Heartpounding moments!

Liverpool being Liverpool can never do things the easy way, especially in European competition and tonight was no exception. Liverpool started the game with the advantage having an away goal to their name courtesy of Dirk Kuyt in the first leg at the Emirates. In the opening 25 minutes Arsenal kept the ball well and should have done better with some of their chances and Liverpool; on the rare occasion they had the ball gave it away far too easily. Arsenal opened the scoring in the 13th minute when Liverpool failed to clear their lines and allowed Vassiriki Diaby to move freely through the penalty area to meet Alexander Hleb’s neat little pass to unleash a shot that out of position Jose Reina couldn’t stop! Suddenly the pendulum swung the way of Arsenal having their away goal and having the overall lead. Almost out of nothing, Liverpool levelled things with Steven Gerrard swinging in a curling cross from the byline and Sami Hyypia met it with his head looping the ball into the top right to make the scoreline 1 – 1 on the night and 2 – 2 on aggregate. Liverpool’s form man this season Fernando Torres made it 2 – 1 on the night making space for himself for a superb turn and shoot effort that Manuel Almunia had no chance of stopping. This goal eliminated the possibility of it going to penalties as if the scores finished level; The Gunners would go through on away goals. Liverpool stepped off the gas a little after Torres’ goal and that allowed Arsenal the space to play their passing game and the chances started to flow Arsenal’s way again. Suddenly Theo Walcott came on to inject some pace into the Arsenal squad and what pace that boy has. He picked up on a loose ball on the edge of the Arsenal box and ran the whole length of the field to lay off the ball to Emmanuel Adebayor to tap home making it 2 – 2 on the night and Arsenal are suddenly in the box seat with seven minute left on the clock. Liverpool were fortunate a minute later to be gifted a penalty when Kolo Toure was deemed to have pulled back Ryan Babel. It seems like it was six of one, half dozen of the other but as a Liverpool fan I’ll take it! Steven Gerrard stepped upto the spot and fired home emphatically to regain the lead in the tie. Ryan Babel made sure of the victory deep in injury time latching onto Dirk Kuyt’s clever pass, running half the length of the field, wrong-footing Almunia to slot home from six yards. So Liverpool make it through to the semi finals to face Chelsea in emphatic style in the end, although the scoreline does flatter the Reds, Arsenal played their hearts out and one man undid them and that man was Ryan Babel earning the penalty and making sure of the win at the death.

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