Liverpool suffered a first-half humble from Arsenal, but Trent Alexander-Arnold and the Reds had the last laugh as Oleksandr Zinchenko was left in tears.
Trent Alexander-Arnold came out on top against his critics in Sunday’s blockbuster Premier League clash between Liverpool and Arsenal. After being ‘bullied’ in the first half, he outclassed his defensive frailties with attacking brilliance to provide a key contribution to the Reds’ comeback.
Arsenal came flying out of the blocks on Merseyside as Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus fired the league leaders into a 2-0 lead in the first half.
And the north Londoners were heavily targeting the left flank, where Alexander-Arnold struggled to contain the attacking threat.
During a dismal opening 45 minutes, talkSPORT’s commentators slammed Alexander-Arnold’s performance, even claiming Arsenal was ‘bullying’ him.
Micky Gray said: “Trent Alexander-Arnold is pretty much playing as a midfielder this afternoon. No one knows what they’re doing. He’s been playing in midfield, and he just doesn’t know what he’s doing.”
“This has been going on for so long now that teams have been picking on Alexander-Arnold. It’s akin to bullying now,” Sam Matterface added.
“Aaron Ramsdale just picked the ball up with his hands and kicked it straight down to Alexander-Arnold, trying to get the ball out wide to [Gabriel] Jesus or Martinelli to take him on one-on-one.
“They know that’s the weak point. They’re targeting him. They’re bullying him.”
Gray responded: “The question is, why does Klopp keep picking him?”
But it was the 24-year-old who had the last laugh in a resurgent second-half performance by the hosts.
Mohamed Salah got Liverpool back into the game before the break, and Arsenal couldn’t hold off a second-half onslaught as Roberto Firmino equalized in the 87th minute.
Alexander-Arnold humiliated Zinchenko on the right flank, putting the ball through his legs before lifting a pinpoint cross to Firmino, who headed home to send The Kop into raptures.
Mikel Arteta replaced Zinchenko with Kieran Tierney shortly after as he injected fresh legs to reserve the point.
And Sky Sports cameras spotted the Ukraine international looking devastated on the Arsenal bench, with his head in his hands as if he were in tears.
The Premier League title is now in Manchester City’s hands. Victory in their game in hand and beating Arsenal will send Pep Guardiola’s side top.
Despite taking a point from Anfield being universally recognized as a positive result, fumbling the two-goal lead could be fatal to the Gunners’ title hopes.
Bust up- Liverpool star deliberately provokes teammates as footage emerges
Jordan Henderson is deliberately provoking his Liverpool star teammates to raise them to new heights as the dust settles on another on-pitch row.
The longstanding club captain, 32, has been seen having heated exchanges with Alisson Becker and Trent Alexander-Arnold during the team’s last two matches.
Henderson forcibly called out Alisson during the midweek draw against Chelsea and his fury was then directed at Alexander-Arnold in the 2-2 thriller against Arsenal on Sunday.
The skipper has long been renowned for his vocal leadership and on-pitch drive.
One viewpoint is that Henderson’s ‘calling out’ of teammates immediately after flashpoints is proof of how low Liverpool has sunk and the deepening dressing room morale.
However, those who know the Anfield skipper say his forcible and provocative style is essential to the team raising and maintaining standards.
During the closing stages of the Chelsea match, a poorly headed clearance from Joel Matip presented Joao Felix with a chance, but the forward failed to control his effort and fired well over.
In the immediate aftermath of that incident, a furious Henderson confronted Alisson, as the Liverpool captain appeared to accuse his goalkeeper of not communicating with Matip.
The Brazilian responded angrily and the pair were briefly in each other’s faces before Henderson walked away.
“Me and Henderson, we are two people who fight, who give our lives for their team,” he told ESPN Brasil. “And on the field, there is no way to ask ‘please’.”
Days later, Henderson remonstrated forcibly with Alexander-Arnold following Arsenal’s second goal, appearing to be pointing out his teammate’s defensive lapse in the build-up.
The right-back responded angrily following what had been a desperate start to the game for Liverpool.
Intriguingly, both Alexander-Arnold and Henderson were outstanding after the latest flashpoint and were key to the team’s stirring fightback with their link-up and understanding on the right flank.