Trent Alexander-Arnold responded to his critics in the perfect way by scoring an injury-time goal in Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Aston Villa.
The Reds defender was at fault for one of Real Madrid’s three goals in the midweek 3-1 defeat to Los Blancos in the Champions League quarter-finals first leg.
But on Saturday, Mohamed Salah cancelled out Ollie Watkins’ opener, before Alexander-Arnold’s heroics brought Liverpool a first Premier League win at Anfield in nine games and moved them into the top four.
Liverpool started the match brightly and should have taken a 13th-minute lead through Salah.
Diogo Jota’s through ball rolled under Tyrone Mings foot which put Salah through one-on-one with Emiliano Martinez, however, the in-form forward poked the ball wide.
Firmino sliced a long-range effort wide, before Ezri Konsa sent a warning to Liverpool’s goal with a header, which was saved by Alisson.
It was Jota’s turn to be wasteful when he headed over Andy Robertson’s corner, despite being left unmarked in the box.
And a rare Villa attack resulted in the game’s first goal when Watkins combined with John McGinn before firing a powerful effort past Alisson, who should have done better, in the 43rd minute.
And then VAR was in the spotlight for the wrong reasons once more as Roberto Firmino had a goal harshly disallowed in first-half stoppage time.
Alexander-Arnold played a diagonal ball to Jota, who raced to the byline and cut it back to Salah.
The Egypt forward laid it off to Robertson, whose blocked shot fell to Firmino to shoot past Martinez.
However, VAR adjudged Jota to be offside by the slightest of margins in the build-up to the goal.
It is the second tight VAR offside call in as many days as Willian Jose had a goal disallowed by another tight decision in Wolves’ 1-0 over Fulham.
But Liverpool did not let the VAR setback affect them as Salah equalised three minutes before the hour mark when he was on-hand to tap in the rebound from a Robertson shot.
Villa were unlucky not to take the lead shortly after when Trezeguet’s wonderful outside-of-the-boot right-footed effort struck a post.
And when the game looked to be petering out for a draw, Alexander-Arnold curled home a stunning effort to boost Liverpool’s top four hopes.
Published at Sat, 10 Apr 2021 16:01:58 +0000