Trent Alexander-Arnold cancelled out Erling Haaland’s 50th Premier League goal as Liverpool bagged a point against champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
The England international struck 10 minutes from the end of a tight encounter after Haaland’s first-half strike looked like extending Man City’s record home winning run. His late equaliser also spared the blushes of goalkeeper Alisson, who had a day to forget having gifted Haaland his opener and committed several other errors.
The Norwegian striker showed his ruthlessness in 27th minute, reaching 50 goals in the competition in just his 48th appearance. Darwin Nunez hit the side-netting from a tight angle as Liverpool responded but they were unable to constantly trouble City.
Pep Guardiola’s side had a few chances to extend their lead on the break. Having hung in there, Liverpool equalised on 80 minutes with Alexander-Arnold’s fine strike. City applied plenty of late pressure with Haaland almost bagging a winner in the injury time, only for his glancing header flying narrowly wide.
With the game ending 1-1 at the Etihad Stadium, let us take a look at the talking points.
- Erling Haaland’s Premier League milestone
50 goals in 48 Premier League games is just ridiculous, to say the least.
Andy Cole was an excellent striker and it took him 65 games to reach 50 goals. Ruud van Nistelrooy was one of the ruthless strikers the Premier League has ever seen and it took him 68 games. So for Erling Haaland to have not just claimed the record of quickest to 50 Premier League goals, but to have completely annihilated it, really is special.
Both physically and mentally, the Norwegian is on another level and walks on to the pitch every time to make an impression. And then there is that ability to finish off chances with both feet and head. If he can stay fit, healthy and hungry, Haaland could break multiple records in City’s blue.
- Jeremy Doku shines
Jeremy Doku has adapted to the demands of the Premier League like a duck to water, giving defences nightmares almost every time he has played for City. And against City’s greatest competitors and the second-placed team in the league, the Belgian was their most dangerous player by a country mile.
Doku demonstrated his scary pace and dribbling skill, but also kept on making the right decisions with and without the ball. Starting on the left of the City midfield, he gave Alexander-Arnold a torrid time and turned him inside on plenty of occasions. Incredibly selfless, it was a real shame from City’s point of view that Haaland and Alvarez couldn’t finish off the pinpoint chances Doku created.
- Trent Alexander-Arnold has the final say
All eyes were on Trent Alexander-Arnold and how he would cope with the threat of Doku. Given the City winger’s blistering pace and directness, it was felt that Alexander-Arnold would need to be defensively at his best to stop him. And so it proved, Doku pinned him back and won the battle easily in the first half.
Alexander-Arnold was partly culpable for City’s goal as he made a weak attempt to stop Ake from driving forward and grabbing the assist for Haaland’s strike. The England international, then, needed to make amends, and in a game where Liverpool found themselves trailing until the 80th minute, he came up with the goods.
The full-back arrowed a shot from the edge of the box that found the bottom corner, silencing the Etihad and securing a point for the Reds. Having done just enough to keep Doku in check and made a difference at the other end of the pitch, this is Alexander-Arnold in a nutshell.
- Liverpool the actual winners
Speaking ahead of the big game, Jurgen Klopp pointed out that you can play well at the Etihad Stadium and still come away with a defeat. And it looked like Liverpool would be consigned to another defeat away at Man City as they headed into the last 10 minutes of normal time here still trailing to Erling Haaland’s opener.
Fortunately, Alexander-Arnold popped up and scored a delightful equaliser to send the visiting fans in delirium. It was a show of resilience and character from Klopp’s boys to come up with a point against a City side so dominant at home. In truth, it was an even contest between top two teams, and in that context a point is all the more valuable for Liverpool given it was played out on City’s home ground.