5 recent classics which light up the Arsenal v Liverpool rivalry

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (left) and Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers will come face to face when their sides meet on Saturday.  -- PHOTOS: REUTERS
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (left) and Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers will come face to face when their sides meet on Saturday.  -- PHOTOS: REUTERS

After a damaging 1-2 loss to Manchester United two weeks ago, Liverpoool can ill-afford any more slip-ups in the race for fourth place in the English Premier League - the final Champions League qualifying berth.

The fifth-placed Reds need to bridge a five-point gap with eight games remaining, starting this Saturday against third-placed Arsenal at Emirates Stadium. Already, a tricky match is made harder with the suspensions of talismanic captain Steven Gerrard and influential defender Martin Skrtel.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have built up steam of late, with 27 points in 2015 - the most earned by any Premier League team this year. They have been on a run of six straight league victories, following a 2-1 defeat by arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur in early February.

With both sides playing stylish attacking football, Saturday's game holds the promise of a thrilling spectacle for fans and neutrals alike. Here, The Straits Times lists five of the best matches both sides have played in recent memory.

1. Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal (Premier League, Feb 8, 2014)

Liverpool were 1-0 up just 55 seconds into the match. Just 19 minutes later, they were 4-0 up, rampaging their way to one of the most memorable victories last season. Arsenal had arrived as league leaders but were put to the sword by the hosts, who oozed class in every department. Possibly Brendan Rodgers' finest game in charge of the Reds.

2. Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal (Premier League, April 21, 2009)

Arsenal forward Andriy Arshavin put a serious dent in Liverpool's title ambitions, scoring all four goals in this thriller. Liverpool's draw meant that Manchester United, though second on goal difference, had two games in hand. The Red Devils went on to clinch the EPL title, equalling the Merseyside club's record of 18 domestic league crowns.

3. Liverpool 3-6 Arsenal (League Cup quarter-final, Jan 9, 2007)

An effervescent and emphatic display by Arsenal saw the visitors storm into a 5-1 lead within an hour at Anfield, with Julio Baptista wrapping up his hat-trick by then. The Brazilian went on to score his fourth in the 84th minute, condemning Liverpool to one of their most embarrassing home displays over the last decade.

4. Arsenal 1-2 Liverpool (FA Cup final, May 12, 2001)

The Michael Owen Final, as the match was dubbed. The then 21-year-old Liverpool striker struck twice in the last eight minutes at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium to deliver the club's sixth FA Cup title in dramatic fashion.

The Reds ended that season with a unique treble of cup wins under Gerard Houllier, with the Frenchman also leading his charges to win the League Cup and Uefa Cup.

5. Liverpool 0-2 Arsenal (English First Division, May 26, 1989)

In perhaps the most incredible finish in English league history, Arsenal midfielder Michael Thomas scored in the final seconds of stoppage time to snatch the title away from Liverpool's grasp at Anfield in the last game of the 1988/89 season.

The visitors had to win by a margin of two goals and, just as the home faithful thought their 18th league title was sealed, Thomas was put through on goal, flicking the ball past goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar to spark delirious scenes among the North London faithful.

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