Champions League: Liverpool holds Arsenal to tie

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{image-liver pool_03042008.jpg}London, April 3: Liverpool will fancy their chances of making the Champions League last four after earning a 1-1 draw at Arsenal in the quarter-final first leg.

Emmanuel Adebayor put the Gunners ahead in the 23rd minute but Dirk Kuyt drew Liverpool level just three minutes later and, despite dominating most of the game, Arsenal Wenger's side could not find a second goal at the Emirates Stadium.
The two sides meet in north London again in the Premier League on Saturday before action switches to Anfield next Tuesday for the return leg of this finely-balanced tie.

There was a predictably tentative start to action but Jose Reina almost presented Arsenal with the opening goal in the sixth minute when he came rushing out of his goal as Adebayor surged clear.

The Togo striker got to the ball first but Reina - still outside of the box - managed to block his attempted cross with an outstretched leg.
Robin van Persie missed a good chance on 20 minutes when he volleyed Mathieu Flamini's chip over the bar from eight yards, and the striker was denied again three minutes later when Reina tipped his low 20-yard effort around the post.

Arsenal did not have to wait long to take the lead, though, as Adebayor headed in the resulting corner after finding space in the box.
Liverpool hit back immediately, drawing level in the 26th minute when Steven Gerrard drove past two players into the box before delivering a low cross that Kuyt stabbed home after getting ahead of Gael Clichy and Phillippe Senderos.

Ryan Babel tested Manuel Almunia from 20 yards before half-time as Rafa Benitez's side sought an even more crucial second goal, while Theo Walcott, introduced as a half-time substitute, curled an effort inches wide 10 minuets into the second period.
A superb move involving Adebayor and Walcott presented Emmanuel Eboue with an opportunity in the 65th minute but the wideman was stretching and his flick towards goal was cleared.

The ball was soon back with Alex Hleb, though, and he thought he had won Arsenal a penalty when he appeared to be pulled back in the box by Kuyt, with the referee instead pointing for a corner kick.

It was almost one-way traffic now and Liverpool had an unbelievable let-off in the 71st minute when Nicklas Bendtner - only just on as a substitute for Eboue - got in the way of Fabregas' shot on the line after Reina had punched Adebayor's cross straight to the midfielder in the box.
The vLiverpool boss Rafael Benitez said: "I have seen the replay of the penalty appeal. But in England that sort of thing is not given, because it was not clear."

Wenger believes Arsenal deserved to take a lead to Anfield. I feel we were not rewarded for what we produced," he added.

"To finish that game 1-1 is disappointing. We produced the performances we wanted and we had the chances to win it.
"Liverpool created very little, and the whole second half was played in one half.
" I cannot fault my players - we were unlucky on several occasions."

But Benitez is confident Liverpool will have an advantage playing in front of their fanatical support at Anfield.
He said: "I do not think we are favourites now, not against a team like Arsenal.

"But we will be at Anfield, with our own supporters, and it will be a massive difference.

"We will be playing against a fantastic team who have all the ability to hit us on the break - just like we did."

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