Fri, Jan 15, 2016 - Page 20 News List

Arsenal lose outright lead after late equalizer

AP, LONDON and LIVERPOOL, England

Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud celebrates after scoring a goal during their game against Liverpool at Anfield in Liverpool, England, on Wednesday.

Photo: Reuters

Arsenal conceded a 90th-minute equalizer against Liverpool to lose their outright lead in the Premier League on Wednesday.

Only a superior goal difference is keeping Arsenal above Leicester City after the 3-3 draw at Anfield.

“Unfortunately, it’s January, not May,” Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri said. “We have to remain calm and believe in what we’re doing.”

Robert Huth scored the winner for Leicester in the 83rd minute.

An end-to-end game that started in the rain and finished in the snow got a fitting conclusion when substitute Joe Allen steered home a late volley that salvaged a point for Liverpool.

“Hopefully, we are not going to have to regret this goal at the end of the championship,” said Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud, who scored two of his team’s goals.

Four goals were scored in 15 frantic minutes in the first half, with Roberto Firmino twice giving Liverpool the lead, only for Aaron Ramsey and Giroud to bring Arsenal level.

Giroud’s turn and finish in the 55th put Arsenal in front for the first time, but Allen struck to spark a sideline celebration by Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp that was as wild as the game.

“There was no time to blink during the match,” Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil tweeted.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger could not conceal his frustration after the game.

However, Wenger claimed that the thrilling contest underlined his team’s title credentials as he challenged his players to use their disappointment as a motivation for a first English crown in 12 years.

“I am frustrated by the result and not disappointed by the performance, even if we started a bit apprehensively,” Wenger said.

“The frustration comes from the fact that at 3-2, we had three situations when we could have made it 4-2 and made a bad decision.”

“That was a frustration for me, but that can happen in England, but overall a game between two teams who gave absolutely everything,” he said. “Look at the results tonight it showed everywhere is even.”

“I feel they need to transform that frustration into more motivation for the next game, because there are more positives than negatives tonight,” he said. “What happened tonight strengthened my belief we can have a big part to play in this league.”

Wenger said he hopes to bolster his team before their visit to Stoke City on Sunday — traditionally a tough fixture for his team — with the injured Alexis Sanchez and new signing Mohamed Elneny both potentially in contention.

“I am a bit cautious now,” Wenger said of Sanchez and his hamstring injury.

“There is an opportunity he will be involved in the squad on Sunday. Friday and Saturday will be two important days,” he said. “Elneny has joined us and we will see if he can qualify for Sunday.”

The game also featured a verbal exchange between Wenger and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp on the touchline, although both made light of the incident after the game.

“I told him to just calm down or I will send you to stands,” joked Wenger. “I don’t know really why. At Liverpool it is very tight, you are very close to each other.”

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