Arsenal and Liverpool sign off at home with narrow victories

Arsenal and Liverpool signed off their home seasons with narrow victories in the English Premier League.

updated: May 10, 2008 07:47 IST
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Arsenal and Liverpool signed off their home seasons with narrow victories in the English Premier League.

Arsenal beat Everton 1-0 at the Emirates Stadium thanks to a second-half goal by Nicklas Bendtner, while Fernando Torres was the scorer as Liverpool edged out Manchester City by the same score at Anfield, on Sunday.

Arsenal remain third, with 80 points, one behind Chelsea, who have a game in hand. Back in fourth, Liverpool moved on to 73 points, extending their lead over Everton to 11 points.

Everton will have to wait to have fifth spot - and the final UEFA Cup spot - wrapped up after they were beaten at Arsenal.

Bendtner scored the only goal of the game late in the second half, thumping home a header past Tim Howard.

In a lacklustre match, the home side were able to bring on goalkeeper Jens Lehmann in the second half to make what appears to be his final home appearance for Arsenal.

Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, was proud of his team's efforts this season and vowed they would come back stronger next season.

"Overall, the way we played throughout the season was outstanding. We didn't lose at home in any competition," said Wenger.

"We were so close. But like every winner, when you feel you can do it, let's come back next year and do it."

Everton can seal their place in next season's UEFA Cup with a victory at home next week against Newcastle, while rivals Aston Villa travel to West Ham Utd.

"We've been fourth or fifth all year so we want to try to hang on to that," said Everton manager David Moyes.

"I think our team has improved again this season. Already we've taken more points in the league than when we did qualify for the Champions League in 2005."

At Anfield, both Liverpool and Manchester City played out a tepid first half but the game burst into life in the second half as Elano hit the post from a free kick for City before Torres, on 58 minutes, burst past Richard Dunne and put the ball through the legs of goalkeeper Joe Hart.

The Spaniard's goal equalled Roger Hunt's record for Liverpool in scoring in eight successive league matches at Anfield.

The home side had several good chances to increase their lead as Dirk Kuyt's header struck the bar and Ryan Babel missed an easy chance from close range.

But as Manchester City came back into the match in the dying stages, Liverpool were left happy simply to take all three points from the match.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez refused to comment after the match on speculation linking Aston Villa captain Gareth Barry with a summer transfer to Anfield.

But even with the club's boardroom difficulties rumbling on, Benitez was optimistic that improvements to his squad could be made in the summer.

"It's not perfect but we can progress and I think we can keep working in the coming weeks to sign the players that we want."

Throughout the match Manchester City fans chanted continued support for their manager Sven Goran Eriksson, under pressure from Thai owner Thaksin Shinawatra.

"It's nice that they appreciate what they have seen during the season and they believe that their team has a future," said Eriksson.