Arsène Wenger did not conceal his anger towards referee Pieter Vink last night accusing the Dutch official of having missed a "blatant penalty right under his eyes" after Alexander Hleb was challenged by Dirk Kuyt. The Arsenal manager said: "He [Vink] was five yards away from Kuyt, by coincidence, and didn't give the penalty. I haven't spoken to the referee. It's difficult to understand, frankly."
Wenger added that it was "frightening" to reflect on the amount of possession his team enjoyed – but still only came out of the game with a 1-1 draw. "I feel we are not paid for what we produced tonight," he said. "Overall we had the chances to win the game and Liverpool created very little. The whole second half was played in one half."
By then, however, Liverpool had the precious away goal. "We were caught on the counter attack," Wenger said. "Credit to Steven Gerrard – he showed a touch of class on that goal. Gerrard played well, but they played deep and just on the counter. He's the ideal player to find when you win the ball back. He had a good game, but we projected ourselves a lot forward. He's the kind of player who's a danger.
"We were unsettled by their equaliser. We'd scored the first goal and, when we conceded, I felt straight away that was like a thunderstorm going through the team. We lost composure and nerves a little bit."
A further disappointment for Arsenal was the loss of Robin van Persie with Wenger revealing that the striker was suffering "a muscular precaution" – but added that he didn't think it was a recurrence of the injury difficulties the Dutchman has been plagued with this season. However he added: "But it was where he was injured before in his thigh that he has the problem again."
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez – who said he did not think the penalty decision was "clear" – said he did not necessarily think the result was "in our favour". "When you play against Arsenal, you know they can score in any stadium," he said. "We are in a good situation. We will go to Anfield with our supporters, which makes a massive difference, but it will be difficult still."Reuse content