ARSENAL captain Cesc Fabregas revealed the team were spurred on to beat Liverpool by some half-time hairdryer treatment from manager Arsene Wenger, who accused his players of 'not being fit to wear the shirt'.

The rant followed a dismal first-half performance from the Gunners, who fell behind to a 41st minute Dirk Kuyt goal.

However, the team emerged reinvigorated from the break, with their manager's words still ringing in their ears, and an own goal from Glen Johnson and a stunning strike from Andrey Arshavin turned the tables on the hosts.

“The manager told us we did not deserve to wear the Arsenal shirt, and he was right” said Fabregas. “I have never seen him like that, never seen him so angry. But at least we responded, and that was one of the best second half performances I can remember from us.”

Wenger was furious after his side failed to create any chances during a dour first period, while Liverpool enjoyed several opportunities to score.

Fernando Torres was put through by Steven Gerrard but his tame effort was comfortably saved by Manuel Almunia.

Gerrard then felt he should have had a penalty when he was scythed down in the area, but referee Howard Webb waved away the appeals from the Reds' captain.

Liverpool did manage to make their superiority tell four minutes before the break. Fabio Aurelio swung a free-kick into the box after Denilson had fouled Gerrard, and Almunia succeeded only in palming the ball into the path of Kuyt, who controlled the ball before stabbing it home.

Wenger refused to divulge details of his half-time blast, but he admitted the hosts were by far the better side in the opening period.

“I cannot tell you what I said, but something needed doing, because we could have been more than one goal behind and out of the game,” said the Frenchman.

“Liverpool were playing at a quicker pace and winning the 50-50 balls. We seemed to be playing with the handbrake on, and it was apparent to me there was a fear that came from not winning big games (against Manchester United and Chelsea).

“If a few words helped sort that out, all well and good. If some of them are saying they were shocked, then maybe it's not a bad thing that I can still surprise them after 13 years in charge.

“This was a massive game for us. To win and move closer, with a game in hand, is very positive and means we are in good shape.”

Johnson could only help the ball into the net after Samir Nasri's cross had deflected into his path off Jamie Carragher with Theo Walcott lurking behind him.

After the hour mark the Gunners took the lead, Fabregas' ball into the box finding its way to Arshavin after Johnson failed to deal with the danger, and the diminutive Russian swivelled to plant his shot into the top corner.