Author Topic: RAWK Advent Calendar #16 - Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal. CL Quarter Final 2008.  (Read 6689 times)

Offline StevenLFC

  • Charles Colville. Spyin Kop purveyor extraordinaire. Likes pigeons and buses.
  • Believer
  • ******
  • Posts: 7,841
  • @stehoare
    • The Bib Theorists
Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal. Champions League Quarter Final. April 8th 2008.

"It's possibly one of the worst performances I've put in in a Liverpool shirt" said Steven Gerrard after this game. Never mind skipper, we all have bad days. Then again, my bad days often involve getting a bollocking off the boss, or the missus as we like to call her, eh fellas? Eh? Eh? You know what I'm talking about! Anyway, my bad days don't involve me scoring a penalty in front of The Kop to give the team I'm captaining, the team I've supported as a kid, the lead in a European Cup Quarter Final. Then again, I'm not Steven Gerrard.

I chose to write about this game because it's almost forgotten about when the discussion of great Anfield European nights is brought up, but this game was an absolute cracker, and standing on The Kop that night was like being on a roller coaster. The ups and downs, twists and turns. It was a truly great game and one that I remember with fondness.

Enjoy!

Having earned a credible 1-1 draw at The Emirates in the first leg, Liverpool knew that if they kept a clean sheet in the second leg of their Champions League Quarter Final tie against Arsenal, then they would be through to another European semi-final.

Unfortunately, their opponents on the day knew that they had to score and started the game in quite spectacular style. Their passing, pace and ability to regain the ball had Liverpool on the ropes and it was no surprise when Alexander Hleb threaded a ball down the right of Liverpool's box that allowed Abou Diaby to power into the box and fire a shot past Pepe Reina at the near post.

I remember the feeling in the ground at the time. It was kind of a mixture of disappointment, acceptance and in truth, admiration, as The Gunners had completely outplayed Liverpool since the start of the game, and it was only a matter of time before they scored. Arsenal, now ahead in the tie, sensed what the crowd sensed; Liverpool were there for the taking. I remember standing on the Kop genuinely worried that we were going to take a pasting in the game, such was the quality of play exhibited by the away team. Luckily, they were unable to capitalise further with another goal, and somewhat against the run of play we managed to get an equaliser thanks to Sami Hyypia. The big Finn managed to lose his marker Philippe Senderos in the box, and he met Steven Gerrard's corner so well that Cesc Fabregas, the man covering the post, could do nothing to prevent the ball hitting the back of the net. It was now 1-1 on the night, 2-2 on aggregate. All square. The next goal would be vital, if Arsenal scored it, we'd end up needing to score twice, but if we got it, we could further knock the confidence of an Arsenal side not known for it's mental toughness in the face of adversity.

Rafa Benitez had decided to play two strikers (Peter Crouch and Fernando Torres) in this game, which seemed slightly odd considering that from the outset, Liverpool only needed to stop their opponents scoring in order to progress. Nobody would have blamed Rafa if he had been slightly more conservative and strengthened his midfield with Lucas Leiva or perhaps he could have deployed Yossi Benayoun in a wide area, thus allowing Steven Gerrard to move inside. Up until the 69th minute, the decision to play two up top didn't really seem to be working as Liverpool struggled to match Arsenal in the middle of the park.

I distinctly remember a fella standing a few rows behind me shouting "For fucks sake Rafa, get Crouch off, there killing us in the middle!" about two minutes before we scored again. Luckily, Rafa didn't agree with the suggestion of this particular supporter and his decision to pair Crouch and Torres, known affectionately by absolutely nobody as CAT, combined to give us the lead. Crouch flicked the ball on to Torres in the box. The Spaniard rocketed us ahead buy turning and striking a shot so powerful that had Manuel Almunia even been able to get behind, well, he'd have been carried into the net with the ball! The noise inside Anfield when that shot went in was unbelievable, and we all got to sing the "Libpool Number Nine" chant again. I loved that song, we all did, shame what happened happened eh?

Anyway, It was now 2-1 on the night, 3-2 on aggregate and all Liverpool had to do was see out the last 20 minutes and they'd be through. Easier said than done!

We were given a massive let off when Emmanuel Adebayor blasted over the bar when he was one on one with Pepe Reina. It was an absolute sitter, and the cheer when he missed it was almost as loud as the ones produced when we scored a goal. These cheers proved to be somewhat premature.

