Tue, Nov 30, 2004 - Page 20 News List

Arsenal endures a loss from Liverpool

EUROPEAN FOOTBALL The 2-1 defeat put the Gunners 5 points behind the English Premier League-leading Blues in the standings. Rangers lead in the Scottish standings

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Liverpool's Neil Mellor, back, tackles Arsenal's Sol Campbell during their English Premier League match at Anfield in Liverpool, England on Sunday. Liverpool won 2-1.

PHOTO: AP

Neil Mellor drove home a 30m shot for the winner deep into injury time as Arsenal tumbled 2-1 at Liverpool on Sunday to fall five points behind Chelsea in the Premier League title race.

A young striker who's only on the Liverpool lineup because of long term injuries to Milan Baros and Djibril Cisse punished a rare mistake by Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure who failed to deal with a long clearance by goalkeeper Chris Kirkland.

The ball came free to Mellor who beat Patrick Vieira to the loose ball and aimed a low shot that flew past Jens Lehmann inside the far post for the winner.

The victory lifted Rafael Benitez' team up to seventh in the standings. But it was another bad loss for Arsene Wenger's men who now see Chelsea well clear in the title race after the Blues' 4-0 victory at Charlton on Saturday. Chelsea has 36 points from 15 games and Arsenal has 31.

"The way we lost the game was difficult to take because the game was over," Wenger said. "[Mellor] took a chance out of nowhere and we have to take it."

"We play many games at the moment and have no time to recover," said the Arsenal manager, whose team visits Manchester United in a League Cup quarterfinal on Wednesday and faces Chelsea in the Premier League in two weeks time.

"It was a fantastic result after a fantastic game," Benitez said. "All the goals were very, very good and the last one at the end of the game was a fantastic one."

Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso fired Liverpool ahead four minutes before half time after a high quality move that began with a long accurate pass from Steve Finnan. Steven Gerrard fed the Spaniard with a well-timed pass into space and he fired home.

But that goal was matched by a typical Arsenal strike, Vieira stroking the ball past the 'keeper after Robert Pires and Thierry Henry had opened up the Liverpool defense with one-touch passes on the edge of the area.

Tottenham's miserable run of six losses in a row ended with an impressive 2-0 beating of high-flying Middlesbrough while third place Everton managed a 1-1 tie at Newcastle.

Spanish midfielder Nacho Novo fired Glasgow Rangers to the top of the Scottish Premier League with two goals in a 3-2 beating of Hearts as defending champion Celtic was held 2-2 at last place Dundee.

Alex McLeish's men, who trailed Celtic by seven points a month ago, went behind at home to Hearts when Paul Hartley put the visitor ahead from the penalty spot in the 16th minute.

But the Gers leveled in the final minute of the first half when Hearts' Jamie McAllister deflected in Peter Lovenkrands' cross to Fernando Ricksen for an own goal.

Novo fired Rangers ahead in the 56th minute but Hearts hit back with an equalizer from Mark de Vries 10 minutes later.

A tie would have kept Rangers back in second place but Novo headed home a lofted pass from Stephen Hughes with eight minutes to go for the winner.

Two goals by Steve Lovell stopped Martin O'Neill's Celtic collecting three points at Dundee.

Lovell gave Dundee the lead at Dens Park with a goal 10 minutes before half time but strikes in nine minutes after the break by Henri Camara and John Hartson gave the defending champion a 2-1 lead.

But Lovell struck again with 14 minutes to go when he lobbed home a cross from Garry Brady.

While the tie dragged Celtic off the top, it also took Dundee off the bottom with Livingston now in last place despite a 3-1 victory at Kilmarnock on Saturday.

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