A lot of the talk surrounded Ben Woodburn when the 17-year-old became Liverpool’s youngest ever goal scorer against Leeds but it is one of his fellow youth stars who has stolen the spotlight over recent weeks.
Trent Alexander-Arnold has been outstanding when called upon this season and caught the eye with a brave and mature performance against Manchester United in his first Premier League start for the Reds.
The teenager has impressed during Liverpool’s cup run but was finally granted an opportunity to express himself on a more testing stage when he lined up against Jose Mourinho’s men in place of the injured Nathaniel Clyne.
Playing as a right-back seems second nature to him now but things could have ended up differently.
In his Academy column, former Red Rob Jones told Liverpoolfc.com: “I think it’s important to remember that Trent only started playing at right-back just over a year ago. When he was in our U16s side and broke into the U18s he was a midfielder until Neil Critchley put him in at right-back.”
“Trent is still learning the game but he has just been exceptional. I worked with him on the training field just giving him a bit of advice and he is a pleasure to coach. He is a listener and when you talk to him and tell him what he has done right and done wrong, he will take everything on board, listen and then work as hard as he possibly can to improve on that. Trent wants to learn, you can see he has got that in him.”
Perhaps that explains not only his attacking instincts but also his exquisite technique on the ball. It seems learning what it takes to play as a midfielder bodes well for full-backs, especially when considering James Milner’s success as a defender.
It also appears that he has the attitude to match his talent.
There is a quietly confident feeling about what this young man is capable of and we are fully expecting to see him in the first team on more than one occasion between now and the end of the season.