|Van Persie has become invaluable to Arsenal scoring 31 goals in all competitions this season [GALLO/GETTY]
Robin van Persie struck an injury-time winner as Arsenal dealt Liverpool's hopes of Champions League qualification a
shattering blow with a 2-1 victory at Anfield on Saturday.
Dutch international van Persie volleyed home magnificently in the third minute of stoppage time to claim his second of the match and take his season's tally to 31 in all competitions.
Van Persie's last-gasp winner saw Arsene Wenger's side cement their grip on fourth place, and moved the Londoners to within four points of third placed Tottenham who play Manchester United on Sunday.
But the defeat has left Liverpool with a mountain to climb if they are to secure a return to Europe's elite next season, with 10 points now separating them from Arsenal in fourth.
Van Persie admitted Liverpool had been unlucky to lose.
"I don't think we deserved it if I'm being honest because Liverpool played better but to nick it like we did - we can only be pleased," the striker said.
"We are 10 points ahead of Liverpool now and Spurs play tomorrow against Man Utd. We will have to wait and see. It is a big win, a massive win."
Robin still rocking
Arsenal boss Wenger hailed the contribution of his match-winning striker.
"When you see the ball land at the feet of Van Persie you know what he can do," Wenger said.
"We cannot afford to lose him. Overall you have to give him credit because in every match he does something special.
"Maybe we were a bit lucky to get the three points today but it gets us away from Liverpool and we are on a good run now."
"We cannot afford to lose him. Overall you have to give him credit because in every match he does something special"
Arsene Wenger on Van Persie
Wenger said the victory would give Arsenal belief as the attempt to overturn a 4-0 first leg deficit over AC Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday.
"It puts us in a good condition to make the impossible possible against Milan," he said.
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish was struggling to come to terms with defeat after a match which saw the Reds miss their sixth penalty of the season and a string of clear scoring opportunities.
"It's difficult to believe but that's the way it goes, we played some fantastic stuff and came away with nothing," Dalglish said.
The defeat was cruel on the Merseysiders, who had dominated throughout only to be denied by a string of superb saves from Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Sczesny and the woodwork.