Trent Alexander-Arnold had the threat of a VAR check in the back of his mind after the ball struck his arm in the build-up to Liverpool’s opening goal against Manchester City on Sunday, but his focus remained on the task at hand.
Fabinho’s sensational long-range strike was subject to a review after the incident in Liverpool’s penalty area, but it was eventually given due to the right-back’s arm not being judged to have been in an unnatural position.
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City’s players and coaching staff were apoplectic on the touchline as they believed a number of decisions went against them in the game, but Alexander-Arnold was pleased Liverpool kept their heads to go up the other end and score.
“Obviously yeah, you know there’s VAR and I think it has hit my arm, but I think it might have hit Bernardo Silva’s first,” Alexander-Arnold told Sky Sports.
“But it’s one of them where you have to carry on playing and we went down the other end and punished them.
“They were complaining about the goal and the handball and that, but like I say we went down the other end and Fabinho has hit a wonderful strike and we’ve gone 1-0 up.”
Further goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane helped Liverpool to a 3-1 win which took them eight points clear at the top, with City going into the international break in fourth. Leicester and Chelsea occupy second and third.
The football world was perplexed with the role of VAR and why the penalty was not awarded against Liverpool.
Even if Salah onside and no handball, credibility of VAR demands that there is a visible review. It's a mess of VAR's making that that's the case...— Mark Ogden (@MarkOgden_) November 10, 2019
VAR took 3.5 minutes to disallow a Sheffield United goal for no real reason yesterday.— Sripad (@falsewinger) November 10, 2019
Today, within 10 seconds, 2 handballs were decided, and there was none of that line drawing check on Salah for offside.
Where is the consistency?
Clear handball from Trent Alexander-Arnold there. Should've been a pen. #LIVMCI— Chisanga Malata (@Chisanga_Malata) November 10, 2019
I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT A HANDBALL IS ANYMORE— Nicole Holliday (@NicoleHolliday) November 10, 2019
If VAR was used properly, Liverpool would struggle. Everyone predicted that before it was introduced to the PL.— Michael Tunstall (@TFWriter) November 10, 2019
Nobody predicted VAR being this bad though. It’s bordering on pointless.
So, so bad.
VAR won Liverpool the league so far 👏 congrats on ruining football. Unbelievable...— Andrei Kanchelskis Jr (@AAKanchelskis) November 10, 2019
Despite their healthy lead, Liverpool know from their experiences last season that they can’t afford to slip up. Andy Robertson, who assisted Salah’s goal, was especially keen to make that point – but he knows his side are now in with a great chance of claiming the title at the end of the season.
“Last year, especially at the back end of the season, both us and Man City just weren’t dropping points,” Robertson told Sky Sports.
“We kept on winning, that’s why the points tally was so high. We believe that if we keep going like that, you know, if we keep getting 97 points, one year we’re going to win the league!
“Hopefully we can just keep going game by game, as boring as it is. That’s exactly what we have to do.
“It worked well for us last year and it’s worked well for us so far this year.
“We’ve beaten Man City at home and it’s a big result for us, but we still need to keep going after the international break, it’s the toughest period over Christmas.”