Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher disagree on Martin Odegaard VAR verdict in Liverpool vs Arsenal

Gary Neville has revealed the one thing that saved Martin Odegarad from conceding a penalty in Arsenal vs Liverpool for handball. The Gunners made an electric start to proceedings at Anfield with Gabriel Magalhaes heading home after just five minutes from a precise Martin Odegaard free kick.

Prior to the goal, Gabriel Jesus had two attempts at Alisson with the visitors starting the game with intent while Liverpool stuttered out of the blocks. Gabriel then gave his side a deserved lead although a VAR for offside was conducted but eventually cleared with Cody Gakpo deemed to be playing him on,

Liverpool responded well to going behind with Mohamed Salah firing a close-range effort into the side-netting after Oleksandr Zinchenko got lost under the ball. With the Gunners penned in, the ball looked to strike the arm of Odegaard in an unnatural position.

As the game continued, officials at Stockley Park took a look at the incident after strong appeals from Liverpool players and supporters before eventually deeming it was not a clear and obvious error that needed overturning. Following the check, Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher each delivered their respective verdicts with the two pundits disagreeing.

“I think he may just slip there,” Neville admitted on Sky Sports. “That right leg is giving way which means his left arm goes down. I think that’s what saves him. I think he’s lucky but it might be that his foot gives way which means he puts his arm down to try and rebalance and that saves him.”

With the incident still dominating the conversation, Carragher added: ” I think that’s a penalty, he’s very fortunate there (Martin) Odegaard.” Nonetheless, just a few minutes later, Liverpool got their reward with Mohamed Sala beautifully taking down a Trent Alexander-Arnold pass before firing an effort beyond David Raya after easily getting past the challenge of Oleksandr Zinchenko with Neville disappointed by the latter’s efforts to stop the shot.

“It’s absolutely sensational from (Mohamed) Salah,” he said. “I did mention about 10-15 minutes ago that (Oleksandr) Zinchenko against Salah was a mismatch. It’s poor defending from Zinchenko not to deal with that long pass, but that is really weak to allow a world class player to come back on his left foot so easily. You’re asking for trouble, and my god he gave him trouble – what a finish!”

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The home crowd answered Jurgen Klopp’s demands for a huge atmosphere ahead of kick off but it was Arsenal who made the better start. Gabriel Jesus forced a fine save from Alisson early on before Gabriel headed home a free kick inside the opening five minutes.

Liverpool came back into things though, and despite another chance for Jesus, they were level before the half hour mark. Trent Alexander-Arnold’s ball over the top superbly found Mohamed Salah who cut easily past Oleksandr Zinchenko before beating David Raya at his near post.

The game continued at break neck speed until half time with Gabriel Martinelli and Joe Gomez having good chances. Liverpool started the second much stronger though and could have taken the lead after capitalising on some sloppy play from Zinchenko.

An error involving the Ukrainian and Martin Odegaard could easily have decided the game as Trent Alexander-Arnold hit the bar on the counter. Ultimately Arsenal were able to hold on at Anfield for a valuable point that keeps them top of the Premier League at Christmas.

You can hear what Mikel Arteta has to say on all that and much more with’s Arsenal correspondent Kaya Kaynak in our live blog below.

Arteta on what needs to improve in the second half of the season
Yeah of course there are ceratin things that we have to improve. Especially kiling games. Sometimes the results have been too close. But we have showed a good level with five key players out. That’s something we have to maintain.

Arteta on the start of the second half
We gave so many balls away after regaining it. That’s the worst moment against them. We lost the ball in areas that are prohibited against them. But I think we also generated some washing machine moments for them that they didn’t like.

Arteta on the game
It was an unbelievable game of football. One of the most intense I have witnessed in this league in 20 years. To see our boys have the courage and belief to play like we have done here I think our players deserve big, big credit.

Player ratings
Thought the defensive trio of Rice, Saliba and Gabriel were superb today. Martinelli looks really short on confidence atm though, while Zinchenko is lucky not to have cost #AFC today.

Read Kaya Kaynak’s full player ratings vs Liverpool here.

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