Arsene Wenger made a double change in the 72nd minute, and he brought on Robin Van Persie and Theo Walcott, a move which proved to be inspired.

With seven minutes to go in the game, Jamie Carragher, playing at right back, put in a cross that deflected high into the air. The hapless Senderos got his head to it and it fell perfectly to Steven Gerrard to volley. We held our breath as the ball fell to the skipper but we needn't have done so, he fluffed his lines by completely missing the ball and it fell to Walcott on the edge of his own area.

Off he went, right by Xabi Alonso.

"Should have fouled him."

Next he ran at, and by, Fabio Aurélio.

"Uh Oh!"

He's now in space, being chased by Javier Mascherano.

"Go on Masc, get him! Kick him! Fucking kick him!"

Nope. He out-sprinted Mascherano who ends up falling to the floor.

He's up against Sami on the edge of our area.

"He'll stop him right?"

Wrong! He skips by Hyypia with ease, plays a neat ball across goal to Adebayor who tapped in. Anfield falls silent, apart from the noise coming from the Anfield Road End where the Arsenal fans erupted. I, along with about 40,000 others, was gutted. It was now 2-2 on the night, 3-3 on aggregate and Arsenal were now ahead on away goals. Game over. At least that's what I thought.

Luckily, I was wrong.

Almost immediately from the kick off, Ryan Babel - who'd replaced Peter Crouch in the 78th minute - collected the ball on the right hand side and set off towards goal. He skipped by Kolo Toure and Cesc Fabregas before going down in the box after contact with Toure. I always knew I liked that Toure fella, what's he up to these days? Nah, I'm kidding, he plays for Liverpool. I was just pulling your leg! Apologies if you fell for that cunning rouse. Where was I? Right, penalty. Obviously, from where I was it was a clear penalty. Toure had obviously assaulted poor Ryan. Looking back, it was a bit soft although Kolo did look to pull the Duthman to the ground. Anyway, who cares? The atmosphere in the ground was electric as Steven Gerrard stepped up. Big man for the big moment. He was one on one with Almunia in front of the Kop. Only one outcome was on the cards, and it didn't involve the bleach blonde keeper making a save. Gerrard stuck the ball so sweetly to his left, the keeper's right, and despite guessing correctly, the Spanish keeper didn't stand a chance as the ball went high into the net and Gerrard ran off celebrating as Anfield once again erupted into a cauldron of noise. The semi final was in touching distance now!

That wasn't the end of the action though. Arsenal won a free kick about 10 yards inside there own half. Cesc Fabregas took it and lumped it long. I still don't know why he wasn't in the box and why the goalie didn't take the kick, but I guess that's not important. What is important is that Dirk Kuyt managed to hoof the ball up the pitch and it bounced near the halfway line. It was much closer to Fabregas than Babel, but that didn't matter as Ryan became The Flying Dutchman as he ate up the ground, got to the ball first, out muscled his opponent before cooly finishing low past Almunia. Game over? You better believe it. As Babel looked to the Gods, hands high in the air, about 40,000 people, who about ten minutes earlier were shell-shocked, went absolutely crazy as their team had once again done what it was built to do, reach another European semi-final.

Babel celebrated in front of the Kop with his teammates, including Pepe Reina who made one of his trademark runs to join in, and at that moment it finally dawned on us all that the game was well and truly put to bed, and that the club built upon European nights like this one had once again triumphed when all had seemed lost.

What a game!

I still get goose bumps thinking about it to be honest. I know in the grand scheme of things it won't be remembered with the same fondness of some of the games during the 2004/05 European Cup winning season, and that's understandable in hindsight. However, in that stadium, on that night, we had no idea what the future held and having been at the Olympiakos, Juventus and Cheslea games in the 2004/05 seasons, I can assure you that the atmosphere was equally as exciting in this game as it was in those.

Merry Christmas everybody!
« Last Edit: December 11, 2013, 02:52:39 PM by Heat was in the very sod »

Offline Hinesy

  • RAWK Editor. 57'sy. Caramel log dealer and comma chamaeleon
  • RAWK Staff.
  • Believer
  • ******
  • Posts: 20,285
Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #16 - Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal. CL Quarter Final 2008.
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2013, 12:02:23 AM »
On the day we cuff a London team here's a lovely post about putting 4 past another one. Enjoy.
Yep.

