Arsenal stormed back to preserve a priceless point against Liverpool at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.
Arsène Wenger's side seemed to be slipping to an acutely disappointing defeat thanks to an early goal from Luis Suarez and Jordan Henderson's strike on the hour.
- Mertesacker Yellow Card
- Vermaelen (C)
- Gibbs 37
- Cazorla Yellow Card
- Walcott Goal!
- Giroud Goal! Yellow Card
- Andre Santos 37
- Gerrard (C) Yellow Card
- Henderson Goal!
- Suarez Goal!
- Sturridge 71
- Jose Enrique 71
But Olivier Giroud nodded in his 14th goal of the season three minutes later and Theo Walcott rifled home his 18th this term shortly afterwards as Arsenal turned this hugely-entertaining game on it head.
Arsenal pushed and pushed for a winner, driven by the ingenuity of Santi Cazorla, the pace of Walcott and willingness of Giroud.
Liverpool had late chances too and both sides left the field knowing they might have got more but could have got less.
A great game and great comeback by Arsenal.
Before kick-off, the two managers had gone into this crucial fixture on the back of very different weekends in the FA Cup. Arsenal had won a tight tie 3-2 at Brighton, Liverpool had lost by the same score at Oldham.
Both had rested players then but they were full strength tonight.
Arsenal had enjoyed a couple of heartening wins of late but Liverpool's Premier League form - six wins out of nine - had brought them within three points of their hosts.
Victory this evening would re-ignite their hopes of Champions League qualification.
And they made the best possible start by scoring after just five minutes.
It all started with Sagna's slip. Glen Johnson profited and crossed low from the left. Daniel Sturridge saw his shot saved by the legs of Wojciech Szczesny but the ball flew out to Suarez who fired home from the edge of a crowded area.
It was a messy goal to concede at any time but especially so early.
However Arsenal might have been level within seconds. Wilshere's perceptive ‘reverse' ball split the Liverpool defence for Walcott running down the right-hand channel. His shot was powerful but Pepe Reina made a magnificent one-handed stop.
Even when Arsenal were struggling, Giroud had been a believer. With the game there for the taking, he was everywhere
Arsenal were pressing but Liverpool were breaking effectively. The action was pacy and pointed; everything Premier League football should be.
The quick-breaking Suarez curled a ball into the path of Sturridge but he dragged his shot wide. Then the same striker nearly tackled Szczesny after the keeper tried a trick in the six-yard box.
At the other end, Podolski drove forward and Giroud smashed his cross just wide. Then, in the 17th minute, Ramsey's goalbound shot was blocked and Reina made a fine save after Walcott tried to find the far corner from the rebound.
Midway through the half, Cazorla fed Podolski on the left and, with Giroud lurking, Steven Gerrard made an unconvincing clearance for a corner.
Five minutes later, Daniel Agger made much more certain contact with his captain's corner and Podolski booted the ball off the line.
Arsenal were having possession and pressure but Liverpool were picking them apart on the break. With the cushion of the goal, the visitors could afford stay compact and concentrated, biding their time.
Nine minutes before half-time, Gibbs limped off and Santos replaced him. Play started with a Liverpool free-kick that saw Szczesny make another flying save from an Agger header.
Arsenal ended the half well - Giroud and Cazorla saw shots blocked - but, in the dying minutes, Henderson drew Szczesny to him on the left but the Liverpool midfielder's chip drifted inches over.
Despite ample effort, it had been a chastening 45 minutes for Arsenal, but they emerged for the second half with renewed purpose.
Arsenal pushed and pushed for a winner, driven by the ingenuity of Santi Cazorla, the pace of Walcott and willingness of Giroud
Podolski had a half-shout for a penalty after being bundled over by Andre Wisdom. Walcott then headed over and Podolski's free-kick and powerful follow-up were charged down.
Arsenal were about as threatening as they had been all game but it was Liverpool who would score.
Henderson went clear on the right faced with a couple of home defenders. The Liverpool midfielder showed admirable tenacity but he gained a couple of fortunate ricochets off Arsenal legs to gain the space to fire home.
When your luck is out...
Arsenal needed a response and quickly.
Fortunately they found it...
First, Wilshere's free-kick drifted over the Liverpool defence and found Giroud ghosting in at the far post. The Frenchman headed home with glee.
About 150 seconds later, the game was level. Cazorla drove in from the right and Giroud cushioned a touch into the path of Walcott.
He fired home a low cross-shot in the corner.
The atmosphere had u-turned, albeit the direction of the game the same as it had been throughout the second half - towards the Liverpool goal.
Arsenal were looking for a winner while Rodgers withdrew Sturridge for Luis Enrique - a seemingly defensive move.
Mertesacker nodded a header just over the angle of post and bar while, ten minutes from time, Cazorla's breakaway culminated with the Spaniard fizzing a shot across the face of goal.
Then little magician and Walcott combined for Giroud to shovel a shot towards goal. Reina scrambled a save and, from the corner, the Frenchman headed over.
Even when Arsenal were struggling, Giroud had been a believer. With the game there for the taking, he was everywhere.
He might have found a winner five minutes from time but he made inconclusive contact with Podolsi's cross and the effort dribbled wide.
In injury time, a slip from Santos saw Suarez go clear on the right and Szczesny got enough on his low drive to push the ball beyond the far post.
A breathless finish to a breathless game and probably a fair result.Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 1 Feb 2013