JOE BERNSTEIN: Inspirational Trent Alexander-Arnold lead by example

JOE BERNSTEIN: Inspirational Trent Alexander-Arnold led by example as Liverpool captain in their 2-0 win over Union St-Gilloise… the local lad is now a genuine leader to his team-mates 

  • Trent Alexander-Arnold played his third game as Liverpool captain
  • The Reds star was substituted to a standing ovation on Thursday night
  • Liverpool beat Union St Gilloise 2-0 at Anfield in the Europa League 

Trent Alexander-Arnold might may not be and brimstone like Graeme Souness or Jordan Henderson but in terms of leading by example, Liverpool’s captain against Union Saint-Gilloise was inspirational.

Alexander-Arnold was named the club’s official vice-captain at the start of this season and with Virgil van Dijk rested for the Europa League clash with the Belgian league leaders, he wore the armband on his red 66 jersey.

Perhaps it’s the shorter haircut or renewed self-belief about Jurgen Klopp allowing him to roam into midfield but 24-year-old Alexander-Arnold exudes a calm confidence at the moment.

A home game in Europe’s second competition that Liverpool were expected to win could have been awkward after the drama of Tottenham last weekend, but Alexander-Arnold made sure his team – featuring nine Klopp changes – met the challenge.

Picked in Gareth Southgate’s England squad earlier on Thursday, Alexander-Arnold went through his full repertoire.

Trent Alexander-Arnold played his third game as Liverpool captain as the Reds beat Union St Gilloise 2-0 in the Europa League at Anfield on Thursday night

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An incisive pass from the centre-circle into Mo Salah’s pass was something most players couldn’t have even envisaged let alone delivered. 

He also showed traditional defending at right-back, an area of the game he’s been criticised for in the past.

And when Liverpool needed a game-changer following a bad miss by Darwin Nunez, Alexander-Arnold proved the man.

A minute before the interval, goalkeeper Alisson rolled the ball out to Alexander-Arnold who happened to be in the left-back position.

Sensing the goalless game needed urgency he went through the gears to take the ball into the Union half.

After receiving a pass back from Nunez he unleashed a shot that lacked the accuracy to beat Antony Moris but made the ‘keeper parry into the path of Ryan Gravenbarch to score.

Though Moris was at fault, the goal wouldn’t have happened without Alexander-Arnold taking responsibility, something Klopp would have been delighted about in the player’s first start for a month following injury.

Alexander-Arnold was substituted with just over an hour played on Thursday night

The England star left the pitch to a standing ovation by Liverpool fans at Anfield 

Less exalted were the Belgian fans whose choreographed chanting was conducted by one of their supporters who spent the whole night in front of them facing away from the pitch. 

Even Alexander-Arnold’s withdrawal after 63 minutes for Joe Gomez has an upside, it means Klopp looks ready to put him in at the start against Brighton on Sunday in a very important Premier League game.

Van Dijk will be back to lead the team out at The Amex but in Alexander-Arnold – once regarded as technically brilliant but possibly fragile – Liverpool’s local lad is now a genuine leader to his team-mates.


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