Belfast Telegraph

Reds still buzzing despite draw

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard insists renewed confidence at Anfield will not be damaged by Arsenal's fortuitous last-gasp equaliser in their Barclays Premier League opener.

The Reds were on course to open their domestic campaign with a win when Jose Reina allowed the ball to squirm from his grasp and into the net in injury time of a pulsating clash on Sunday.

It was a deflating blow but Gerrard insists it will take a lot more to damage revitalised spirits, saying: "Of course I can feel the optimism, and rightly so. We have got a good manager, we have kept hold of some top players and we have already got some top players here."

He added: "If we can keep everyone fit I am very confident we can have a completely different season to last year. The boys are enjoying training and working very hard.

"There is a real buzz about the place and if we had got three points it would have been a magnificent start."

Liverpool's performance against Arsenal was all the more commendable after the dismissal of Joe Cole on the stroke of half-time. The England midfielder had a home league debut to forget as he received a straight red card for a reckless lunge at Arsenal new boy Laurent Koscielny.

Liverpool responded well to go ahead through David Ngog's fourth goal of the campaign after three in Europa League qualifying, but Arsenal finished strongly and claimed a late reward.

Gerrard, 30, who scored twice for England in the friendly win over Hungary last week, said: "We were very unlucky not to see it out and take maximum points.

"I'm very proud of all the lads, I thought they put a tremendous shift in. When you are playing Arsenal in the opening game it is tough enough 11 v 11.

"To lose a man with a half to go and still get something out of the game, I'm really pleased. I thought they were disciplined and looked very fit."

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