Arsene Wenger's "Mental" Halftime Talk Inspires Arsenal to Victory at Liverpool

Mary O'SheaSenior Writer IDecember 13, 2009

Pepe Reina must be getting tired of retrieving the ball from his net after that guy in the picture once again haunted Liverpool.

A Glen Johnson own goal and Andrey Arshavin wonder striker saw Arsenal come back from 1-0 down to a Dirk Kuyt goal to claim all three points at Anfield.

However, it seems that it was Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger who inspired the comeback at half-time with a stirring team talk.

The Gunners were all at sea in the opening 45 minutes, unable to keep possession or create any chances.

Liverpool were unlucky to see a penalty appeal wave away by Howard Webb when Steven Gerrard went down in the box.

The Reds' took a deserved lead just before half-time when Kuyt made the most of an awful attempt at a clearance by Manuel Almunia.

Truth be told the home side should have been further up by that stage but never created any real clear cut chances.

The second half saw a much different Arsenal emerge.

The players were full of running and started putting in the tackles they lacked in the first half.

Just five minutes into the restart, the unfortunate Glen Johnson turned the ball into his own net, giving the Gunners some much needed relief.

Five minutes later, the Russian magician Andrey Arshavin again waved his magic. 

Taking the ball with his left, he created space to shoot with his right and the ball smashed in off the post.

Cue a celebration that is becoming all too familiar for Liverpool fans.

Following that chances were few and far between.

Steven Gerrard did his best to win frees and penalties by diving at every chance but luckily Howard Webb was having none of it.

The referee had a strange game, at times all decisions went for the home team, at others he seemed to favour the visitors.

As it was, the Gunners held on to their lead to move back into third and cut Chelsea's lead to six at the top. The Gunners have a game in hand.

All questions moved to what Arsene Wenger said at half-time and it soon became clear.

"I've never seen him before like that and we reacted very well." said Man of the Match Thomas Vermaelen. "It was very important for us to win today - we have closed the gap a little bit and we are back in the race I think."

Captain Cesc Fabregas claimed Wenger went into a fit of rage and told the players they were not fit to wear the shirt.

The Spaniard said: "The boss screamed. I've never seen him like that before.

"He was really disappointed in the first half and said we didn't deserve to wear the Arsenal shirt if we played like that.

"And I think he was right.

"In the second half we turned it round."

It was far from a classic but the three points mean the world to Arsenal.

As for Liverpool, it's a long road ahead.