It could be argued that Trent Alexander-Arnold is the biggest positive of the Jurgen Klopp reign at Liverpool, as he has come through the academy to secure a starting position. Considering the quality that the German has brought to the club, including Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, that is quite the achievement.
The emergence of the right-back has been a major reason for the style of play, as both full-backs are expected to offer width and creativity, allowing the forwards to take up more threatening central positions. Although there are right-backs that could have been signed to carry out this role, it would have cost a huge amount to sign one able to match Alexander-Arnold’s output.
Many consider the England international to be the most creative player in the Liverpool team and it is difficult to disagree with that statement. His obvious technical ability is underlined by his prominent role in the team, as he takes a large share of corners and free-kicks. For a 21-year-old to have that responsibility for the current European champions is very unique and highly impressive. If Alexander-Arnold played in a more advanced position, he would be receiving more hype than he currently is. In fact, he may even be going under the radar due to his position.
Alexander-Arnold is undoubtedly the most creative full-back in the Premier League, with 28 chances created so far this season. This is 11 more than Lucas Digne, who is the second most creative. The 21-year-old Liverpool player is helped by the freedom that the system gives him, but given his age, it is impressive to see his high output.
To provide context, Andrew Robertson has created 10 and he plays in the same role on the left-hand side. Although the Scottish international doesn’t take set pieces, it is an indicator of how good Alexander-Arnold is. Meanwhile, the other prominent set piece taker, Mohamed Salah, has created fewer chances with 16 and he is seen as one of the most dangerous attackers in the league.
There have been concerns regarding Alexander-Arnold’s defensive vulnerabilities, as he is targeted in some games. However, a quick look at his importance and consistency in attack underlines why he has made the right-back position his own. It is exciting to think about how good he could become in the future, as he is likely to improve in both halves of the pitch. There could even be an opportunity to use him in more advanced roles as he does mature and develop in senior football.
Since the beginning of last season, Alexander-Arnold has contributed 14 assists. Only two have come in the current season, but based on the chances he has created, he will feel unfortunate that he doesn’t have more at this stage. The opposition teams know the Liverpool style and their strength at full-back, but it remains very difficult to stop.
It is rare for a young player to show the consistency that Alexander-Arnold has in a Liverpool shirt. He has already contested two Champions League finals and looks at home at the top level. Many already consider him a world class player with potential to improve. He could become one of the best players in the world, which makes England’s reluctance to give him a starting role very odd. It won’t be long until he is a regular for club and country.