Reds 1 Gunners 0 – what the bosses thought

The two managers were happy with their teams’ efforts after last night’s clash between Liverpool and Arsenal, but it was Reds boss Rafael Benitez that went to bed happiest. Liverpool clearly dominated the game last night but looked set to come away with only a point – that was until Luis Garcia hit the net to give Liverpool a 1-0 win and all three points.

Arsenal’s ‘keeper Jens Lehmann had been in top form all night, saving a penalty and tipping over a near own-goal. Even the winner on 86 minutes came after he’d kept out a wonder-strike from his compatriot Didi Hamann. The rebound fell to Hamann’s fellow substitute Garcia, who managed to turn the ball in from close range – but even that was nearly saved by Lehmann. Rafael Benitez joined the praise for the Arsenal ‘keeper: “We deserved to win with the number of chances that we created, even if it was unbelievable to see the saves that Lehmann made. It is too soon to write off Arsenal, they still have a lot of games left. If we finish in the top two fantastic, if we don’t we at least have shown a lot of fight trying to make it happen.”

Rafa was pleased with how hard his players worked: “We showed we wanted this and worked hard for it. If you play well and don’t win then you start having doubts, but at the moment we have great confidence in what we are doing.”

Didi Hamann had been brought on for Xabi Alonso who seemed to be
nursing an injury, whereas Cisse and Garcia were brought on to try and
bring something different to the Liverpool side. Rafa says that the
changes gave Liverpool that edge they needed to turn domination into
victory: “It was a very difficult match, when it is level you are
always worried about a breakaway. But we were able to bring on new
players and they made a difference. Luis Garcia is a player with an
instinct for goals, I told him to play on the right and attack. And the
change in the game arrived when these three were brought in.”

For the Arsenal boss he felt there was always a chance they’d take the
points themselves with a goal on the break: “I thought maybe we could
nick a goal you know because we tried to push high up and to score.
It’s regrettable because we had a throw in for us and a goal for them,
so short to go and no chance to come back; it’s very difficult to
take.” Arsenal had been given a throw but a foul throw was awarded,
which Riise launched into the box. The ball was cleared, but only to
Didi Hamann who blasted a shot through a crowded box from well outside
the area before the rebound was turned in by Garcia. Wenger says that
the Gunners now have to keep their heads up and recover from the
disappointment: “We fight hard and we have to stick together and bounce
back from that. They had the penalty and maybe more clear cut chances
than we had.”

Wenger says Arsenal had opportunities in the first half to bring on a
completely different outcome: “You know we had a few chances, and
especially in the first half we had an offside given on Adebayor that
was the opening goal maybe so it could have gone both ways. Liverpool
was a bit more dangerous than we were but in the end we gave it

Wenger was asked by the Sky Sports reporter if Arsenal’s problems,
especially away from home, were in their minds: “No it is not a
psychological problem. Football is a reality on the pitch and we lost
the ball tonight in some locations where we should not lose the ball
and put ourselves in trouble because of that. But the spirit was right,
the players gave absolutely everything and we are slowly getting