After Chelsea’s 1-0 loss to Arsenal on Wednesday night, Liverpool took advantage and continued their push for the top four with a 4-2 victory away to Manchester United.
Diogo Jota was first on the scoresheet to cancel out his fellow countryman, Bruno Fernandes, who had scored the game’s opener for the hosts.
Roberto Firmino was next to score for his side with the Brazilian scoring either side of half-time, while Mohamed Salah cemented the three points with a 90th-minute strike after Marcus Rashford made things nervous.
It was Trent Alexander-Arnold who was named man of the match as the English full-back once again produced a stand-out performance.
The Scouser was exceptional throughout the 90 minutes. He created five chances – more than any other player on the pitch – and was involved directly in two of his side’s goals.
The No.66’s first involvement came in the form of an assist in the third minute of added time at the end of the first half. Paul Pogba clipped Jota on the right-wing, giving away a cheap free-kick which he and his teammates would rue.Embed from Getty Images
Alexander-Arnold stepped up to swing the ball into the box and his pinpoint cross found Firmino, who headed past Dean Henderson with power and precision to send his side into the break with a slender lead.
Minutes after the break, Manchester United tried to play the ball out from the back but, after some good pressing from the visitors along with some sloppiness on the part of Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side, Liverpool won the ball high up with Firmino spreading the ball out to the right-back.
The 22-year-old then hit a powerful strike at the United goalkeeper, who scooped the ball into the path of the Brazilian forward who netted his second of the game to put the Reds two goals up.
Not only was Alexander-Arnold instrumental in the creation of these two goals, he also took more touches (86) than anyone else on the pitch and was the leader when it came to putting more balls into the box – he did it nine times.
Defensively, he gained possession more times than the rest of the players on the pitch with a total of 14. He won three out of five of his duels, made three clearances and completed two interceptions throughout the night.
It was a statement of intent from Liverpool as they look for a perfect run-in to ensure they will play in Europe’s top competition next season.Embed from Getty Images
On a personal level, it was a statement to Gareth Southgate. The England manager was sat in the stands to take in Alexander-Arnold’s man-of-the-match performance.
Ever since he was inexplicably dropped from international duty in March, he has provided a string of excellent performances, proving how ridiculous it is to consider leaving this generational talent out of any team.
After such a tough season with many setbacks, the Englishman will hope to end the season on a high by helping his boyhood club to qualify for the Champions League, as well as forcing Southgate’s to include him in his plans for the European Championships this summer.
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