As Liverpool steamrolled their way to a fine Champions League win in Portugal, it was easy to let the performance of young Trent Alexander-Arnold go under the radar.
With Liverpool’s front three in scintillating mood, aided by the revival of James Milner’s legs, the 19-year-old went about his job with diligence, adding another impressive performance to the gallery.
Already in his young career, Arnold has been thrust into some big games. His Premier League debut came away at Manchester United, a cauldron for any young Red to be thrust into. After a shaky start, he had the better of Anthony Martial and was a bright point as Liverpool came away with one point.
Having made a handful of appearances last season, he was then thrown in for his European debut in the crunch play-off match against Hoffenheim in August. Pressure, what pressure? Another solid defensive performance marred by a late slip up for Uth to score, but by that point, he’d already broken the deadlock by having the courage to step up ahead of his more experienced teammates and swing a free-kick into the bottom corner.
That attacking talent was then shown as he scored in the Champions League group stages before his 19th birthday, filling in expertly for the suspended Joe Gomez as he helped Liverpool break Maribor down in each game, scoring away and then providing the opening assist for Salah at Anfield.
It wasn’t his attacking exploits that were on show against Porto though (despite picking up a key pass), in the latest test for Trent.
Coming up against Yacine Brahimi, Alexander-Arnold was lining up against a winger hailed as one of the best players in Portugal, Brahimi also being Riyad Mahrez’s left-hand man in the Algerian national team.
If a Premier League club were to go and drop £50M on Brahimi tomorrow, few would bat an eyelid. He’s a seriously impressive footballer. Backed up by the impressive Alex Telles behind him, the pair form a formidable duo down Porto’s left-hand side. Whilst right-winger Mo Salah was off keeping up his blitzing form, Trent was busy shackling the dangerous couple.
Completing four tackles, Alexander-Arnold topped that statistic for Liverpool in a game where the entire Porto team only managed 15 themselves. It was how he specifically kept Brahimi quiet that really impressed though, as the winger was dragged off during the second-half.
How TAA bruised Brahimi
- Brahimi averaged 5.5 completed dribbles per game in the group stage and got 9 against Leipzig in one game but was restricted to just three on Wednesday.
- Brahimi is fouled on average 3 times a game this season, he didn’t win one free-kick.
- Brahimi tried to take Trent on 9 times, succeeding on just 3 occasions.
- Brahimi didn’t make one cross during the game, despite Porto’s striker having the biggest head known to man.
Star of the future, contributing now
It’s easy to see Alexander-Arnold’s attacking contributions, they shone throughout life in the youth teams and he already has three goals at senior level. However, his defensive contributions have gone a little unnoticed, perhaps given the good form of Joe Gomez.
With Gomez joining Nathaniel Clyne in being able to offer Liverpool a solid defensive outlet at right-back, much of the talk about Trent has revolved around how he’s useful to have in defence when we’re trying to break down a low block, with his future set for a midfield role.
However, he’s ready to contribute now. Maybe not every week, but definitely not just against deep-lying teams. Martial dealt with, Brahimi dealt with, who next for the young starlet to master?