Three years ago yesterday, in a largely forgotten League Cup win over Tottenham Hotspur, 18-year-old Trent Alexander-Arnold made his first senior appearance for Liverpool. Three years, two Champions League finals, one Champions League trophy, a Premier League record of assists for a defender in a season, and 98 appearances later, I think we can say he’s been impressive.
But don’t take it from me. The boss had a few nice words as well:
“He has a mix of personal education, football education, character, skills, attitude, mentality, and he is on top of all that,” Klopp told the club official website in an interview.
“He is an absolute Scouser in the best understanding. It’s a big task and a big job to be a Scouser as a Liverpool player because you are responsible for pretty much everything. So he has all the good things.
”Apart from that, he is so impressive, so impressive. When I first saw him, I saw that this is something special but he had to work hard to make that really obvious.
“He is good, it’s really a pleasure to work with him, to be honest. He is very aggressive in a positive way.”
Trent’s progression from academy starlet to an important first team player should be an inspiration to everyone at Kirkby. The fact that he was willing to change positions to improve his chances of breaking through should also be noted by those hoping to follow in his footsteps.
It’s difficult to come through the ranks, especially at a club like Liverpool. So difficult, that these kinds of nailed-on, first team talents only come through a few times per generation. It’s easy to remember the Fowlers, [redacted], Carraghers, and Gerrards, but equally easy to forget the hundreds of extremely talented footballers who never came close to “making it” at Liverpool.
It’s safe to say you can add Trent-Alexander to the list, alongside Fowler, Carragher, and Gerrard. Lifting the European Cup will do that. Doing that filth to Barcelona in front of the Kop will do that. Being in line for your 100th senior appearance for the club within a month of turning 21—at a time when the team, arguably, has never been stronger—will do that.
If TAA is recovered from his illness, he’ll make his 99th appearance against the same team he made his first, Tottenham. And against the team where he had his biggest triumph of his young career. I can’t imagine #100 will be too far behind.