Arsenal's 2-0 home defeat by Liverpool was very nearly briefly paused after a protester tried to attach himself to the goalpost mid-way through the second-half.

Referee Andre Marriner was forced to delay a Liverpool goal-kick for a few seconds after a young man donning a t-shirt that read "just stop oil" and "we have no future" emerged from the Emirates crowd and onto the pitch to try and tie his own hands around the frame of the goal. Stewards rushed on and swiftly dealt with the matter, dragging the protester away from the goal before play continued.

The activist hardly put up much of a fight as he was bundled over the advertising hoardings and actually appeared to just look resigned to the fact his stunt had failed to go as planned. It remains unclear if the protest was done in the name of any particular group or organisation.

Liverpool eventually secured all three points without any further interruption after goals from Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino were enough to place the Reds just one point behind title rivals Manchester City. Pep Guardiola will be concerned at just how much the Reds have closed the gap on his side with nine games of the season left to play.

The pair will face off at the Etihad in early April in what is already being touted as the biggest game of the campaign for both teams. After 22 games, City enjoyed a nine-point lead over the Reds, seven games later that advantage has been cut by eight.

Arsenal vs Liverpool interrupted after protester tried to attach himself to goal

The result is a body blow for Arsenal who are desperate to secure the coveted fourth spot as a means of securing Champions League football next season for the first time since the 2016/17 campaign. The Gunners are still in fourth despite the defeat, though would have ideally placed further daylight between themselves and fifth-placed Manchester United.

HAVE YOUR SAY!Is the fixture list unfair on Arsenal? Comment below

Mikel Arteta's side travel to Aston Villa for the Saturday lunch-time kick-off in what is now a game of huge importance, but the Spaniard has bemoaned the Premier League's fixture list and labelled the Gunners' remaining schedule as "unfair".

Playing Wednesday night and again on Saturday at mid-day could take a significant physical toll on his players. "Thank you so much to the Premier League to do that,” he said sarcastically in his post-match press conference. “And they’ve done it again for when we have to play Chelsea and Manchester United.

"So if they want to give them any advantage I say today, thank you so much for doing that. "Don’t worry on Saturday, the players will be there with energy. They will sleep, eat well. But thank you so much to the Premier League for putting the fixtures like this. Very, very helpful."

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