It has been an incredible breakout season for Trent Alexander-Arnold. Such is the level of performance at nineteen years of age that nobody would judge him if his standards had slipped at this late stage in the season. But quite the opposite has happened, with the Liverpool born defender putting in outstanding work in crucial Champions League games.
Perhaps most impressive of all is his seemingly calm head and ability to be unfazed by the huge occasions that surround him. Calmly telling the Liverpool Echo that he and his team mates are going to Rome “with a job to do”, he adds that “we’re looking to win and get to the final”.
Just as Manchester City attempted to do in the second leg of the last round, Alexander-Arnold knows that “they are going to have to come out and score goals. We passed the City test and hopefully we will pass the test again on Wednesday.
“There’s pace in the side and when the opposition gamble we can play in behind them. We have willing runners. The front three especially will make the runs and we will look to find them. We know it is going to be an intimidating atmosphere, just like our fans created at Anfield. We have to be prepared mentally and physically. I try not to get fazed. I just think as maturely as possible. Look at the senior players around you and what they do in these situations.”
The England Under 21 international was also happy to talk about his own progress and the role that his colleagues have played. Explaining that “the senior players have helped me”, he added that “they tell me to enjoy it, first and foremost. Play with a smile and do not get fazed by atmosphere or the opposition you are up against.
“Maybe earlier in the season I would not have made the decisions I do now. I can see what I could do better and it prepares me.”
It’s been terrific to see the progress that Trent Alexander-Arnold has made over the season. Always a confident and gifted attacker, he has looked more assured defensively in recent weeks, making amends for earlier errors. Predicting the progress of young players is famously tricky, but in this case all the markers are there for a rich career in the game.