Trent Alexander-Arnold lasts 17 moves against world chess champion Magnus Carlsen

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Trent Alexander-Arnold was proud of his performance in the loss.

Liverpool‘s ‘Grandmaster’ Trent Alexander-Arnold met his match against world chess champion Magnus Carlsen on Monday.

The full-back, who turned 20 on Sunday, lost by checkmate to Carlsen in a match in Manchester which lasted five minutes and involved 17 moves.

Alexander-Arnold, who played in the match organised by the Kaspersky Lab and World Chess to promote the forthcoming World Chess Championship, said he was “proud” of his performance and hopes to inspire more young people to take up the game.

He added: “This whole experience has been an eye-opener, not only into just how much goes into becoming great at the game but also seeing the similarities between it and the sport I love, football.

“Football and chess can seem like polar sporting opposites, but there are so many similarities with the modern game.

“Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the life of a footballer and I guess that is true across most sports now. Although it may go down as a 1-0 loss, I will be practising more and maybe there will be a rematch.”

Alexander-Arnold at least proved more of a match for Carlsen than Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who was beaten in nine moves.

The England defender received coaching from two of the country’s most promising young chess players, Kyan Bui, 12, and Shreyas Royal, nine.

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Liverpool and Man City show they are capable of going unbeaten this season

Alam Khan 8/10/2018
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Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola

Riyad Mahrez missed a penalty as Manchester City blew the chance of ending their Anfield hoodoo.

The Algerian winger stepped up in the 86th minute after Leroy Sane had been caught by Virgil van Dijk.

But Mahrez blasted his spot-kick way over the bar as honours between the Premier League’s top two ended even.

City, who had not won at Liverpool since 2003, had the game’s first shot on target through Mahrez in the 61st minute in a game which was hard fought.

He also forced Alisson into a smart save while Mohamed Salah spurned chances at the other end for the hosts.

Here we examine three things learned from the clash.

A BATTLE ROYALE

Virgil van Dijk gives away the penalty

Virgil van Dijk gives away the penalty

It has often been said the reason why Floyd Mayweather was so successful was his defence. He had the mastered the art of not being hit down to a tee and finished his career unbeaten at 50-0.

If this game is anything to go by then Liverpool and City have all the attributes to finish the season unbeaten.

While their attacks have been lauded in the past, the defences proved their worth in an Anfield contest that emphasises why they are currently the two best teams in the Premier League.

This was a closely-fought battle which saw control, counter punching – and, ultimately, no decisive knockout blow. Riyad Mahrez had that opportunity but spurned it with his awful penalty kick.

Having had the first shot on target in the 61st minute, followed by one for Salah at the other end, it would have been unfair to either side if there was a winner.

Neither wanted to lose, nor could they afford to.

The lack of attempts on target were credit to the backlines and their determination not to give anything away. Any teams so hard to break down like this, and with frontmen proven to conjure up opportunities in an instant, will have every chance of remaining the ones to beat

STERLING SUBDUED

Joe Gomez and Raheem Sterling battle for possession

Joe Gomez and Raheem Sterling battle for possession

It’s three years now since Raheem Sterling left Liverpool in acrimonious circumstances. The England international said he wanted to better himself and win trophies, while Reds fans felt he went for the greater riches on offer at Manchester City and give him stick whenever he comes back to Anfield.

It seems unfair given every professional should be given an opportunity to pursue glory and Liverpool also received up to £49 million for a young player yet to fulfill his potential.

But as the 23-year-old endured another difficult day, it’s clear he is affected on his return to his old stamping ground. He’s never looked comfortable or as confident as he is at the Etihad Stadium, where he has three goals at home this season.

It’s not down to ability nor effort, but points to psychological. The constant barracking and boos must take their toll no matter how much he tries to blot it out or show defiance.

Sterling’s brilliance has been there to behold, but I often wonder if he would be better starting on the bench and then unleashed as defences begin to tire.

He also works better in tandem with Leroy Sane. There is a chemistry between the pair which makes their contributions classy as well as cavalier.