Offline rafa4eva

  • Kopite
  • *****
  • Posts: 558
  • We all Live in a Red and White Kop
Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #16 - Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal. CL Quarter Final 2008.
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2013, 12:20:20 AM »
That run by Walcott, and my despair as mascher, I believe, actually tried to foul him and still couldn't stop him, I laugh now but was gutted and babel, oh babel, what pace, strength and composure to get the winning goal.

Great post, well remembered, that was a ding dong of a game :)




Offline ashleyrose-66

  • Roman doesn't pay my wages anymore!!
  • RAWK Scribe
  • Believer
  • ******
  • Posts: 4,867
  • JUSTICE
    • Parson's Green FC
Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #16 - Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal. CL Quarter Final 2008.
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2013, 09:51:26 AM »
What a game that was!!  I (just like you) remember watching the Walcott run when they replayed the goal and thinking "why didn't he bring him down" and then why didn't HE bring him down" as he ghosted past player after player.  2 or 3 players could have stopped his run, taken a booking and got us back and organised.

I was furious that we had allowed Arsenal to nick the tie because we failed on 3 occasions to stop the run of Walcott.

But then Ryan Babel came to life.   He did what Walcott did.  he ran at the Arsenal defence and they simply couldn't cope.  I couldn't believe what I was watching, but still didn't feel comfortable after the penalty went in.  I was petrified that Arsenal would go down the other end and nick another goal and send us out, so when Babel made it 4, I was in dreamland.

I thought we'd reach the final again, because we were so good in the Champions League, but we fell just short against Chelsea in the semi-final.

Brilliant write-up mate, thanks for that!
PSN: ashleyrose-66

Offline Hellrazor

  • Dreams of a handjob from Timmy Mallett. Chronicler of seasons past. Cares more than Prelude Nr 5, or does he?
  • RAWK Scribe
  • Believer
  • ******
  • Posts: 23,647
  • Take me 2 the magic of the moment on a glory night
Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #16 - Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal. CL Quarter Final 2008.
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2013, 11:01:42 AM »
masch wasnt exactly slow but walcott was even faster, i think masch collided with someone. walcott made some run!

it was an amazing night, we could have been 3 down when hyypia scored. to be fair i thought we played really well until adebayor scored. the last two goals though. fuck me

honestly the last person in the world i wanted to be for that penalty kick was gerrard. and i lost it when babel scored.

it was amazing
yer ma should have called you Paolo Zico Gerry Socrates HELLRAZOR

Offline Foregone Concussion

  • Ultimate Movie Night Draft Winner 2017. King - or Queen - of Mystery. Hyzenthlay. The 5th Benitle's sex conch.
  • RAWK Supporter
  • Believer
  • ******
  • Posts: 55,338
Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #16 - Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal. CL Quarter Final 2008.
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2013, 12:49:54 PM »
Crazy match, one of my favourites during the Rafa era. It twisted and turned like a... twisty-turny thing. Not just the scoreline but the whole flow of the match. Hyypia's header was a thing of beauty and Torres' goal was wonderful strike. When Adebayor scored, I was on the floor - thankfully it lasted for only 30 seconds. Babel sealing it was the icing on the cake to a terrific match. Excellent mate, brought back some memories that.
We have to change from doubter to believer. Now.

Online sinnermichael

  • I copy other people's photoshops and twitter posts and pretend they're mine.
  • Believer
  • ******
  • Posts: 21,325
  • We all Live in a Red and White Kop
Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #16 - Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal. CL Quarter Final 2008.
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2013, 01:20:26 PM »
The best thing about this was the radio city commentary with Aldo going mental and having a pop at Wenger when Babel scored the 4th!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4CYBlInMLE

 ;D


Offline No666

  • Married to Macca.
  • RAWK Scribe
  • Believer
  • ******
  • Posts: 13,996

Offline rafa4eva

  • Kopite
  • *****
  • Posts: 558
  • We all Live in a Red and White Kop
Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #16 - Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal. CL Quarter Final 2008.
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2013, 03:46:59 PM »
Thanks for those links boys, hair and other body parts still start to rise when listening to and watching those clips.... Insane game against another good side who were well up for it.

