Time-and-time-again, Trent Alexander-Arnold has showcased his importance to Liverpool following an unrivalled rise to the elite of Europe’s most elite players.
This has set-up a daunting process for fellow right-back and academy graduate Neco Williams in attempting to match the astronomical high standards of his Liverpool teammate.
Alexander-Arnold’s athleticism and quality from wide areas have developed the young scouser into one of the deadliest full-backs in world football. You only have to look at his stats to validate just how paramount the England international has become in Jurgen Klopp’s set-up.
Once again, Alexander-Arnold is on the brink of breaking the record for most assists in a single campaign by a Premier League defender for a second season. He was the difference against West Ham last week and was a huge miss during the defeat at Stamford Bridge in midweek.
There has never been a right-back able to have the same influence on his team than Alexander-Arnold.
He was dramatically missed during Liverpool’s exit from the FA Cup at the hands of Frank Lampard’s Chelsea despite there being a lot to admire regarding Williams’ performance.
The Welshman’s fearless nature and combative edge will benefit the youngster going forward and he has also proven himself a formidable asset from crosses.
Unfortunately for Williams, he is up against the best right-back the club has had this century and if the 18-year-old is to force his way into Klopp’s plans he will have to iron out a few minor details of his game if he is to thrive at Liverpool long-term.
Alexander-Arnold has set the tone and his influence on his team is unquantifiable to measure. If Williams is to match these same standards then the one glaringly obvious aspect that has to improve is delivering from set-pieces.
Indeed, this will take time, but at Chelsea, the teenager wasn’t entrusted to pin-point Liverpool’s deliveries from set-pieces with Fabinho instead taking up the mantle.
Klopp has proven that if you are good enough you are old enough. Rewind back two years and a 19-year-old Alexander-Arnold announced himself on the European stage after thundering home a beautifully whipped free-kick against Hoffenheim to announce Liverpool once again as Champions League contenders.
Liverpool have scored 16 league goals (including penalties) from set-pieces so far this season, more than any other team. Last season, they topped that table with 29 set-piece goals. Bournemouth and Manchester United were joint second on 21.
Klopp has unlocked a new element to Liverpool’s already adaptive game and if Williams is to take the next step in his development he will have to get on board to attempt to match the near-impossible standards of his teammate and close friend Alexander-Arnold.