On this day: Liverpool win away at title rivals Arsenal

Ex Player and Radio commentator Stan Collymore looks on before the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Aston Villa on February 5, 2012
© Getty Images
Seventeen years ago today, Liverpool overcome title rivals Arsenal in controversial circumstances at Highbury.

While champions Manchester United held a slender advantage at the top of the Premier League table in 1997, the race behind them was starting to heat up.

Their two closest challengers - Arsenal and Liverpool - met at Highbury 17 years ago today, with both sides six points adrift of United, meaning that the victor would be seen as the biggest threat to Sir Alex Ferguson's side retaining the title.

In what was an encounter of such magnitude, it seemed as though that the players on show were frightened to make a vital error, resulting in an extremely tentative first half.

However, the shackles were released after the restart, with visiting Liverpool breaking the deadlock in the 50th minute. Stig Inge Bjornebye tried his luck from distance and although David Seaman denied the Norwegian, he failed to hold the ball. That presented an opening for Stan Collymore, who reacted quicker than Tony Adams to fire in the rebound from close range for his 11th goal of the campaign.

Then, in the 65th minute, Roy Evans's men doubled their lead in controversial circumstances. Robbie Fowler beat the Arsenal offside trap, before throwing himself to the ground as Seaman advanced. A penalty was awarded, despite the fact that Fowler appeared to inform the official that he had made the wrong decision. Nevertheless, Fowler stepped up to take the resultant kick and although Seaman guessed correctly to save, Jason McAteer followed in to score.

The hosts rallied and created a host of opportunities soon after, but Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira wasted the best of them by failing to hit the target.

They did eventually reduce the arrears 11 minutes from the end when Bergkamp headed the ball down for his strike partner Ian Wright. From there, the England international held off the challenge of two Liverpool defenders, before scooping the ball over David James and into the net from eight yards out.

Wright's intervention set up a grandstand finish in North London, but Liverpool held out to ensure that they would return to Merseyside with all three points.

Speaking about the incident that ended up winning Liverpool the game, Arsenal keeper Seaman said: "I know I never touched Robbie and Robbie knows. As soon as he got up he said 'you didn't touch me'. The referee is saying that he didn't hear Robbie say that, but I think everybody else could see that's what Robbie was saying. If Robbie chooses to lie, he's cheating himself, but he's not."

ARSENAL: Seaman; Dixon, Keown, Marshall, Adams, Winterburn; Platt, Vieira, Hughes; Bergkamp, Wright

LIVERPOOL: James; Harkness, Kvarme, Wright, Bjornebye; McManaman, Redknapp, McAteer, Barnes; Collymore, Fowler

Robbie Fowler of Liverpool in good spirits after a near miss provided by Steven Gerrard during the Steven Gerrard Testimonial Match between Liverpool and Olympiacos at Anfield on August 03, 2013
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