While uproar around Jordan Henderson’s future has dominated the chatter and the reports, Trent Alexander-Arnold’s short interview with Liverpoolfc.com has flown under the radar.
Alexander-Arnold reports that he is ready to be called upon for Liverpool after sustaining a thigh injury at Euros 2020, and feels featuring in the upcoming 30-minute club friendlies is an “achievable” goal — though the fact that the games are short and the number of players available is high, it’s unclear whether we’ll get to see the Scouser in action just yet.
In response to questions about his fitness, the 22-year-old was overwhelmingly positive:
“[I’m] fully pain-free. I’ve been doing a lot of rehab when we were off over the summer with the physios and the medical staff, which was good for me.
“I feel fit, I feel healthy and I’m back in full training now, so it’s good. It’s good for me.
“I’ve done quite a few sessions with the lads now, I feel fit enough to play. But the decision comes from the manager, the staff and obviously the medical staff, they need to talk and see if it’s worth the risk.
“If not, there’s a game on Friday as well, so whether it’s a case of a few minutes on Tuesday and play a bit more on Friday, ease me in like that, who knows? Either way, I’ll be ready to play.”
This is great news for fans, who may have wondered if the defender picking up an injury so late in the 2020/21 season might hinder his ability to catch up to expected fitness levels to start the season.
As he spoke to Liverpoolfc.com, Alexander-Arnold unpacked the process of being reintegrated into team training.
“If you give me the opportunity at any point to train at 100 per cent I would have taken it.
“But there were still things we needed to do. We needed to finish off the last stage of rehab and make sure we ticked all the boxes before we put me back in.
“And I think we’ve been able to do that. Now, being back in full training with the lads is good. It feels good and I feel good out there.”
Of course, Alexander-Arnold is not the only defender coming back to fitness, with Joe Gomez, Joël Matip, and Virgil Van Dijk returning as well. The right-back spoke, too, about what the return of Van Dijk means for the side.
“In and around the team, he’s such a big difference for us.
“Amazing guy, amazing player. But the impact he has on us is huge, he knows that himself and knows the role he needs to play within the team, as a leader and as one of the captains.
“He’s a big part of the team and everyone is really pleased to see him back training and in and around the team.”
There’s no guarantee with injuries, but fans can hope that the returning Reds will be able to put forth a strong challenge domestically and in Europe next season — after all, these lads managed third place in challenging injury circumstances last season...