Will Alexander-Arnold make the Right-back position his own?
After an impressive breakthrough season, Trent Alexander-Arnold could be the one to challenge Nathaniel Clyne for the right-back position in the coming season.
Trent, who has been at Liverpool since 2004 and has come through Liverpool’s academy, was born in West Derby – the home of Liverpool’s training ground, Melwood. He impressed Jürgen Klopp and fans alike in the cameo appearances he made last season.
At the tender age of 18, Trent has excess potential. His age is somewhat surprising, given the maturity of his performances. He made his first-team debut in the fourth round of the EFL Cup against Tottenham Hotspur in October.
After that, he featured in the quarter-final tie against Leeds United, grabbing his first assist setting up Divock Origi for the opening goal of the evening and he also earned himself the Man of the Match award for a flawless game.
Trent’s first Premier League cameo followed soon after, as the local lad progressed. He came on during the later stages of a 3-0 win over Middlesbrough in December.
His first full league start wouldn’t compare though. With injuries eating away at his side, Klopp took a leap of faith and trusted the 18-year-old to deliver – and he did exactly that.
He was thrown in at the deep end against Man United. Alexander-Arnold didn’t drown amongst the imense pressure that night. Nullifying the United attack for the most part of the game, he turned in a performance that typified a modern Right-back role.
He also impressed in the Under-23s side. The final game of the season was his highlight as he contributed to a 3-1 win in a mini derby with a superb finish. The goal drew comparisons with the legendary strike from Brazil’s Carlos Alberto in the 1970 World Cup final and the starlet also picked up the club’s Young Player of the Season award.
He recently committed his future to Liverpool with a new long-term contract.
Will he push Clyne out of the side?
Nathaniel Clyne has been one of the Reds’ most consistent performers since his arrival on Merseyside at the start of the 2015/16 season. His pace up and down the flanks has been critical, and his defensive duties are equally imperative to the side.
Clyne’s biggest danger for the opposition side is his ability to get forward and join the attack. His downfall, however, is his level of defending on occasions. He often finds himself astray from the blistering attacks of opponents’ due to his advanced positioning, which sees him surge forward habitually.
Although Clyne has more experience to go by, Klopp may test Trent on a more regular basis this season. This competition may be just what the former Southampton man needs to improve. Having had no-one to challenge him for a starting position, he could step up his game to secure his name on the team sheet.
Trent has shown that he can occupy areas other than at right-back. He has played at centre-midfield for the U23s on a number of occasions – this could be a potential avenue for Klopp to explore in the first-team. He started both pre-aeason friendlies so far against Tranmere and Wigan at right-back though.
Speaking as part of Sky Sports’ live coverage of the EFL Cup game against Leed United, Jamie Carragher labelled Trent Alexander-Arnold the ‘Perfect Full-back’ after his assured performance.
“We know now why Jürgen Klopp only went in with one recognised right back this season. His performance tonight was the same as against Spurs.
“He just looks like a footballer, a fantastic athlete, perfect for the full back position.
“He’s only 18, so you think about how he’s going to look physically in three or four years’ time. He looks like he’s already got the legs and the pace. The strength will come too.”
Liverpool are set for a prosperous future with the amount of talent rising through the ranks and Trent is undoubtedly one who could go on to achieve great things at the club.
Having shown his talent every time he plays and has grabbed every opportunity Klopp presented to him with both hands. It’s clear that he possesses hunger and desire.
In a recent interview with the club, he explained how he wouldn’t be satisfied until he puts on the captain’s armband for the Reds. That is a real statement of intent from the ambitious youngster who looks destined for the big time.