Manchester United icon Gary Neville was shocked by Trent Alexander-Arnold’s defending as Liverpool conceded their second goal in the first half against Arsenal. Bukayo Saka tapped home at the far post as the England full-back was one of two players called out by the pundit.
Both Alexander-Arnold and playmaker Thiago were singled out for their roles as Gabriel Martinelli broke from the half-way line to assist Saka. “They’ve been struggling for the last 20 minutes of this match, Arsenal, but somehow in the fifth of injury time at the end of the first half they get a counter-attack,” Neville said on Sky Sports commentary of the game.
“It’s not good enough from Thiago, I praised him all the way through the first-half, I have no idea what Trent Alexander-Arnold’s doing here though I have to say, once he goes across there he leaves [Kostas] Tsimikas isolated on his own.
“Liverpool’s right-back goes across and that’s not good enough. He had to stay in the middle, [Jordan] Henderson was showing him down that line and Saka is stretching for his life. [Mikel] Arteta who would’ve been wanting his side to go in level can get them in 2-1 up now.”
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Martinelli gave the Gunners the lead inside the first minute as he finished past Alisson after being played in by Martin Odegaard. Liverpool equalised through Darwin Nunez as Luis Diaz latched onto an Alexander-Arnold long ball before crossing for the Uruguayan to score.
Arsenal icon Paul Merson agreed with Neville that Alexander-Arnold was at fault for Mikel Arteta’s side’s second however. “[Liverpool] Better team first-half, bang unlucky,” Merson told Sky Sports. “But I still think Thiago’s got to make the foul, three-v-three, I think Trent Alexander-Arnold’s in a good position, wait, wait, and he takes a chance, guesses what Martinelli’s going to do and you can’t guess at this level of football.
“It’s perfect positioning and Trent’s going to cut out the pass in the middle but takes a chance. Great play by Martinelli but that’s made his mind up, because Trent Alexander’s made that run to go and cut him, he’s got to cut back, great goal by Saka.”
Reds icon Jamie Carragher described Saka’s goal as a “shambles” from Liverpool’s point of view. “Shocking that,” Carragher tweeted. “1 minute to go until half time. Another defensive shambles. #ARSLIV”
Alexander-Arnold was substituted off at half-time by Jurgen Klopp for Joe Gomez, after he was left nursing an ankle injury he picked up when defending a cross from Martinelli.