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16 Aug 2010

A mistake by Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina allowed Arsenal to salvage a draw against a Reds side who had Joe Cole sent off on his Premier League debut.
Cole was red-carded for a lunge on Laurent Koscielny before David Ngog's driven shot put Liverpool ahead.

The lead lasted until the last minute when Marouane Chamakh diverted a cross against the post and Reina spilled the rebound into his own net.
Koscielny was then sent off for a second bookable offence in injury-time.
The late drama capped a frantic finish to the game, with Reina the unlikely culprit as victory eluded a Liverpool side who had resolutely held Arsenal at bay.
Reina had produced two key earlier saves to help maintain Liverpool's lead as the Reds had defended with discipline and determination to neutralise Arsenal after Cole had received the first red card of his career.

The arrival of Cole at Anfield on a free transfer had been heralded as one of the transfer coups of the summer, with Liverpool desperate for the kind of creativity and invention the playmaker would bring.
But, instead of the England international arriving to help restore Liverpool's fortunes, his Premier League debut for the Merseysiders quickly turned into a nightmare.
He had been deployed in his favoured position in the hole behind striker Ngog but he cut a subdued figure as he failed to get into the game, with Arsenal quickly closing him down on the rare occasions he was in possession.
His afternoon got worse on the stroke of half-time when he produced a reckless challenge on Koscielny and referee Martin Atkinson wasted little time in producing a straight red card.
Koscielny was stretchered off, although he did come back out after the break.

Cole's dismissal had come shortly after a Glen Johnson shot had been tipped over the bar by Arsenal keeper Manuel Almunia and an Ngog header from a Gerrard corner had been cleared off the line by Gael Clichy.
Those were rare chances in an opening half in which Arsenal had easily dominated possession and looked the more threatening.
It appeared the Gunners, with the numerical advantage of an extra player, would only add to the danger they posed but they were jolted out of any sort of complacency.
The visitors gave possession away on the edge of their area and Javier Mascherano seized on the loose ball to play in Ngog, who angled in a shot which Almunia will be disappointed to have let in at his near post.
Arsenal were shaken and the 10 men of Liverpool seized the initiative, with Ngog wasting a promising chance to add to the lead when he headed a Steven Gerrard free-kick over from six yards.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had insisted beforehand that his side were ready to launch a title assault this season and this was an early test of their credentials.
The visitors passed and probed and went close as Thomas Vermaelen headed wide from a Tomas Rosicky cross, before Reina tipped a Theo Walcott free-kick round the post.
Reina also tipped a Rosicky strike just over the bar but Arsenal were frustrated by the fortitude of a Liverpool side showing the type of character and combativeness they hoped would secure a notable win - even with a groggy Daniel Agger struggling after being hit by a ball in the face.
However, when Rosicky whipped in a cross into the Reds area in the 89 minute, Reina's normal assured manner deserted him and Arsenal were provided with a share of the spoils.


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