His portrait adorns one of those typical brick walls on Sybil Road. Anfield is a few meters away. Trent Alexander-Arnold stands with his back to passers-by in this narrow street, his number 66 proudly displayed in the direction of the enclosure of the Reds, which is preparing to host Benfica this Wednesday in the quarter-final second leg of the Champions League. It is a symbol for this player born here twenty-three years earlier, who has broken through in his favorite club and who already has the status of an icon. The privilege of having his mural in the streets of Liverpool is reserved for legends, such as Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Alan Hensen or Ray Clemence. The message is therefore barely hidden: he is one, despite his young age.
« It’s a Scouser, a real kid from Liverpool. He is highly respected here, says Dylan, avid follower of the club and community manager of the @RedsFrance account (50,000 subscribers) on Twitter. He arrived at the age of six, he captained the youth teams, hasn’t been on loan once since he turned professional. We haven’t had players with this course since Steven Gerrard, that is to say. » And icing on the cake: « If he continues at this rate, he could easily surpass him among the legends ».
Stats to make some offensive players pale
It is neither the same post nor the same story for the moment. The sequel remains to be written but what it is already gives an overview of what the city kid has in his stomach. “We have the impression that he is breaking a record every week”, Dylan said again. Since the 2018-2019 season, for example, Trent Alexander-Arnold has delivered 44 assists (!), including eighteen since the start of this exercise. It’s more than any other Premier League player and it’s pharaonic, moreover for a side.
“There are number 10s who would like to have statistics like him”, exposes, laughing, Darren Tulett, the English journalist of beIN Sports, official broadcaster of the Champions League. We will not try to prove him wrong, Jürgen Klopp either. The German technician no longer asks himself the question when he works eleven names on the score sheet. That of Trent Alexander-Arnold always stands out as obvious. » He’s a crack, a fabulous football player, admire Darren Tulett. I really enjoy watching him play. He has a touch of the ball, an incredible vision of the game, an ability to make absolutely extraordinary laser passes. »
His contribution is undeniably offensive but it is also defensive. « In the mind of Klopp, those who consider that Trent Alexander-Arnold does not know how to defend do not watch football, explains Dylan from the @RedsFrance account. He still has some physical shortcomings but he has taken on such importance… He wins a lot more duels. Its placement also very often allows the block to go up. » So it’s certainly no coincidence that Liverpool are the Premier League team with the most offsides per game.
Traffic jam in the right lane in England
The efficiency of Trent Alexander-Arnold with Liverpool is total but it is obviously not sufficient for the selection of Three Lions, with which he is not even a starter and with whom he has only played seven matches in two years. The fault of injuries is true but not only. He is questioning himself, after very divided performances at the end of 2019. “I did not succeed in imposing myself at that time, he told the Telegraph. This is poor performance by my standards and this is what I need to improve. »
The explanation also has to do with competition. It is abundant on the right with four world-class full-backs, Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Reece James (Chelsea) and Kieran Trippier (Atlético de Madrid), in addition to « TAA ». “It is undoubtedly the most filled position in the selection, explains Darren Tulett. If we make a line of four defenders, I can understand that Kyle Walker passes in front. He is going very fast, he is undoubtedly one of the few who can catch up with Kylian Mbappé. In contrast, Southgate also often played three behind. We can then very well imagine Alexander-Arnold a notch higher, in the right lane, with Walker in the right axial. »
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Gareth Southgate has wealth problems that Jürgen Klopp does not have in this position. Because without disrespecting James Milner and Joe Gomez, the two players most willing to compensate for the absence of the boss in Liverpool, the notion of competition is much more abstract in the county of Merseyside. The coach of Reds then struggled to accept his player’s status with England. “I respect that Gareth makes his own decisions but I didn’t understand it because Trent Alexander-Arnold was the last two seasons at least (2019-2020, 2020-2021) the best right-back in world football. This is the truth and at an incredibly young age” he said last April.
A spade which did not receive any real questioning from the hierarchy within the selection, « TAA » missing Euro 2021 due to injury. So it’s only a matter of time. He is pressing for a player of this level but like what he did at Liverpool, Trent Alexander-Arnold has everything to become a legend. No longer just Reds but of the whole English people.