InterviewAlexander-Arnold on final-day feelings, Salah wish and Origi legacy
Trent Alexander-Arnold heads into the final game of the Premier League season with a sense of excitement and achievement.
Liverpool’s title race with Manchester City comes down to the last day, with Pep Guardiola’s team a point ahead of the Reds at the top.
Wolverhampton Wanderers are the visitors to Anfield, while City are at home to Aston Villa as the 2021-22 campaign concludes with simultaneous kick-offs.
With the Carabao Cup and Emirates FA Cup already in the trophy cabinet, a Champions League final to come and the championship still a possibility, Alexander-Arnold will feel pride no matter how things transpire on Sunday.
Asked for his emotions ahead of the finale, the No.66 told Liverpoolfc.com: “Excited, yet again. That’s all we can be, to be honest.
“It’s not in our hands, that’s the only real shame about the day, but we’re more than happy to be in amongst it. To take it down to the very last day was something special from us.
“We’ve dug in, all the competitions we’ve had, coinciding with our games, the rescheduled fixtures, the three games a week for however long. It’s kind of unheard of, this kind of stuff. To have that consistency over the course of the season has been outstanding.
“I think us lads can be proud of ourselves, it has been an outstanding season. And whether we do get the trophy on Sunday or not, it’s a huge achievement to even go head-to-head with that City team, especially with already having two trophies in the bag and hopefully one more the week after.”
We sat down with Alexander-Arnold at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the clash with Wolves to hear his thoughts on the season’s conclusion.
The right-back also explained the development of his connection with Mohamed Salah this term and paid tribute to Divock Origi.
Read the rest of the interview below…
You’ve had this experience before – even the opposition being Wolves – needing to win on the last day and waiting for other results. Is it easy to block things out and focus on your game?
That is all we can do, to be honest, just focus on our game. As long as we get the win, that’s all we can do and I think that’s where our focus needs to be. There’s nothing we can do about the other game, it’s out of our hands. We’ve just got to hope for the best. For us, it’s about winning our game, going out on a high and making sure we win the game, keeping that consistency up.
Inside Training: Reds' pre-Wolves session on Friday
The manager is always philosophical in these situations. No matter what happens, will you be at peace that you gave it everything and couldn’t have done much more, certainly in the second half of the season?
That’s exactly it. There’s nothing we actually could have done. You think back to maybe the draw with Tottenham but the form they were in was very good at the time and it was a difficult opponent to beat and it was a fair result, to be honest. To think of the second half of the season, we’ve never really put a foot wrong. And with the other distractions we’ve had, you think of the other trophies and the other competitions we’ve won and we’re into a Champions League final, to then maintain that consistency in the Premier League as well is something I’ve never seen and is something I don’t think many teams can say they’ve ever done.
It’s the final home game of the season. You played a season without fans last year, you’ve had a full season with them back in. Tell us about the difference they’ve made this season…
They have been special. Over the course of the full season, every competition, always a full house, always supporting us to the last minute, always positive and energising. It’s got to be a big thanks to them. Obviously we do our lap after the final whistle on Sunday and give our appreciation to them. And hopefully we’ll see a big turnout with the parade next week as well. It’s going to be a big gesture for the fans on Sunday.
How pleased are you that the parade is locked in and something to look forward to?
Definitely. We missed out on the Premier League one [in 2020]. No matter what happens between now and the parade, this season has been unbelievably special; two trophies in the bag already. To take the quadruple down to the very wire, to take it to the furthest point that we can is something very, very special that needs to be celebrated as a club. So I think no matter what does happen, it’s something we needed to do.
For you personally this season, how have you improved and developed? You always want to get better each year – do you think you have?
Yes, I would say I’ve improved on things I wanted to do. I’ve definitely improved, I’ve become a better player. I’ve felt improvements in myself. But it’s about making those improvements carry on. I’ve always felt like every season I’ve always kind of found an extra level to go up. Hopefully next year we’ll see a better version again.
There’s a lot of things to consider on Sunday, but is one of them keeping an eye on getting another assist or two to catch Mo in the Premier League rankings?
I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t! Yeah, it is. I don’t know how he feels about it but I’d like to maybe just get one and we’d be able to share the trophy. It would be a good moment for us. We’ve worked hard together. Our relationship has really grown this season, the understanding we’ve had on the pitch and off the pitch, we’ve become a lot closer. Hopefully he wins his Golden Boot, and then I think it’s kind of now just between me and him for the top assists. We’ll see what happens.
It was a really tough game at Wolves earlier in the season – are you expecting something similar again this weekend?
Always. No matter what, whether you’re playing for something or you’re not, as professionals, as competitors in a competitive environment, you want to win, you’ll never roll over. There’ll be that fight, that heart from them, not wanting to lose, not wanting to drop points and go out on a high. That’s obviously something we need to look for and that’s something we have as well. Even though we are going for the league title, we need to make sure our motivation is to win the game more than them.
Inside Molineux: Origi's last-minute winner at Wolves
Divock was the match-winner at Molineux and this is set to be a farewell to Anfield for him. As a fan and a teammate, tell us what his legacy will be…
What a guy, what a man, what a player. Definitely over the course of the stint the manager has been in, he has definitely had the most iconic moments, that will live in the memory of all the fans. He will go down in history. He has been a part of special, special moments with this club, scored special goals and he has always been there for the team. He is always putting in performances, always trying his best, always working his hardest. It’ll be sad to see him leave but he is more than deserving of a big send-off and a big farewell on Sunday or in Paris.