Liverpool overcame the dismissal of Joe Cole before halftime to tie Arsenal 1-1 in their opening match in English soccer’s Premier League yesterday.
The Reds were only denied a win at Anfield when goalkeeper Jose Reina spilled the ball into his own net late on. Liverpool played the entire second half with 10 men and took the lead in the 46th minute on a David N’Gog goal.
“We’re very disappointed, but at halftime you’d take the draw,” Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher told Sky Sports. “We defended very well, but unfortunately gave a goal away.”
Carragher refused to blame Reina for the goal and called him “the best goalkeeper in the world.”
Arsenal also finished with 10 men after Laurent Koscielny was red-carded in injury time on his debut.
Liverpool, which failed to qualify for the Champions League after finishing seventh last season, is aiming for its first league title since 1990. Arsenal was third in the last campaign.
The Gunners had the first effort on target yesterday, Thomas Vermaelen testing Reina from a long-range free kick. Dirk Kuyt created a couple of opportunities for Liverpool.
The hosts came close twice in the final minute of the first half, with a Glen Johnson shot tipped over by Manuel Almunia, then N’Gog’s header was cleared off the line by fullback Gael Clichy.
Cole, on his league debut after joining from Chelsea, was dismissed moments later for a foul on Koscielny near the corner flag. Koscielny left the field on a stretcher, although he was able to return for the second half.
Liverpool was ahead soon after the break as N’Gog scored for a fourth time in three games, firing past Almunia from a tight angle. He got three goals in Liverpool’s UEFA Cup qualifying matchup against Rabotnicki.
N’Gog then headed off target and Martin Skrtel also came close as Liverpool looked to increase its lead.
Arsenal started to create a few chances, with Tomas Rosicky forcing Reina to tip over. Maxi Rodriguez then cleared from in front of goal after a scramble.
In injury time, Marouane Chamakh hit the post and the ball rebounded against Reina. The goalkeeper failed to hold it and was only able to divert the ball over the line.
“We had a lot of possession but Liverpool defended well and we didn’t create many chances,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told Sky Sports. “Altogether it’s a good result at Liverpool.”
Two days ago, Chelsea opened the defense of its title with a 6-0 win against West Bromwich Albion. Runner-up Manchester United hosts Newcastle tonight.
Also at the weekend, Blackpool won 4-0 at Wigan, Aston Villa defeated West Ham 3-0, and Tottenham and Manchester City tied 0-0. Blackburn beat Everton 1-0, Sunderland drew 2-2 against Birmingham, the match between Bolton and Fulham was scoreless, and Wolverhampton Wanderers opened with a 2-1 victory against Stoke.