With Riyad Mahrez struggling on the opposite wing, strangely reluctant to go on the outside of his marker Andrew Robertson, the onus was on Sterling to fire City’s attack.

But it was tough going for the Englishman and no surprise when he was eventually replaced by Sane.

CITY’S FUTURE DEFENCE

Aymeric Laporte (L) vies with Mohamed Salah

Aymeric Laporte (L) vies with Mohamed Salah

In two games last season against Liverpool, Aymeric Laporte and John Stones were found wanting and questions asked of their ability.

Costing more than £100m between them, this was the pair Pep Guardiola was hoping could be the cornerstone of City’s defence for the next decade.

But they were teased and tormented by the fearsome Reds attack in crucial Premier League and Champions League losses.

Stones was pressed into mistakes as City’s hopes of an ‘Invincible’ campaign ended in the league meeting, while Laporte looked a liability when moved to the left side of defence in the Anfield encounter which pretty much ended City’s European dream.

But Guardiola kept believing in them and rightly so. At 24, they are still learning and, in starting with them on Sunday and leaving the experienced Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi on the bench, it signalled a changing of the guard and a show of faith.

Stones and Laporte did not let him down. In such a high-octane, high risk, high pressured game, they kept their cool with important clearances and remained classy.

While they are still a work in progress and need more games together, there is a look of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic about them and we all know how good and how successful they were.

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Mohamed Salah far from perfect, but shows signs of promise against Man City

Alex Rea 8/10/2018
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Mohamed Salah in action against Manchester City

Liverpool held Manchester City to a 0-0 draw at Anfield as defences proved the difference in a game which saw the attackers struggle.

Mohamed Salah has been in the spotlight this season after failing to shine in the early months and he again suffered in Sunday’s clash.

Here, we take a closer look at the Egyptian’s performance.

STATISTICS

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30-SECOND REPORT

Against Napoli in midweek, Salah reached a personal nadir.

The Egyptian’s first touch resembled repelling magnets, his passing was wildly erratic while he often ran into blocked avenues to stifle Liverpool’s attacking threat.

Against City, he was once again frustrating but equal parts fantastic, too.

The touch and control was much closer to that of last season. He lso buzzed around the pitch with bags of energy, yet the disappointment arrived whenever he had a sight of goal.

He looked hungrier, but remains starved of goals in comparison to last season’s gluttony of 44 strikes in all competitions.

If you required a microcosm of his season so far, it arrived in the 68th minute when his sublime diagonal run from right to left saw him take in Andy Robertson’s pass off an awkward bounce, only to place his poor effort wide.

Regardless, he was Liverpool’s liveliest player. Even if he’s still not quite living up to the heights of last season.

GOT RIGHT

Energy – The biggest criticism of Salah in Naples was his lack of energy, both in attacking and defensive phases. Against City, he was far more vibrant. If only he could have matched his strong showing with confidence in front of goal.

Always available – When you’re out of form, it’s easy to recline into your shell and hide away from the ball. But credit to Salah who continued to try and make inroads and offer himself in dangerous positions, despite Benjamin Mendy’s own attacking impetus being strangled to marshall the Liverpool forward.

GOT WRONG

Finishing – No awards for guessing this would be mentioned. The complexion of Salah’s performance would be decidedly different had he finished two of the golden opportunities. One was trademark Salah in build-up and shadow Salah in the finish, as he cut inside onto his left but curled straight into the arms of Ederson. The other was previously mentioned shot from Robertson’s pass.

Passing – Aside from James Milner, who exited the game before the half hour through injury, Salah possessed the worst pass success rate of any Liverpool player in the starting XI with 71.4 per cent. Now this may point to him opting for riskier passes to help break down the City defence, or as was the case on occasion, it was simple balls going astray.

VERDICT

Promising, but still far from perfect. He was Liverpool’s best player from an attacking perspective – although that’s not the greatest barometer considering the performances of Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino. The blunt attack is something Jurgen Klopp must be very concerned about right now.

RATING: 6/10

All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com

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