Ben Woodburn got the headlines thanks to his first ever senior goal, and Ovie Ejaria impressed throughout with a skillful midfield performance, but for many the man of the match against Leeds United on Tuesday evening was 18-year-old academy product Trent Alexander-Arnold.
And one person who isn’t overlooking his impact today is former Red and current Sky pundit Jamie Carragher, who looks at Alexander-Arnold’s performances in the EFL Cup this season and now sees why the club didn’t feel any need to bring in depth at the right back position over the summer.
“Now we know why Jürgen Klopp only went in with one recognised right back this season,” Carragher noted. “I think we know why now, with his performance tonight and the same against Spurs. Sometimes you just look at someone before you see them play and they look like a footballer.
“He just looks like a fantastic athlete, perfect for the full-back position. He’s only 18 so you think about how he’s going to look physically in three or four years’ time. He looks as though he’s already got the legs and the pace, and the strength is going to come.”
Alexander-Arnold does, it has to be said, look a touch undersized lining up for the senior side. He hasn’t let that get in the way of putting in quality performances, though, either against Tottenham in the last round of the EFL Cup or against Leeds this time out.
Over an extended run, his youth and slight stature might be cause for concern. In limited action, though, he certainly seems up to the task—so much so that it has to be assumed he will get the call when Liverpool play in the semi-finals in January. And, as Carragher says, the strength will come.
“He’s still got a long way to go, the young lad,” he added. “But to have an 18-year-old kid as your back-up, thinking about how big a club Liverpool are—fighting on all fronts and challenging at the top of the league—shows the faith Jürgen Klopp has got in him.”