Arsenal inflict more misery on Liverpool
Leaders Chelsea and second-placed Manchester United both dropped points at home on Saturday and Arsenal climbed to third on 31 points, six behind Chelsea and three adrift of United with a game in hand.
Liverpool, who also failed to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages, stayed seventh on 24 points having lost six games out of 16, four more league defeats than they suffered all last season.
The home side made Arsenal look ordinary in the first half and could have scored more than their solitary Dirk Kuyt goal with Fernando Torres missing a glorious chance and Steven Gerrard having a decent penalty claim turned down.
Brazilian fullback Fabio Aurelio's excellent delivery from a central free kick on 41 minutes caught out goalkeeper Manuel Almunia whose weak palmed clearance fell kindly for Kuyt to poke the ball home from eight yards.
The London club emerged a different team in the second half following an ear-bashing from manager Arsene Wenger.
"The boss screamed at us like I have never seen before. He said we didn't deserve to wear the Arsenal shirt," captain Cesc Fabregas told Sky Sports.
Arsenal equalised five minutes into the second period when a fine passing move ended with Liverpool defender Glen Johnson turning a Samir Nasri cross into his own net from close range.
Just eight minutes later Russian Arshavin, who scored four goals in last season's 4-4 draw at Anfield, collected a Fabregas cross and blasted home an unstoppable shot off the near post.
Liverpool then disappeared as an attacking force and Arsenal cruised through the final 30 minutes to cap a miserable week for the Anfield club, who have won only three of their last 15 matches in all competitions.