Published time: 4 May, 2019 20:59 Edited time: 4 May, 2019 21:09
Substitute Divock Origi headed a deflected winner for Liverpool against Newcastle United, but fans bemoaned referee Andre Marriner's decision not to dismiss Trent Alexander-Arnold after a first-half goal-line handball incident.
Alexander-Arnold played a pivotal role at St. James' Park as Liverpool defeated Newcastle United to take the Premier League title race to the final day of the season.
The England fullback set up both Liverpool goals, but was also at the center of a handball controversy that led many fans to complain that he should have been sent from the field.
Alexander-Arnold's corner set up Liverpool's opener on 13 minutes, as newly-crowned PFA Player of the Year Virgil van Dijk was afforded the freedom of the Newcastle penalty area to head home unopposed from eight yards out.
But, despite dominating the play, some lax defending by Liverpool allowed Newcastle to equalise as Christian Atsu tucked a rebound into the bottom corner to draw the home side level.
There was an element of controversy about the goal, however, as Salomon Rondon's initial effort at goal was clearly saved on the line by the Alexander-Arnold's extended arm.
The loose ball was tucked away by Atsu, meaning referee Andre Marriner wasn't forced into making a decision. Had Atsu missed, Marriner would have needed to give a penalty to Newcastle and send off Alexander-Arnold for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.
It led to countless fans posting to Twitter to complain that the Liverpool man should have been sent off, regardless of the goal.
Alexander Arnold should have been sent off, a couple mins later he assists the Liverpool goal.. Luck FC strike again. Corrupt referees and officials strike again.— EvertonBlues (@EvertonBlues_) May 4, 2019
Alexander-Arnold not punished because he didnt deny the goal? Well he did, its just lucky the follow up went in. If Alexander-Arnold breaks someones leg but Rondon is through on goal and scores is he not punished?
Play on, give the goal AND punish the player. End of.— Michael Tunstall (@TFWriter) May 4, 2019
Any reason why Alexander-Arnold wasnt sent off for handball? The goal is irrelevant #NEWLIV— Mark Anthistle (@Manthistle) May 4, 2019
Trent Alexander-Arnold's first half by numbers vs. Newcastle:72 touches50 passes3 clearances2 chances created2 crosses2 assists1 interception
Should he have stayed on the pitch? > pic.twitter.com/3mPuo5bsYm— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 4, 2019
But FIFA rules state that referee Marriner had done the right thing by not dismissing Alexander-Arnold, though he may have been considered correct if he had booked him after the incident for unsporting behavior.
Despite the debate, thanks to Atsu's goal, the Liverpool man stayed on the field and went on to punish the home side later in the half.
Newcastle's Ajoze Perez had just struck the crossbar with a superb volley when Liverpool broke upfield again and Alexander-Arnold crossed perfectly for Mo Salah, who brilliantly side-foot volleyed past Martin Dubravka to put Liverpool ahead again.
Liverpool had the game under control heading into the dressing room at halftime, but all that changed in the second half, when Rondon thrashed home a powerful equalizer on the volley after Liverpool failed to clear a corner on 54 minutes.
And things went from bad to worse for Liverpool when Salah was stretchered off with 20 minutes to go after sustaining a head injury in an aerial collision with Newcastle goalkeeper Dubravka.
But with five minutes to go, the man who came on to replace Salah, Divock Origi, rose highest to head past Dubravka via a deflection off Newcastle defender Jamaal Lascelles headed a Xherdan Shaqiri free-kick into his own net to give Liverpool a priceless winner.
It means the Premier League title race goes to the final day of the season, irrespective of Manchester City's result at home to Leicester City on Monday night.
Liverpool host Wolverhampton Wanderers in their final match of the campaign at Anfield, while City make the trip to the south coast to take on Brighton & Hove Albion.