Gunners fire blanks as Liverpool on target

LONDON - Arsenal stumbled early in the season, losing at Fulham 1-0 in the Premier League on Saturday, while Steven Gerrard executed a winner deep into injury time to complete Liverpool's 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Middlesbrough.

LONDON - Arsenal stumbled early in the season, losing at Fulham 1-0 in the Premier League on Saturday, while Steven Gerrard executed a winner deep into injury time to complete Liverpool's 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Middlesbrough.

Fulham defender Brede Hangeland scored in the 21st minute to spoil Arsene Wenger's 450th league match.

Liverpool trailed in the 70th minute after a long-range strike from Middlesbrough striker Mido but equalised with five minutes remaining when Jamie Carragher's shot went in off defender Emanuel Pogatetz.

Also in the second round of matches on Saturday, Premier League newcomers Stoke beat Aston Villa 3-2, Sunderland won 2-1 at Tottenham, Everton overcame West Brom 2-1, Newcastle defeated Bolton 1-0 and Hull held Blackburn 1-1.

Arsenal's defeat - after struggling to beat West Brom - exposed the urgency to strengthen the midfield.

Robin van Persie squandered a chance to put the Gunners ahead after 20 minutes at Craven Cottage, after new signing Samir Nasri had miskicked Theo Walcott's cross.

It proved costly as a minute later Hangeland slid forward to poke Jimmy Bullard's low cross over the line.

Middlesbrough, seeking their first win at Anfield since 1976, had an early blow when goalkeeper Brad Jones was injured in the warm-up.

Liverpool's new striking duo was wasteful, with Robbie Keane firing wide and Fernando Torres failing to position a header to score for a ninth straight home league match, which would have been a club record.

After the break Mido, who replaced Afonso Alves on the hour, blasted a shot into the bottom left which Pepe Reina was powerless to block.

Rafa Benitez's side went in search of the equaliser and it came in the 85th. Gerrard made it two wins out of two in injury time.

Other results: Newcastle 1, Bolton 0; Spurs 1, Sunderland 2; Stoke 3, Aston Villa 2; Hull 1, Blackburn 1; Everton 2, West Brom 1. - Sapa-AP

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