Liverpool strike late to hold Arsenal

bullet header Liverpool's Martin Skrtel exults after scoring a last-gasp equaliser against Arsenal on Sunday. afp

Liverpool strike late to hold Arsenal
A bloodied and bandaged Martin Skrtel headed home a last-gasp 97th-minute equaliser to earn Liverpool a 2-2 draw against Arsenal in the Premier League at Anfield on Sunday.

Having bossed the first half, Liverpool went ahead through Philippe Coutinho, only for goals from Mathieu Debuchy and Olivier Giroud to leave Arsene Wenger's Arsenal on the brink of a smash-and-grab victory.

But Giroud's accidental kick to Skrtel's head led to nine minutes of stoppage time and the tattooed Slovakian centre-back claimed his revenge with a memorable header in front of the Kop.

But though the goal -- Skrtel's first of the season -- gave Liverpool's fans some much-needed Christmas cheer, it did little to improve their team's standing in the table following a run of only two wins in nine games.

Brendan Rodgers' side, who had Fabio Borini sent off, are now 17 points below leaders Chelsea and nine points below the top four, while Arsene Wenger's Arsenal -- destroyed 5-1 on their previous visit in February -- trail the Champions League places by four points.

Adam Johnson's late winner earned Sunderland a 1-0 victory over his boyhood team Newcastle United in a riveting Tyne-Wear derby at St James Park. With a minute remaining, and just after Moussa Sissoko had almost won it for hosts Newcastle, Johnson slammed a shot past keeper Jak Alnwick to wrap up a fourth successive win for Sunderland in the fixture. Newcastle, who have lost three matches in a row in all competitions since beating leaders Chelsea, are ninth on 23.

Vietto sparkles
In-form Luciano Vietto hit two second half goals as Villarreal, down to 10 men for the final 10 minutes, cruised to a 3-0 home victory over Deportivo La Coruna to go fifth in La Liga on Sunday.

Former Barcelona youth product Jonathan Dos Santos put Villarreal ahead with his first La Liga goal, knocking in a rebound with 10 minutes gone after a shot by Denis Cheryshev was saved by keeper Fabricio Ramirez.

Villarreal came into the game on the back of a six match winning streak in all competitions and dominated from the start.

Fabricio kept Deportivo in the contest with some smart saves but Vietto finished off their resistance.
The Argentine forward slotted home a Victor Ruiz pass after 68 minutes and then five minutes later was again on target from a Cheryshev assist.

Tomas Pina was dismissed for a rash challenge on Alejandro Bergantinos in the 80th.

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