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Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold finds himself at the centre of Jurgen Klopp’s plans

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Liverpool

Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold finds himself at the centre of Jurgen Klopp’s plans

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s rise to prominence at Liverpool has seen him gravitate to the centre of Jurgen Klopp’s long-term thinking, writes Martyn Cooke.

Liverpool are truly a multi-national football club. The Reds are owned by Americans, have a German manager and have a first team squad that is made up of players from 14 countries across four continents.

However, whilst the likes of Mohamed Salah (Egypt), Roberto Firmino (Brazil) and Virgil Van Dijk (Holland) have been the focus of most of the headlines so far this season, it is a young Liverpudlian who has quietly emerged as one of the most promising players at the club.

Trent Alexander-Arnold is the perfect example of a ‘local boy come good’.

The 19-year-old grew up in West Derby, just minutes away from Liverpool’s training complex at Melwood where as a child he would attempt to catch a glimpse of first-team players by looking through a hole in the wall, and he distinctly remembers the open-top bus parade that passed by his house after the club won the Champions League in 2005.

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp (L) hugs Liverpool’s English midfielder Trent Alexander-Arnold at the final whistle of the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and West Ham United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 24, 2018. (OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

The full-back has experienced a dramatic rise to prominence in the last eighteen months. Just two years ago he was little more than a talented youngster in Liverpool’s academy, a player with potential but no guarantee of breaking into the first team, but now he has cemented a spot at the centre of Jurgen Klopp’s plans.

The 19-year-old has been a regular feature at right-back this season where, in the absence of the injured Nathaniel Clyne, he has shared the role with fellow youngster Joe Gomez.

However, in recent weeks Alexander Arnold has made the position his own and he has started all five of Liverpool’s fixtures across all competitions as he continues to improve, develop and impress.

He has made a total of 32 appearances since making his debut last season against Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup, 20 of which have come during this campaign.

 

The full-back has certainly not been a bit-part player and Klopp’s faith in the youngster has been demonstrated by his consistent inclusion in the club’s Champions League run, including the five-goal victory against Porto in the first knock-out round.

Indeed, it was in the Champions League that he scored the first of his three career goals with a spectacular free-kick against Hoffenheim.

Alexander-Arnold’s strength lies in his dynamic play. The full-back possesses the pace, endurance and technical ability to continuously make forward runs into the opposition half to create an overload on the right side of the pitch. His sheer energy, enthusiasm and raw speed make him a difficult player to restrict or combat.

Liverpool’s Senegalese midfielder Sadio Mane (R) celebrates with Liverpool’s English midfielder Trent Alexander-Arnold (C) after scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Liverpool at Turf Moor in Burnley, north-west England on January 1, 2018. (OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Of course, the 19-year-old’s game is far from perfect. There are still question marks over his defensive ability and decision making in the final third, but there is little doubt that time is on his side and he is improving with every game that he plays. His performances have certainly been impressive in recent week.

Such has been his dramatic rise to prominence, Alexander-Arnold is now being cited as having an outside chance of being involved with the senior England national team ahead of the World Cup in the summer.

He has represented his country at every age group from under-16’s to under-23’s and Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has claimed that the youngster ‘is going to be an England fullback’.

The World Cup might come too soon for the 19-year-old, but there is little doubt that Alexander-Arnold has the quality, potential and time to become the first-choice right back for both club and country in the future.

Martyn is currently a PTA and Research Assistant in the Department of Exercise Science at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). In addition to his teaching role he is also undertaking a PhD in Sports History that is exploring the origins and development of football in Staffordshire. Prior to working at MMU, Martyn spent a decade operating in the sport and leisure industry in a variety of roles including as a Sports Development Officers, PE Teacher, Football Coach and Operation Manager.

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