Offline StevenLFC

  • Charles Colville. Spyin Kop purveyor extraordinaire. Likes pigeons and buses.
  • Believer
  • ******
  • Posts: 7,841
  • @stehoare
    • The Bib Theorists
Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #16 - Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal. CL Quarter Final 2008.
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2013, 12:18:11 AM »
Cheers for the kind words folks.

Offline Lady_brandybuck

  • Duchess of Crackers, Mermaid of the Caribbean Sea and Amazon goddess (Current Empress of Tenochtitlan) - if she drank it would be deffo in pints.
  • RAWK Supporter
  • Believer
  • ******
  • Posts: 11,348
  • Available for parties and dinners.
Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #16 - Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal. CL Quarter Final 2008.
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2013, 09:31:41 PM »
This is one of my favourite games, I think I still have it in my PC. A true roller coaster of emotions!

Well done
"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies"

Offline Hinesy

  • RAWK Editor. 57'sy. Caramel log dealer and comma chamaeleon
  • RAWK Staff.
  • Believer
  • ******
  • Posts: 20,285
Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #16 - Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal. CL Quarter Final 2008.
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2013, 12:04:26 AM »
Bump for Christmas
Yep.

Offline Dingle Red

  • Believer
  • ******
  • Posts: 1,313
  • we all live in the red and white kop
Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #16 - Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal. CL Quarter Final 2008.
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2013, 12:57:21 AM »
Brilliant read that mate, summed up a proper mad night of Football Brilliantly. I remember the delayed reaction when Torres turned and bent that shot in. Took a second for everyone to get on to what he just done.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2013, 12:59:02 AM by Dingle Red »

Offline timmyonions

  • Believer
  • ******
  • Posts: 2,762
  • Justice for the 96
    • timmyonions@gmail.com
Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #16 - Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal. CL Quarter Final 2008.
« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2013, 01:13:11 AM »
Superb piece that pal.Great times they were and ill be forever grateful to Rafa for them.I hope there's many more coming soon.

Happy Christmas Rawkites. :wave
That right peg hits it and you see the future arc of the ball and time goes al gluey like a Dali painting, and for a second there's a 20yr old StevenGerrard and your young self cheering him on through the prism. His big smile fades in an the net is shivering and J.Hart's trying not to look grateful for the privilege of being that close to greatness

Offline TravisBickle

  • KnowsVotersAreFickle!
  • Believer
  • ******
  • Posts: 4,778
  • RAWK n' Roll
Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #16 - Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal. CL Quarter Final 2008.
« Reply #14 on: December 25, 2013, 01:26:04 AM »
 Of all the great European nights we had under Rafa, this is probably the most under-rated. An absolute rollercoaster of emotions and a wonderful result. Made me feel honoured to be a red.
"My idea was to build Liverpool into a bastion of invincibility. Napoleon had that idea and he conquered the bloody world! And that's what I wanted; for Liverpool to be untouchable. My idea was to build Liverpool up and up and up until eventually everyone would have to submit and give in."

Offline redintweed

  • Anny Roader
  • ****
  • Posts: 420
  • We all Live in a Red and White Kop
Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #16 - Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal. CL Quarter Final 2008.
« Reply #15 on: December 25, 2013, 09:23:59 AM »
Remember this as well?  ;D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymTnuhi7R34

Gotta love Thommo's passion. Thought he was going to blow a gasket. Great game. Thought Babel was really going to kick on after that.
I'd rather play for Liverpool Reserves than Everton.

Offline Thush

  • Spawwow, Tit. Anal Chat is "Equidistant between chit-chat and analysis"
  • RAWK Supporter
  • Believer
  • ******
  • Posts: 2,866
  • It's pronounced "Toosh"
Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #16 - Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal. CL Quarter Final 2008.
« Reply #16 on: December 25, 2013, 10:00:23 AM »
One of the things I remember most about that game is how the tide changed completely with the Flamini substitution. It felt like he'd been bossing our midfield the whole game and when he went off, it all changed in our favour. I'd never really understood/rated his contribution to their side until that point, but after the game, it was like, "Ohhh. So *that's* what he does!". :)

Offline gmcw9

  • Main Stander
  • ***
  • Posts: 85
  • @g_mc9
Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #16 - Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal. CL Quarter Final 2008.
« Reply #17 on: December 25, 2013, 10:19:21 AM »
This was the last game at Anfield I was at. Really need to get down more often, what an atmosphere that night! Had the perfect view of that Torres strike, what a player he was...
25-05-05