Jürgen Klopp believes that Trent Alexander-Arnold’s commitment, ambition and desire to succeed at Liverpool Football Club all warranted his new deal.
Trent Alexander-Arnold signed a new contract extension on Friday while at Melwood and Jürgen Klopp couldn’t be any happier to have tied the 18-year-old down for his long-term future.
The defender – who can also play in midfield – capped off a remarkable 12-month rise to prominence that started during last summer’s pre-season, by extending his stay at the club until 2022.
Despite only being 18 years of age, Alexander-Arnold is no longer viewed as simply an academy prospect and is expected to challenge Nathaniel Clyne for a first-team spot all the way this season.
“It is fantastic news and brilliant that the club have again rewarded his progress,” Klopp told Liverpool’s official website.
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“I think our appeal to young players with the right attitude is clear: if they commit to their football we will make sure we do well for their present and futures.
“Trent and the people he has in his life – personally and professionally – make such smart decisions. I love that he is so humble, yet has such big ambitions. This is a wonderful mixture.”
Klopp has also “made it clear” that Trent is not the only one who could benefit from his youth policy, explaining that each and every young player at the club will be given a solid chance until it is proven that they definitely are – or aren’t – good enough for the club.
“The club have made it clear to all our young players that as they grow and improve so will our commitment to them. This is an example of that. We offer opportunity – that’s key to what we believe in – but we also offer a culture where progress is rewarded. Trent has earned this new deal.”
Alexander-Arnold heavily featured in last summer’s pre-season before his promotion to the first team squad saw him make the bench for Liverpool’s opening day visit to Arsenal back in August last year.
The no.66 would make his full competitive debut against Spurs in the League Cup, before making his full Premier League debut in a baptism of fire at Old Trafford in January.
“The credit for this is entirely with Trent,” Klopp said, referencing the Englishman’s rapid rise.
“Yes, those of us around him have played a part as well – coaches, teammates, Academy and development staff. But Trent sets the tone for everything he does with his attitude and character.
“He commits to everything he does: he wants to learn, he wants to grow, he wants to develop and his focus is absolutely in the right place. He embraces being part of the first-team environment. He never shrinks or hides.
“We must remember he is young and is still at the very start of his journey. I have said before and believe in it completely – this club has the perfect culture and environment for helping young, talented players.
“But ultimately it’s about them and Trent has had a benchmark attitude so far. The challenge for him now is to maintain this and even improve it.”
Improvement is something that Klopp is always looking for in both his youth players and his first-team squad and Alexander-Arnold will be hoping to make the boss proud over the coming season. In order to do so, the defender-come-midfielder will be “afforded plenty of patience,” by the club’s staff.
“There were bumps in the road last season – but how he responded was outstanding. There is no pressure on Trent here, except for what he puts on himself. Here we are patient. We know there’ll be more mistakes and more areas for development. We will help him though. He is a great talent.”
Finally, Klopp preferred to give credit to the club’s academy staff for their role in developing a player who has been at Liverpool since he was six years old, rather than taking any himself.
“It is a proud day for our Academy as well as for Trent and his family,” said the boss.
“He’s a boy with the city and club colours flowing through his veins, and for our Academy staff, I know moments like this mean a lot to them. They play such an important part in guiding the players to the stage where their opportunity with the first-team set-up comes.
“Trent has done them proud so far, but both he and they know there is still much to do to fulfil his potential.”