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Post by arsenal27 on Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:19 am

Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool: Gunners Edge Through To Last Eight

Arsenal V Liverpool: Lineups & stats

Arsenal moved into the last eight of the League Cup with a 2-1 victory over Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

Nicklas Bendtner’s second half goal proved to be decisive after Fran Merida and Emiliano Insua had exchanged spectacular strikes before the break.

One plus point for Liverpool was the debut of £20 million summer signing Alberto Aquilani, but Rafael Benitez’s side have now lost five of their last six games and it is Arsene Wenger’s Gunners who will be in the draw for the quarter-finals.

Arsenal made eleven changes from the side which drew with West Ham United on Sunday. Samir Nasri was handed his first start of the campaign after breaking his leg, while goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski returned. The Gunners also handed a debut to 18-year-old midfielder Craig Eastmond.

Only two Liverpool players survived from the weekend win over Manchester United. Dirk Kuyt was named as captain and Aquilani was fit enough for a place on the substitutes' bench.

It was the visitors who had the first clear chance of the game after nine minutes. A brilliant back-heel from David Ngog released onrushing full-back Philipp Degen through on goal. However, the Swiss defender failed to find the target with a tame effort from 10 yards

Liverpool almost paid the price for that miss two minutes later after Nasri drew a foul from Martin Skrtel and shot narrowly wide with the resulting 20-yard free-kick.

On 19 minutes they were behind when Andriy Voronin and Ryan Babel conceded possession deep inside their own half, allowing Eastmond to feed Merida on the edge of the penalty area. The 19-year-old Spaniard then struck an unstoppable shot off the post and into Diego Cavalieri’s top corner.

Young gun Merida opened the scoring

Within seven minutes, though, Benitez’s men were level. Skrtel’s long ball was headed down by Babel to Insúa, who controlled and struck an outstanding looping half-volley to beat Fabianski from 25 yards.

In the 37th minute, a slick Arsenal passing move was only just broken up by Skrtel before the resulting corner gave Bendtner a chance, but the Dane shot straight at the keeper from a tight angle

Five minutes later Arsenal almost scored again when Cavalieri mis-judged the flight of a corner and Bendtner, Mikael Silvestre and Eduardo all tried to force the ball over the line, only to be denied by the Liverpool defence in the ensuing goal-mouth scramble.

The hosts did re-take the lead on 50 minutes. Merida’s cross was helped on by Aaron Ramsey before Bendtner muscled his way past Skrtel and fired a left-footed shot into the roof of the net.

Liverpool attempted to respond and were unfortunate not to equalise when Voronin shot narrowly wide from the edge of the box after good work from Degen down the right.

Damien Plessis saw a deflected shot fall just over the bar, but with fifteen minutes to go the visitors were struggling to make an attacking impression, so Benitez brought on Yossi Benayoun and Aquilani.

Babel was unable to turn in an impressive Kuyt cut-back and Aquilani fired a shot straight at the goalkeeper, before Eduardo flashed an effort wide of the far post at the other end.

As full-time neared Liverpool continued to press for an equaliser but Voronin’s long-range strike was saved by Fabianski and Arsenal held on to secure the victory.

Chris Myson,

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