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Rosicky's goals topple cup holders

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LIVERPOOL , England -- Two spectacular first half goals from Tomas Rosicky helped Arsenal to end Liverpool's 20-match unbeaten home run and send the holders out of the FA Cup with a 3-1 third round victory at Anfield.

Rosicky pierced a defense that had gone 10 domestic games without conceding a goal twice in the space of eight minutes and the Gunners survived a pounding after Dirk Kuyt pulled a goal back with 19 minutes left.

Thierry Henry wrapped up Arsenal's win with a fine solo effort in a rare breakaway seven minutes from time.

Czech international Rosicky, a frequent Liverpool transfer target when he was making his name in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund, had scored only one goal this season before the cup tie.

Liverpool were left disappointed when Xabi Alonso went down in the penalty area under a challenge from Gilberto in the 24th minute only for the home player to be cautioned for diving by referee Steve Bennett.

Television replays suggested that it was a very close call..

Having failed to profit from periods of extended possession, they fell victim to their own poor defending, some slick Arsenal passing and a fabulous display of finishing from Rosicky, starting with the opening goal in the 36th minute.

John Arne Riise lost the ball in a dangerous position and Rosicky found Alexander Hleb down the right before continuing his run towards the home box.

Hleb sent a neat pass across the area and Rosicky struck with a magnificent first-time right-foot shot that dipped over Jerzy Dudek and into the Liverpool net.

It was poor defending and, after Riise had seen a long-range free-kick charged down by the Arsenal wall, worse was to follow.

Thierry Henry's sharp pass found his team mate with five Liverpool defenders in close attendance but, as the red shirts backed off, Rosicky was allowed to advance to the edge of the area.

There, with Steve Finnan, Jamie Carragher and Steve Gerrard still failing to make a challenge, the Czech blazed his shot past Dudek into the bottom right-hand corner.

In the two minute left to the break, Arsenal might have had yet another when Emmanual Eboue was allowed to work his way to the by-line and Dudek had to charge down his dangerous cross.

Streaking away

Soon after the restart, Dudek saved well at his near post after Henry had sent Robin van Persie streaking away on another dangerous counter-attack.

Liverpool had needed an early goal to force their way back into contention and, having put the visitors' goal under siege from the off, their reward finally came in the 71st minute through Kuyt.

Jermaine Pennant's left-wing corner was headed goalward by Peter Crouch and Kuyt, hovering inside the six-yard area, steered it past Manuel Almunia with his own head.

There were 19 minutes left for Liverpool to finally stage a concerted bid to hold onto their trophy and they did so in an electrifying atmosphere which had been heightened early on by home supporters staging a vocal protest, seeking justice for those killed at the Hillsborough disaster.

Substitute Fabio Aurelio went close to an equalizer with a spectacular far post volley from a Gerrard cross but Henry killed off the tie seven minutes from time with a superb solo goal.

The Frenchman chased his own long through ball, made from inside his own half, robbing an embarrassed Carragher of the ball on the wing before cutting in past yet more markers and burying his shot from 12 yards.


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Rosicky trebled his tally for the season with his two first-half goals.

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