Trent Alexander-Arnold was happy for his scuffle with Granit Xhaka at Anfield on Sunday, saying ‘a little bit of fire’ got the crowd going as Liverpool bounced back to draw with Arsenal.
The Gunners were looking good away from home, leading 2-0 thanks to goals from Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus, but things changed just before half-time.
Xhaka shoved Alexander-Arnold off the ball, with the Liverpool man reacting and pushing the Arsenal midfielder back, leading to other players getting involved.
Shortly afterwards Mo Salah scored for the home side, with Roberto Firmino going on to equalise in the second half.
Many saw the flash point as the turning point and Alexander-Arnold was certainly not disappointed that he had a spat with the Swiss, saying it helped energise the Anfield crowd.
‘I think a little bit of fire in a game like that, there’s nothing wrong with it,’ said Alexander-Arnold. ‘He nudged me off the ball so it’s a natural reaction to do it back. It got the crowd going.’
The England international described the game as a whole as intense, but admitted they lacked that intensity early on, not finding it until near half-time.
‘Intense. Very good game of football,’ he told Sky Sports. ‘Both sides played great football at times. We didn’t start like we wanted to but we showed character. We had a huge chance to win it at the end but we’ll take a point.
‘We lacked intensity and weren’t compact enough as a team [at the start]. Towards the end of the first half we started playing the way we wanted to and definitely in the second half. Against a team like that you’ll get punished for not starting quickly enough.’
Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher couldn’t believe that Xhaka had risked riling up the home team when his side were in such clear control.
‘What is he thinking? 2-0 up away at Anfield, he just throws his arm into Trent. Just ridiculous,’ Carragher told Sky Sports.
‘The crowd gets up, the ball’s already gone. It’s 2-0, we’re almost at half-time.’
Ian Wright backed Xhaka, though, saying he cannot be blamed for the whole team failing to keep up their standards over the 90 minutes.
‘The fact is, he’s been brilliant for us this season,’ the Arsenal icon said on Match of the Day 2. ‘I think the narrative is, people are trying to point at someone. That’s how Granit Xhaka plays, he’d probably play like that in his own garden. I wouldn’t put that on him.
‘What I’d put on us is the way we weren’t able to see that out and continue playing like we did in the first half.’
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