The Sunday Post (Inverness)
Alexander-arnold strikes to down Villa and end Reds’ home misery
Salah (57), Alexander-arnold (90+1) ASTON VILLA 1
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists Trent Alexander-arnold has nothing to prove to England boss Gareth Southgate after the fullback capped an eventful week with an added-time winner against Aston Villa.
After six-successive defeats, Klopp’s side registered their first home Premier League win in four months as they recovered from going behind to Ollie Watkins’ opener, with Mohamed Salah scoring his 19th league goal of the season and the first from open play at Anfield in 2021 after a drought of almost 13 hours.
But it was Alexanderarnold, who had starred in the win against Arsenal last weekend but erred in the midweek Champions League defeat to Real
Madrid, having been left out of Southgate’s squad for recent World Cup qualifiers, who stole the headlines with a fearsome strike to win it at the end.
The goal secured the club’s 2,000th Premier League point, a feat only achieved by Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, and Klopp’s 100th victory at Anfield in all competitions.
“Life is like this, football is like this. He played a top game against Arsenal and today. Real Madrid, we don’t have to hide that, the second goal, of course (he was at fault for),” said Klopp. “He just has to play football. Nothing to do with the national team, just to develop. That is what he is doing.
“I don’t think Trent is in a situation where he has to prove himself at this level. He has to challenge himself, but not because of the national team, but because as a young player he has to challenge himself.
“To be in the squad of England you have to play outstandingly good. Trent did this very often from a very young age.
“It is not as if he is not playing good. Just talk about the game, leave the rest aside.” Roberto Firmino thought he had ended his
barren spell with a closerange equaliser but, after a long review, VAR ruled Diogo Jota had been fractionally offside from Alexanderarnold’s long crossfield ball. Klopp had seen his side go behind moments earlier.
Watkins benefited from errors from both Ozan Kabak and Alisson Becker. Kabak nipped in front of Watkins to intercept, but only knocked the ball as far as Douglas Luiz, who transferred it to John Mcginn to slide a pass into the striker who took one touch and fired home.
Villa conceded 11 minutes after the interval. Jota had already flashed a shot wide, before Andy Robertson overlapped on the left to unleash a drive which Martinez could only parry into the path of Salah, who headed home.
Trezeguet hit the inside of a post, but, at the death, a volley from sub Thiago Alcantara was parried by Martinez, with the ball dropping to Alexanderarnold and he delivered with the sweetest of strikes.
Villa boss Dean Smith felt his side deserved more. He said: “Thanks to poor finishing from them and good defending from us, we managed to stay at 0-0 and then we scored a good goal.
“I don’t think Emi was troubled much in the second half. We’re disappointed to come away with a defeat.”
LIVERPOOL: Alisson 6; Alexanderarnold 7, Phillips 8, Kabak 6 (Shaqiri 89), Robertson 7; Milner 7, Fabinho 6, Wijnaldum 6 (Thiago 70, 6); Salah 7, Firmino 7 (Mane 75, 6), Jota 7. Unused subs – Keita, Adrian, Oxladechamberlain, Tsimikas, Davies, Williams. ASTON VILLA: Martinez 7; Cash 7, Konsa 6, Mings 6, Targett 7; Douglas Luiz 6, Nakamba 6 (Barkley 66, 6); Traore 6 (El Ghazi 78, 6), Mcginn 7, Trezeguet 7 (Ramsey 82, 6); Watkins 7. Unused subs – Heaton, Naylor, Engels, Elmohamady, Hause, Davis.