Editor’s Column: Trent Alexander-Arnold… The man who’s won it all 23

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Trent Alexander-Arnold will be forever dogged by the reputation that he cannot defend. Whenever he makes so much as a half-mistake it will be analysed and criticised by pundits and non-Liverpool fans who only pay half attention to our games. Gareth Southgate probably does the same.

But there will be no clips of Trent’s ‘awful’ defending from Saturday’s Wembley clash. None whatsoever. The right-back, who played much of the game in the half-space just right of where a central midfielder would be, was phenomenal at the back, winning his duels and showing fantastic positional awareness throughout.

Obviously, his passing was ludicrously good. It often is, but on the large Wembley pitch, Trent compiled his own highlight reel. The best of the bunch was a through-ball with the outside of his boot that put Luis Diaz in one-v-one. If the Colombian had finished, it would have gone down as one of the best assists of the season.

If you’ve got three minutes spare, it’s worth watching this video of Trent’s best bits from the day. To think, he didn’t even get Man of the Match!

Just like he did in February in the League Cup Final, Trent dispatched his penalty with aplomb, too. Aged 23, he’s now won the Premier League, the Champions League, the Club World Cup, the Super Cup, the FA Cup and the League Cup. His detractors will probably point to the absence of the Community Shield as evidence of him being overrated, of course.

The reality is there is no better right-back on the planet – and he’ll be at Liverpool for the next decade. Liverpool truly are spoilt in both fullback positions. Joe Gomez ably backs up Trent for us now and hasn’t put a foot wrong when Jurgen Klopp has decided to give his first-choice a rest. He’ll do so again on Tuesday at Southampton but there should be little to concern us with as Gomez just as good defensively and capable of swinging in the odd telling cross himself.

At left-back, Kostas Tsimikas provides backup for Andy Robertson. There’s less of a gap between the two, but mainly because both are conventional left-backs, whereas replicating Trent’s playmaking at right-back is nigh-on impossible for most. Kevin de Bruyne is probably best equipped to do an adequate impression, which again says plenty about how Trent defines the position.

“Growing up you never think you will win all these trophies. You see legendary players who do that and you think it is unbelievable. To be able to say I have done that at such a young age is a dream come true and it is motivation to go on and carry on winning more trophies,” Trent said after the FA Cup win, 

“Hopefully there is a lot more to come. The motivation is to win them all again and keep winning and keep adding to the trophy cabinet.

“Days like Saturday help me. I think it comes from within and thinking about what I want my legacy to be and where I think my potential is as a player. The sky is the limit really, so I want to push on and never be satisfied. I will keep my head down, try and win more trophies and hopefully at the end of my career I can be proud of what I have done.”

Before this season is done, he might have another Champions League and Premier League medal to his name. To secure the former we need to beat Real Madrid in Paris in what is essentially a 50/50 game against a European Behemoth. The PL is still a big ask, as we’ll need to win our remaining two games and hope Steven Gerrard can do us a favour against Manchester City, with his Aston Villa team visiting the Etihad.

Stranger things have happened, but in all likelihood a well-rested City will storm the game and win by a big margin. A last-minute Coutinho winner into the top corner wouldn’t go amiss, of course, but barring a huge upset, Liverpool will finish on 90+ points without the title again.

It’s disappointing, but it’s not something that should get any Red down for too long after a season in which we’ve already won two cups and could add the biggest of the lot on May 28. City are exceptionally well-managed with world-class players and have the advantage of financial doping. It’s not a level playing field, but we’re still competing on one.

Trent is a huge part of that. A right-back who’s worth £200m in today’s market who cost us nothing.

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  1. I love Trent but he does still have some really dodgy moments defending. He has improved massively when the player is in front of him and his anticipation has also improved but he still has some really surprising moments when he seems to switch off and be totally unaware of players behind him or he makes some pretty odd decisions. Several times this season the ball has gone back post to the oppo and TAA hasn’t even jumped or moved back when there has been a player there. Then there was the goal v Tottenham. TAA was next to Kane when he (Kane) recieved the ball. Kane cut inside and Trent moved in the opposite direction! No pressure on the ball, no closing down, nothing, as a result the next defender had to cover giving a free pass and a cross for the goal with Trent stranded doing who only knows what job. Dont get me wrong, I wouldn’t swap him for anyone and the key is that he is 23 and he IS still improving. He will sort out those glitches, no doubts, while remaining the best attacking defender in world football.

  2. Exactly my sentiments. We sometimes tend to overlook the little glitches when we “wax lyrical” about our best…..
    But these are the very same “minor” issues that are the difference between 1 point or 3 points.
    He is still tops , just needs to work on these minor lapses of concentration – they are there, don’t “polish them over”.
    Once this is sorted, there’ll be no stopping him.

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