At the start of the season, with Nathaniel Clyne suffering serious injury and the club heading into the campaign with two untested young right back, fans were understandably nervous. Eight months later, that nervousness seems almost silly in retrospect.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez have both turned in increasingly impressive performances, and Alexander-Arnold’s have been particularly noteworthy of late—shutting down Manchester City’s Leroy Sané twice in the Champions League.
It hasn’t all been success and accolades, though, and in the excited buzz of those recent successes it can be easy to forget that there have been struggles and stumbles question marks, not just at the start of the season but off and on throughout it.
“There has been a lot of ups and downs which maybe a lot of people have not seen in training and off the pitch,” Alexander-Arnold noted. “There hasn’t always been just a steady rise, there have been mistakes and bad games along the way that help you learn.”
At least one of those bad games came as recently as March 10th, Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester United that saw the 19-year-old Alexander-Arnold targeted repeatedly by Marcus Rashford down the right and at fault for both of United’s goals.
Klopp, though, showed trust in the player, sticking with him as he has any time there has been a down or mistake or bad game along the way. And that trust in him was repaid a few weeks later against Sané and City over 180 minutes.
“It is thanks to those games and the trust of the manager that helps you get through those tough moments,” Alexander-Arnold added. “To come through them and learn from them and not let them get you down.
“Looking back 12 months ago I would never have thought I’d be in this situation and I am grateful for it. Every time he has trusted me to play, especially in the big games, I try to show why he has trusted me and I try to do him and the team proud.”