Great night, great game – greatest teams

by admin

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Best Premier League game of the season

Yet another game of glorious football was dished up by the Premier League’s finest as Liverpool swapped goals with Arsenal in an enthralling 4-4 draw at Anfield last night.

Ironically, under Rafael Benitez, Liverpool have gained a reputation as a side that have deterred from thrilling forward play and have relied heavily on a solid defence and a counter attacking style of football.

Yet in the short period of a week, Liverpool have been involved in two incredible games, both ending in four-all-draws.

Last Tuesday in the Champions League, Liverpool went out on aggregate 7-5 in the quarter finals to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, after the second leg amazingly finished four-a-piece in one of the most exciting matches seen in the competitions history.

And again last night in a massive see-saw tussle against Arsenal, Liverpool scored four but had to settle for a draw, as defences went walk-about in one of the Premier League’s greatest encounters.

Arsenal have also been previously tarnished for being a side known as effective but dull and defensive – albeit pre Arsene Wenger and mainly under the leadership of George Graham – when the famous chant of one-nil to the Arsenal often echoed around the stadium.

Thankfully last night, for the spectators but not the managers, both sides’ defences went on a sabbatical as Liverpool and Arsenal produced an onslaught of sometimes outrageous attacking football that yielded eight goals and plenty more goalmouth incidents.

So in honour of yesterday’s pulsating game, I have selected a Liverpool v Arsenal greatest XI’s that would grace any occasion and any stadium. Two teams to whet the appetite of both Liverpool and Arsenal supporters alike, although none of those in yesterdays unforgettable encounter make the starting line-ups. That’s right, not even El Niño himself – Fernando Torres, or the four-goal Gunner, Andrei Arshavin.

But feel free to purr and cluck at those that do.

In goal I have gone for the keeper that made the most appearances for Liverpool in-between the sticks, and one of England’s finest – Ray Clemence, who managed 61 caps for his country, even with Peter Shilton around.

The guardian of the Arsenal net is everyone’s favourite ponytailed keeper (especially if your name is Nayim or Ronaldinho) – David Seamen, who kept goal for the Gunners between 1990 and 2003.

At right back for Liverpool, I have Mr versatile and former Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year, Steve Nicol, who just gets the nod over Phil Neal for two reasons. First, Nicol would fill in anywhere in the defence or midfield if there was an injury, and second, unlike Neal, he didn’t act like a parrot to Graham Taylor during his England managerial days.

Again for Arsenal, it is a toss-up between two. Current Assistant-Manager and former Gunner captain, Pat Rice, or current BBC pundit Lee Dixon. Rice wins it in a photo-finish as I believe he was the better defender.

At left back for Liverpool, I’m going for ‘crazy horse’ himself, former captain and Liverpool legend – Emlyn Hughes, who was equally comfortable in midfield, in the centre of defence or at left back.

For Arsenal, I have selected England’s most capped full back, Kenny Sansom, who played 86 times for his country and was known for his attacking surges down the left.

My two Liverpool centre backs were so good together that they decided to renew their partnership for the BBC’s Match of the Day programme. Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson were two of the best central defenders that this country has ever seen and possibly the best pairing in Europe in the eighties.

For the Arsenal centre backs, I have gone for the calm and composed figure of David O’Leary alongside the ultimate no-nonsense, get stuck-in warrior of Tony Adams – who would be my captain for the Gunners.

For the midfield of Liverpool, I have gone for king Kevin Keegan on the right, the mouth-watering prospect of current captain Steven Gerrard and my selection for captain Graeme Souness in the middle of the park, and the silky-skills of John Barnes on the left.

Arsenal have the Gallic magic of Robert Pires on the right, the steel and guile of Patrick Vieira in the middle and the mercurial wizardry of current youth team director – Liam ‘Chippy’ Brady on the left.

Upfront for Liverpool would be the pairing that most Liverpool fans would plump for – the club’s record goal-scorer, Ian Rush, and possibly the club’s greatest ever player – Kenny Dalglish.

Arsenal have the luxury of two of Europe’s finest ever imports to the Premier League in Dutch master Dennis Bergkamp and possibly the club’s best ever acquisition – Thierry Henry, who took over the reins as the club’s highest ever goal-scorer from Ian Wright, who is the third and final forward in my Arsenal line-up.

My three subs would be Peter Beardsley, Michael Owen and Fernando Torres for Liverpool and Frank McLintock, Frank Stapleton and Cesc Fabregas for Arsenal.

So there you have it… what a line-up!


Ray Clemence, Steve Nicol, Alan Hansen, Mark Lawrenson, Emlyn Hughes, Kevin Keegan, Steven Gerrard, Graeme Souness, John Barnes, Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush . Subs: Peter Beardsley, Michael Owen, Fernando Torres


David Seamen, Pat Rice, David O’Leary, Tony Adams, Kenny Sansom, Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira, Liam Brady, Dennis Bergkamp, Ian Wright, Thierry Henry Subs: Frank McLintock, Frank Stapleton, Cesc Fabregas

Watch out for Dexy’s Ultimate 11’s this Monday featuring Liverpool

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  • Darren

    Robbie Fowler was better then Owen, he was a thorn in Arsenals side, his 4 minute hatrick was sensational. He always scored against us, shame he has a massive conk!

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