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Captain Vantastic paints Anfield red

sports Updated: Mar 03, 2012 23:02 IST
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Two goals from Robin van Persie, the second in stoppage time, earned Arsenal a 2-1 Premier League victory at Liverpool on Saturday to strengthen their claims of a top-four finish.

The lethal Dutchman volleyed the winner during eight minutes of added time having headed an equaliser in the first half after Liverpool had gone ahead courtesy of an own goal from Arsenal centre-half Laurent Koscielny.

Van Persie has now weighed in with 31 goals for Arsenal this season and the latest two gave his side a rather fortunate victory that moves them three points above fifth-placed Chelsea who are playing at West Bromwich Albion later on Saturday.

Liverpool, who less than a week ago won the League Cup to ensure Europa League qualification, surrendered their unbeaten home league record and remain in seventh place, 10 points adrift of the top four with a game in hand.

Van Persie had hardly been in the game when he headed in Bacary Sagna's searching right-wing cross after 31 minutes, by which time a rampant Liverpool side should have scored more than one goal.

Saved penalty
Arsenal's Polish keeper Wojciech Szczesny had kept his side in the game early on. After clipping Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez to concede a penalty he then saved Dirk Kuyt's spot kick and the scrambled across his line to beat out the Dutchman's weak follow-up effort.

Szczesny was powerless to prevent Liverpool taking the lead after 23 minutes when Jordan Henderson's cross was sliced into the net by a panicky Koscielny.

A lengthy stoppage after Arsenal's Mikel Arteta suffered concussion interrupted the flow at the start of the second half.

A draw beckoned for Liverpool only for van Persie to bag all the points for his team when he guided a textbook volley inside Reina's near post after being picked out by Alex Song's precision pass.