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Crouch saves Liverpool
January 22, 2008 11:31 IST
Last Updated: January 22, 2008 11:41 IST
Peter Crouch grabbed a late equaliser to earn Liverpool a 2-2 draw with Aston Villa in a Premier League game at Anfield played out against a backdrop of anger and protest on Monday.
The England [Images] striker's 88th-minute goal rescued the troubled home side after Villa had scored twice in three minutes against the run of play.
Villa substitute Marlon Harewood cancelled out Israeli Yossi Benayoun's first-half strike with an acrobatic scissors kick, his first touch of the game, in the 69th minute before the visitors made it 2-1 with an own goal from Fabio Aurelio.
Liverpool, who had hoped to leapfrog city rivals Everton into fourth place on goal difference, edged up to fifth on 40 points and ahead of Villa and Manchester City on goal difference.
Champions Manchester United have 54 points from 23 matches and lead Arsenal on goal difference at the top, with Chelsea third on 50.
"We'll keep going, it's not over until it's over," Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard told Setanta Sports television when asked about the title chase. "But it's certainly not good enough."
The game was played in an atmosphere of simmering anger with the home fans showing their displeasure to the club's American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
"You don't care about [manager] Rafa [Benitez], you don't care about the fans, Liverpool Football Club is in the wrong hands," chanted the crowd.
The protest was orchestrated by supporters unhappy with Hicks and Gillett's plans for the club and whether they intend to sell to Dubai International Capital, the investment arm of the Dubai Government.
Hicks also angered the fans last week and undermined Benitez when he revealed Liverpool had spoken to former Germany [Images] boss Juergen Klinsmann about taking over as coach.
Gerrard said events off the field had affected the players.
"It's not just this week, it's been going on for some time now," he said. "It's certainly not helping the players but I've got to be careful what I say about the situation.
"We know what's going on but as players you've got a job to do on the pitch and you try and put what is going on off the pitch to the back of your mind. But sometimes it's impossible when it's every day."
The visitors, with an American owner of their own in billionaire Randy Lerner, were missing Scott Carson in goal, who was ineligible against the club who loaned him to Villa, and injured midfielder Gareth Barry.