“I’m just a normal lad from Liverpool whose dreams have come true.”
Trent Alexander-Arnold isn’t just living his dream, he’s living a life so many Liverpool fans wish they had growing up.
He’s the ‘scouser in our team’ as the adoring Kopites chant whenever he scores a goal, gets an assist or even produces one of his trademark menacing crosses.
Liverpool are a club with worldwide support but Alexander-Arnold, 21, has helped re-establish a connection between the club and fans from Merseyside that was briefly lost when local hero Steven Gerrard left in 2015.
And the lad from West Derby has delivered something that Gerrard, Jamie Carragher or any Liverpool player of the last 30 years couldn’t – a league title.
Alexander-Arnold’s professional career is still in its early stages but he’s been on Liverpool’s books since he was six years old. He and his brothers, Tyler and Marcel, grew up football mad but some big decisions in the family needed to be made early on.
Tyler and Marcel were forced to give up playing football for their teams so their mum, Dianne, could take Trent to training at Melwood. It’s fair to say Trent has repaid the difficult sacrifices his siblings made. And they’re still a tight-knit family, Tyler is his agent.
It’s more difficult than ever for young players to get and keep their place in the first-team but Alexander-Arnold was captain of Liverpool’s under-16 and under-18 sides under Pepijn Lijnders, who is now Jurgen Klopp’s assistant and it became clear there was a chance he could reach the top – Alexander-Arnold even got a shout out in Gerrard’s 2015 autobiography.
He got into the first-team in 2016/17, playing the odd League Cup tie. His first Premier League start was a potential baptism of fire against Manchester United at Old Trafford. But he handled himself well and on the other games he played. Alexander-Arnold would later scoop up the club’s young player of the season award.
More opportunities arose the following campaign and Alexander-Arnold soon found himself as a regular first-team player. Liverpool fans really took notice when he curled in an incredible free-kick in a Champions League qualifier at Hoffenheim.
But it was another Champions League night where Alexander-Arnold really came of age, marking Leroy Sane out of the game as Liverpool destroyed Manchester City in the quarter-final first leg at Anfield. Considered attacking rather than defensive, it showed he can be stoic when he needs to be.
Liverpool reached the final that season but were beaten by Real Madrid. Alexander-Arnold once again handling the occasion and opposition well as he marked the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo. Alexander-Arnold narrowly missed out on the Golden Boy award in 2018 to Matthijs de Ligt.
Liverpool fans knew they had a good player on their hands but it was a moment of sheer brilliance and cheek in the 2018/19 Champions League that made Alexander-Arnold a great player. You only need to utter the words ‘corner taken quickly’ to put a smile on the face of any Liverpool fan.
The Reds had clawed back a 3-0 deficit from their semi-final tie against Barcelona and had a corner as a raucous Anfield willed them to get the fourth goal that would take them through.
Alexander-Arnold was setting himself but spotted an unmarked Divock Origi in the box, who slotted the genius quick corner home to leave static Barca defenders shell-shocked. The incredible comeback was completed and Liverpool went on to win the competition.
The personal accolades also went to Alexander-Arnold. He was named in the PFA’s Team of the Year and also became the youngest player to start in two successive Champions League finals. He was aged just 20 when Liverpool beat Spurs in Madrid.
Alexander-Arnold also holds the record for most assists by a defender in a Premier League season with twelve. He’s already equalled that this term.
The success he and left-back Andy Robertson have had is part of a long-term goal to change the meaning of a full-back’s role on the pitch.
Speaking in January, Alexander-Arnold said: “We want to change the way the position has previously been thought about.
“Obviously there was the famous saying ‘no one wants to grow up to be a full-back or a Gary Neville.’ We want to bring in a different way of thinking.”
Such has been Alexander-Arnold’s brilliance, the man who is quoted with that hilarious remark about Neville, Jamie Carragher, has said this season that having Alexander-Arnold is like having Man City star Kevin De Bruyne at right-back.
It’s an exciting time to be a Liverpool player and it wouldn’t be a surprise at all if Alexander-Arnold became club captain in the future. He’s already being tipped as a ‘future Ballon d’Or winner’ by legendary Brazil full-back Cafu.
He’s secured his status as a Liverpool icon, and there is a mural of Alexander-Arnold displayed on Anfield’s Sybil Road.
This was painted before they were crowned Premier League champions which demonstrates just how highly thought of he is. Not bad for a normal lad from Liverpool.