Football

Late wins not just down to luck

Liverpool right-back Alexander-Arnold says a tight backline has helped the team stay in the game

Luck may have played a major part in Liverpool's last-gasp 1-0 win over Everton on Sunday, but right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold insists that their ability to capitalise on late goals is not entirely down to good fortune.

Juergen Klopp's men sealed one of the most dramatic victories in a Merseyside Derby when substitute Divock Origi headed in a 96th-minute winner, following a blunder by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

It was not the first time that the Reds had produced the goods right at the death this season.

                      EPL
BURNLEY LIVERPOOL

An 89th-minute strike by Daniel Sturridge helped the Reds secure a 1-1 draw with Chelsea in September. That came barely two weeks after a 3-2 win over Paris St Germain, when Roberto Firmino scored the winner in stoppage time.

All that, however, could only be possible with their backline's ability to keep them in the game, Alexander-Arnold told the club's website.

"It's important for us to stay in the game. Keeping a clean sheet gives us the foundation to go and do these things," he said.

"If we're 1-0 down and score in the last minute, it's only 1-1. So, it's important to keep the clean sheet. It's massive for us.

"I think we've shown with PSG at home and then Chelsea away and now Everton - three times this season - that something that we're doing is staying in games and then producing in the last minutes."

Origi's winner sparked wild celebration at Anfield, where an emotional Klopp ran onto the pitch to hug goalkeeper Alisson.

Klopp was subsequently charged for misconduct by the English Football Association.

He had been given until tomorrow to respond, but the German said yesterday that he would pay the £8,000 (S$14,000) fine.

"I couldn't avoid it obviously... if there was no rule, we as managers would do it every week. That's what rules are for and if you break rules you have to be fined for it," Klopp said.

"I don't think anyone thought it was massively wrong. It happened, a fine, I'll pay it, no problem."

Of more concern to Klopp is the fitness of Sadio Mane.

The Senegalese forward faces a late fitness test to be in contention for their trip to Burnley tomorrow morning (Singapore time) after a foot injury during the Merseyside Derby.

However, Klopp refused to rule out the 26-year-old.

"Sadio really had an awful cut on his foot. It needed to be stitched. He is okay but walking around here now in flip-flops - and you don't play in flip-flops," Klopp said.

"That means in this moment he is not ready, but we will see later."

Liverpool could also be without left-back Andy Robertson, who suffered a dead leg.

"With Robbo, it is not that serious as with Sadio, but we need to have a look."

Meanwhile, Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah was named the Football Supporters' Federation's Men's Player of the Year at a ceremony in London, becoming the third Liverpool player after Luis Suarez (2013) and Philippe Coutinho (2016) to win the award.

Football