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Monday, December 22, 2008

Adebayor vents anger at Arbeloa

Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor has accused Liverpool defender Alvaro Arbeloa of play-acting in order to get him sent off in Sunday's 1-1 draw.

Adebayor was shown a second yellow card in the 62nd minute for a clumsy challenge but the Togo international believes the decision was harsh on him.

"I cannot say he [Arbeloa] cheated, but what he did was not fair play at all," said the 24-year-old.

"The defender threw himself on the floor as if I put a knife in him."

Manager Arsene Wenger believes the sending off cost his side victory and was furious with referee Howard Webb's decision.

"I am convinced we would have won with 11 players," said the Arsenal manager.

"We took control with 10 men, but imagine what it would have been like with 11?"

Robin van Persie had given the home side the lead with a brilliant finish after some excellent control, before Robbie Keane levelled the match with an equally good finish just before half-time.

Liverpool were on top after the interval, although chances were at a premium even before Adebayor went in high on Alvaro Arbeloa, prompting Webb to issue the striker his second yellow card.

"It was very soft," said Wenger of the second booking. "If we get red cards like that from opponents away from home then I'm very happy.

"It was not a red card, it was not a second yellow card. I don't know what it was for and I'm sure he (the referee) doesn't know.

"It's frustrating because we had a nervy first half as we were under pressure to win this game and I knew we would finish very strongly.

"We played high up in the second half and we could not take advantage of the fact we were slowly taking control of the game because we were down to 10 men."

Adebayor agreed with his manager's sentiments and believes Webb made a mistake.

"I don't think I deserved a yellow card and just want the referee to go back and watch it on TV again," he said.

"I just wanted to protect the ball. A striker like me, Robbie Keane, (Nicolas) Anelka or (Didier) Drogba always have to protect the ball and that's what happened.

"At the end of the end of the day he has made a mistake and he has to recognise that what he has done is a little mistake."

Liverpool were missing manager Rafael Benitez from the touchline after he underwent an operation to remove kidney stones during the week.

With the Spaniard at home recuperating, assistant boss Sammy Lee filled the void and revealed afterwards that Benitez had remained in regular contact.

"We have been in constant touch all week and we made sure we were in constant touch before and during the game," he said.

"He was at home and it is testimony to his professionalism because he has been in a lot of pain."

Liverpool are two points clear of Chelsea at the top with the west London club due to face Everton on Sunday and although happy with a point, Lee was disappointed not to come away from the Emirates with all three.

"This is Liverpool and we look to take three points everywhere we go," said the 49-year-old.

"The boys are disappointed but we have to accentuate the positives and we have got a good point at a very good club.

"Part of our disappointment is that we did not use our numerical advantage but credit to Arsenal, who worked hard when they were a man down."

Keane's goal was his third in the league for Liverpool this season and comes after criticism for recent below-par performances, but the 28-year-old believes he still has plenty to offer this season.

"It's always nice to score a goal as a striker," he said.

"We are judged on goals and not on everything else we do. It's always nice to score but what's important is that it's not about me it's about the team and not getting beat.

"I know I'll score a lot of goals for this club. It was nice to score today and I know there will be a lot more to come.

"I prefer to be judged at the end of the season and not in December."

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