Trent Alexander-Arnold is taking the fastrack route to club-legend status with his recent performances that have seen Liverpool comfortably eight-points clear at the Premier League summit.
The 21-year-old full-back has emerged as one of the best right-backs in world football. Alexander-Arnold broke history when he became the youngest ever player to start in consecutive Champions League finals.
Liverpool’s academy graduate also has more assists than any other Premier League player since the start of the 2018/19 season – racking up a staggering 18 assists in that period.
Alexander-Arnold has also created more chance than any of his teammates this season (49) – only Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City has more in the league this campaign.
The Ballon d’Or nominee has made the full-back position his own and it is currently the most attractive position in terms of goals created for the Reds this season. Liverpool have transformed the role of a traditional full-back with their attack-minded duo in Andy Robertson and Alexander-Arnold.
The European Cup-winning pair have contributed to 34 assists between them since the start of last season – more than any other defence in Europe’s top five leagues. Their influence on goals has allowed the duo to practically operate as auxiliary wingers.
Jurgen Klopp has even evolved his 4-3-3 system specifically to suit the needs of Robertson and Alexander-Arnold. Rather than use a creative spark or traditional number 10 as the pinpoint of his midfield three, the German manager prefers a trio that has a more disciplined approach when getting forward allowing space for the full-backs to progress forward.
Alexander-Arnold’s range of passing is so expansive that the England international is able to link-up with Robertson and Mane on the left-hand side with one stroke of the ball. In crucial matches against City and Everton, when space was limited in the middle of the park, it was Liverpool’s No.66 who would split defences open with diagonal passes that would lead to important goals.
Between James Milner, Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Gini Wijnaldum, the midfield quartet have only come up with four assists between them this season compared to the full-back duo’s 11.
The two defenders have transformed the role entirely and its no wonder the two players were shortlisted for so many individual honours throughout 2019.
Full-backs are traditionally thought of as one of the least flamboyant roles in the team. Jamie Carragher once said that ‘no-one wants to grow up to be a Gary Neville’. If we change the narrative to fellow right-back Alexander-Arnold the argument almost becomes obsolete.