Gunners shot down by Reds

Liverpool to face Chelsea in semi-finals after 4-2 win

Liverpool burst into the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League as Rafa Benitez's side claimed a 4-2 second-leg success over Arsenal in a dramatic encounter at Anfield.

A fascinating fixture - the third of the recent trilogy - ended 5-3 on aggregate after last week's first leg at The Emirates ended in a 1-1 draw.

Abou Diaby handed The Gunners a dream start on 13 minutes when he fired past Jose Reina; but Sami Hyypia's thumping header drew the sides level.

The free-scoring Fernando Torres then struck a classy second for the home side as The Reds appeared to be heading for the final four.

However, Theo Walcott's sensational solo run saw him assist Emmanuel Adebayor, who tapped home to swing the tie back in Arsenal's favour on away goals.

The drama continued to unfold, and Benitez's men made it 3-2 just two minutes later as Steven Gerrard dispatched from the penalty spot after Kolo Toure felled Ryan Babel, before the Dutchman wrapped up the success in injury-time.


The Gunners started in sensational style, displaying blistering pace, strength in the tackle and sublime passing skills. Liverpool were stretched every way possible.

Alexander Hleb, in a central role supporting Adebayor, was a constant danger and they were ahead in the 13th minute.

Anfield was stunned into silence as Hleb threaded a ball down the right for Abou Diaby to surge into the box before crashing home a shot between Jose Reina and his near post.

For 30 minutes Arsenal had been impressive and Liverpool struggled against Arsene Wenger's men.

However, they equalised through veteran Hyypia. The 34-year-old, with a newly-signed contract this week, produced a towering header from Gerrard's corner that crashed into the net on the half-hour off Manuel Almunia's post.

Liverpool were buoyed by their leveller and Gerrard flashed a 30-yard shot wide.

Then Arsenal suffered the blow of Mathieu Flamini being carried off after looking to have fallen awkwardly on an ankle. Gilberto came on after 40 minutes. By now Liverpool looked a changed side; steaming forward, their confidence restored.


Fabio Aurelio's shot was deflected agonisingly wide by Crouch, Torres having provided the cross.

It was the Spain striker, quiet up to that point, who forced Liverpool ahead. Crouch's flick-on reached the Liverpool goal machine in the box, he turned Senderos with ease before firing his shot into the top corner.

Wenger responded by replacing Diaby and Emmanuel Eboue with Robin Van Persie and Theo Walcott, knowing another Arsenal goal would put them through.

Adebayor then missed when clean through before Babel came on for Crouch, who left the field to a standing ovation.

Liverpool switched back to their preferred system, with Gerrard working behind Torres while two holding players protected the midfield.

But with Liverpool on the attack, Arsenal caught them cold on the break. Walcott embarked on an amazing run from his own half before pulling the ball back for Adebayor to drill in the equaliser after 83 minutes.

However, The Reds rallied. Straight from the restart, Babel surged into the box and was brought down by Kolo Toure.

Swedish referee Peter Frojdfeldt pointed to the spot, and with the Kop in hushed agony, Gerrard drove the penalty high into the net.

The end

John Arne Riise came on for Torres, Liverpool desperate for the end now. Another Gunners goal would again see them through.

But with Arsenal up in numbers in Liverpool's box for a free-kick, the ball broke from the mass of players to be belted forward for Babel to outpace Fabregas to gloriously drive home the fourth.

Alvaro Arbeloa came on for a shattered Kuyt, and there was nothing left now from Wenger's men as Anfield celebrated.