After an impressive breakthrough season, Trent Alexander-Arnold could be the one to challenge Nathaniel Clyne for the right-back position in the coming season.
Trent, who has been at Liverpool since 2004 and has come through Liverpool’s academy, was born in West Derby – the home of Liverpool’s training ground, Melwood. He impressed Jürgen Klopp and fans alike in the cameo appearances he made last season.
At the tender age of 18, Trent has excess potential. His age is somewhat surprising, given the maturity of his performances. He made his first-team debut in the fourth round of the EFL Cup against Tottenham Hotspur in October.
After that, he featured in the quarter-final tie against Leeds United, grabbing his first assist setting up Divock Origi for the opening goal of the evening and he also earned himself the Man of the Match award for a flawless game.
Trent’s first Premier League cameo followed soon after, as the local lad progressed. He came on during the later stages of a 3-0 win over Middlesbrough in December.
His first full league start wouldn’t compare though.
He got the call from Klopp to get ready and start at Old Trafford against bitter rivals, Manchester United, back in January.
With injuries eating away at his side, Klopp took a leap of faith and trusted the 18-year-old to deliver – and he did exactly that.
Trent was thrown in at the deep end but did not drown amidst the pressure. Instead, he rose to the challenge set upon him. He tamed the United attack for the most part of the game, only for them to equalise late on and put a dampener on his terrific performance.
He also impressed in the Under-23s side. The final game of the season was his highlight as he contributed to a 3-1 win in a mini derby with a superb finish. The goal drew comparisons with the legendary strike from Brazil’s Carlos Alberto in the 1970 World Cup final and the starlet also picked up the club’s Young Player of the Season award.
Signing a new deal with the club I love means everything to me! Thanks everyone who has helped me so far. The hard work is just starting #66 pic.twitter.com/qg031gTREI
— Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) July 7, 2017
Trent has shown his talent every time he plays and has grabbed every opportunity Klopp presented to him with both hands. It’s clear that he possesses hunger and desire. In a recent interview with the club, he explained how he wouldn’t be satisfied until he puts on the captain’s armband for the Reds. That is a real statement of intent from the ambitious youngster who looks destined for the big time.
He recently committed his future to Liverpool with a new long-term contract, but will he push Clyne out of the side?
Nathaniel Clyne has been one of the Reds’ most consistent performers since his arrival on Merseyside at the start of the 2015/16 season. His pace up and down the flanks has been critical, and his defensive duties are equally imperative to the side.
Clyne’s biggest danger for the opposition side is his ability to get forward and join the attack. His downfall, however, is his level of defending on occasions. He often finds himself astray from the blistering attacks of opponents’ due to his advanced positioning, which sees him surge forward habitually.
He has recognised Trent’s talent though, and some would say he is wary of his position in the squad and is aware of the competition he faces going ahead.
Although Clyne has more experience to go by, Klopp may test Trent on a more regular basis this season. This competition may be just what the former Southampton man needs to improve. Having had no-one to challenge him for a starting position, he could step up his game to secure his name on the team sheet.
Trent has shown that he can occupy areas other than at right-back. He has played at centre-midfield for the U23s on a number of occasions – this could be a potential avenue for Klopp to explore in the first-team. He started both pre-season friendlies so far against Tranmere and Wigan at right-back though.
The Reds are set for a prosperous future with the amount of talent rising through the ranks and Trent is undoubtedly one who could go on to achieve great things at the club.