Joe Allen didn’t play much against Arsenal, but his impact was immense.
Allen scored in the 90th minute to help Liverpool earn a thrilling, 3-3 draw against Arsenal in the Premier League on Wednesday at Anfield. Roberto Firmino scored twice for Liverpool in the first half, but Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud canceled out both leads before the interval. Giroud struck again 10 minutes into the second half, but Allen leveled the score on the brink of injury time to rescue a point for the Reds.
Arsenal remains in first place in the Premier League standings with 43 points after 21 games. Liverpool sits ninth with 31 points from 21 games.
Just one of the most thrilling Premier League games of the season, as expected.
The game opened rather slowly, as the first five minutes betrayed what would follow for the next 85.
Firmino opened the scoring after 10 minutes. Petr Cech saved Emre Can’s shot straight to Firmino, who slotted the rebound underneath the Arsenal goalkeeper. Firmino matched Anfield’s enthusiasm over the early goal, earning himself a caution from referee Mike Jones for removing his jersey in celebration.
Ramsey erased Liverpool’s lead just four minutes later. He ran onto Joel Campbell’s pass and beat Simon Mignolet to the near post moments after Mamadou Sakho clashed heads with Giroud and failed to recover the composure necessary to stop the goal-scoring sequence.
But Firmino was determined to star in the first half, and he pulled Liverpool out front for a second time. Firmino this time curled a delightful shot over Cech’s outstretched hand into the top corner in the 19th minute.
Anfield was buzzing once again. Arsenal promptly spoiled the fun for a second time.
Ramsey drove a corner kick to the near post in the 25th minute. Giroud re-directed Ramsey’s delivery past Mignolet with the slightest of touches at the near post.
The game’s break-neck pace persisted through the half-hour mark, with Giroud missing a gilt-edged chance from inside the Liverpool goal-mouth in the 28th minute and Can failing to hit the target with three minutes later.
Firmino might have had a hat-trick in the first half but he hit the crossbar with a swerving drive in the second minute of injury time.
Continuing at such a furious pace in the second half would be nearly impossible, and the teams settled into something more manageable in the second half.
But the goals continued to come.
Giroud put Arsenal ahead for the first time in the 55th minute. The Frenchman created space inside Liverpool’s penalty area with a skillful turn and he beat Mignolet with an even better shot.
Arsenal held the lead for the next 35 minutes. Both managers made a host of substitutions during that timespan, but Jurgen Klopp’s introductions of Allen and Christian Benteke proved to be most decisive.
Benteke knocked down Jordan Henderson’s pass into the path of Allen, who arrived at the perfect time to volley the game-tying goal past Cech from 12 yards out.
Firmino spearheaded Liverpool’s attack to greater effect than he has in just about every other game in which he has appeared this season.
Arsenal’s three shots in the first 55 minutes ended the same.
Arsenal looked like it might hold on for the win. Then history took over.
Manchester United visits Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday at Anfield. The Reds can notch their first win of 2016 against their biggest rivals.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@LFCBoston
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