Just because we’ve learned to win in ugly and tough ways, against previously scary teams like Crystal Palace, doesn’t mean the trip to their home ground is any easier. Playing teams like Crystal Palace will always be an exercise in maintaining the mentality that helped us stay on the top of the table, and Saturday’s match at Selhurt Park was no different. Memories of “Crystanbul” are still too close to fully banish, so beating them in the last ten minutes of the match? Awesome, perfect, means a lot — especially to young players like Trent Alexander-Arnold.
“There was obviously a lot of emotion out there,” the Academy graduate told the club website.
“It was a tough game and this is always one of the toughest places to come, Selhurst Park, with the crowd right on top of you it’s going to be a really tough game.
“They’ve got some really good players and it’s always, for some reason, really difficult coming here so we’ve done well to get the win. We knew it meant a lot so hopefully we’ll be able to keep going and use this as momentum.
“The first game back after an international [break] is always difficult because you go away, you play a different style and then you have to try to come back in. You’ve got players traveling all over the world and obviously a bit of jetlag in there but, again, we’ve come back to have a few days of training and we’ve performed not at our best but we’ve got the win.
“That’s what good teams do, find a way to win, and that’s what we have done.”
Finding a way to win has become the norm for Liverpool this season, with late wins galore and now a 30 game unbeaten streak in the Premier League (continued from last season). That might’ve been the secret to winning the league all along, but it’s still too early too tell with the busy holiday season knocking on the door. Part of that whole “mentality monsters” persona they’ve cultivated, naturally, and Alexander-Arnold knows it.
“We have been showing that throughout the course of the season and even last season we showed how much of a good team spirit we have got and resilience,” continued Alexander-Arnold.
“We had a setback with their goal and we bounced back pretty much straight away. We showed our quality and went up the other end and scored.
“We knew it was always going to be tough but we’ve showed how good a team we are.”
Gone may be the days of clean sheets, for now, but the ability to come from behind and win shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s happened all too often this season, but they’ve all been temporary setbacks that have helped the team in the long run. After all, they’re still top of the table with a nine point cushion over second place Leicester City.
“So far this season we have had setbacks, we’ve went down in games, had late equalisers against us and we’ve showed that whatever people throw at us we bounce back and proved we are such a solid team,” added the fullback.
“For us, it’s about obviously trying not to be in those situations too often as we’ve been in a lot of those situations so far this season.
“We probably want to be picking up more clean sheets than what we’ve been doing and that’s been a disappointment for us.
“But we can’t complain. We’ve got a lot of points on the board but know there is still a long way to go.”