the restart.

Arshavin, however, was only hitting top gear and put Arsenal back in front with two quickfire goals, the first of which was an absolute rocket.

Torres made it 3-3, but Arshavin again thwarted the home side when he smashed his fourth past Pepe Reina as the game neared injury time.

There was still time for Benayoun to grab his second and haul Liverpool level yet again, but it wasn’t enough. Liverpool stayed behind United in the league table, despite playing two games more than their biggest rivals and United would go on to equal Liverpool’s longstanding record of 18 league trophies in May.

Liverpool 3-3 Arsenal – January 2016

Things might have been different for Arsenal had they managed to hold on for a crucial victory at Anfield in 2016.

Often forgotten, Arsenal topped the Premier League at the midway point in Leicester’s famous title-winning season and went to Liverpool as league leaders.

In a frenetic opening 25 minutes that saw four goals, Arsenal twice fell behind to strikes from Roberto Firmino who inexplicably took off his jersey after giving his side the lead on ten minutes.

Goals from Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud cancelled out Firmino’s efforts in a game where neither team was particularly bothered with defending.

The game continued to be played without any semblance of a defensive structure in the second half and Arsenal took the lead courtesy of a whipped Giroud finish.

They appeared to be on course for a valuable three points, but up stepped Joe Allen whose measured volley drew Liverpool level in injury time and kickstarted a run of four games without a win for the league leaders who fell away in the title race thereafter.

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