Sunday saw Liverpool go nine points clear of the Premier League champions as they beat Manchester City 3-1 at Anfield. The win put Jürgen Klopp’s men eight points clear of Leicester City in second place, leaving Man City in fourth. The Reds took the lead in controversial fashion, scoring just 22 seconds after a debated Trent Alexander-Arnold handball incident. Manchester City fans cannot argue with the decision for a number of reasons.
Dealing with the incident itself, it has been slowed down to the point of incrimination. The explanation given by the Premier League was that Trent’s arms were not in an unnatural position. City fans will argue that his arm was too far away from his side to be deemed ‘natural’.
However, it is important to consider that the ball has just been deflected, the right back is changing direction as he tries to react to a sudden change in the ball’s trajectory. As he looks to pivot, his arm comes out. That is not unnatural.
If the ball does not strike the Scouser’s hand then it falls to Raheem Sterling for a tap in. If Sterling had scored then the goal would have been ruled out anyway as he would have received the ball via what appears to be the arm of Bernardo Silva. So not only was the ball deflected onto Trent’s arm, it may have been deflected by a City arm – neither player had time to react.
It is also important to remember the incident which swung the Premier League in Manchester City’s favour last season. When the two sides met at the Etihad, Vincent Kompany should have been sent off for a dangerous lunge on Mo Salah around the 30 minute mark. If there had been VAR that day, surely the City captain would have been sent off and the Premier League would have headed to Anfield.
The Alexander-Arnold handball was unpreventable. It was accidental. Even if had gone through him, the City goal would have likely been ruled out. Even if City fans still think that they were cheated – so were we last season, it all comes out in the wash.