Liverpool, Arsenal Play To 1-1 Draw

Bill HareCorrespondent IAugust 15, 2010

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 15:  David Ngog of Liverpool scores the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on August 15, 2010 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

It was Joe Cole’s debut as a Liverpool player.

It was Roy Hodgson’s debut as Liverpool’s manager.

While Hodgson was disappointed at failing to achieve three points in the English Premier League contest and a win before 44,722 of the home faithful Sunday, there were positives achieved as he noted after the match.

As for Joe Cole, his banishment with a red card near the close of the first half marked a sad beginning for one of the transfer coups of the summer.  The creative playmaker had never previously received a red card in his entire career.

Cole's dismissal occurred following a Glen Johnson shot.  He had made a lunge at Laurent Koscielny.

The shot had been tipped over the bar by Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia and a David Ngog header from a Gerrard corner had been cleared off the line by Gael Clichy.

As for French striker Ngog, he drove a shot home in the 46th minute.

The Ngog goal marked the beginning phase of a fascinating second half. 

The underdog host team jumped ahead 1-0 despite being down a man due to the red card handed out to Cole. 

Hodgson and his Liverpool squad came into actionell aware of the reality that Arsenal had scored three victories last season in as many tries against the host team.

Yet here was the situation early in the second half.  The Ngog goal put underdog Liverpool ahead of the London team that enjoyed a solid possession avantage during the first stanza.  Here they were up 1-0 but down one man earily in the second period.

While the disadvantage of losing Cole along with underdog status and minority possession time might have caused some teams to become tense and overly defensive, even perhaps going into a shell, something different happened to Roy Hodgson’s team.

Liverpool began to possess the ball more and battle with greater determination against Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal squad.  Recognizing that it was at a disadvantage, Liverpool loosened up and took the match to the highly regarded London team.

Despite the fact that final figures showed a 58-42 percent advantage for Arsenal in time of possession and a solid shot advantage that extended to on and off target efforts as well as corner kicks of 22-14, here was Hodgson’s team holding on at the end as Arsenal attacked ferociously at the end.

It was not until the stoppage period phase that the equalizer came.

Liverpool’s highly regarded goalkeeper Pepe Reina barely failed to corral a ball that slipped into the net for an own goal and resulting draw. 

In post-match interviews of the managers Wenger was understandably pleased with the draw and point earned on the road after a tough match that looked almost to the last second like a Liverpool win.

While Hodgson defended Reina and cited his value to the team, and gave his club credit for a hard fought effort, he conceded disappointment that was clearly understandable.  

Three points and a victory as an underdog facing an EPL championship contender in his Liverpool debut would have been a sweet result.

Hodgson as a knowledgeable professional knew one thing that he emphasized in the interview, and which relates to the current situation.  

It is a long season, so much will happen, this was one contest, and it is time to move on from there.

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