Interview'These are the big games and it's outstanding we're here'
Trent Alexander-Arnold just can't wait for that Wembley feeling again.
Liverpool will stride out at the national stadium this afternoon for the third time this season, with Chelsea their opponents in the Emirates FA Cup final.
The Reds lifted the Carabao Cup by beating the Blues on penalties in February and then set up a rematch with a pulsating 3-2 victory over Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals last month, both fixtures being played out amid unforgettable atmospheres.
“It felt a lot like a home game [in the semi-final], especially in that first half, it was outstanding. Throughout the whole game our fans were unbelievable,” Alexander-Arnold told Liverpoolfc.com.
“It’s always special to be able to celebrate with them, those stands and you look up to the heavens and you are breaking your neck to see right up to the top, so it’s a special stadium.
“Obviously when you get there you understand they are the big games and you’ve earned it, so an outstanding place for us to be as a club.”
A recurring theme in the build-up to today’s showdown has been the squad’s desire to add the FA Cup to their haul of honours under Jürgen Klopp.
The trophy stands out as one the current Liverpool crop have yet to lift, and the hunger to sit the accomplishment alongside triumphs in the Premier League, Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup and Carabao Cup is big.
“I think for a lot of the lads this is the last one,” said Alexander-Arnold.
“I think especially as a group since the manager has come in, this is one we haven’t won yet so this is one we obviously want to get our hands on personally and as a collective.
“There’s definitely extra motivation for us. It’s the one we haven’t quite managed to achieve just yet. Obviously this is the closest we’ve been to it so it’s exciting for us and we are looking forward to it and can’t wait to go back to Wembley again.”
More broadly, it has been 16 years since any Reds team won the competition.
Steven Gerrard’s iconic last-gasp equaliser from long range led Liverpool on to a penalty shootout victory over West Ham United after a 3-3 thriller back in 2006 – Alexander-Arnold’s earliest memory of the FA Cup.
“That was obviously a special game and one that a lot of fans will always remember, so special memories growing up watching it and it’s always been a big final to watch and celebrate as well,” added the No.66.
The final obstacle Klopp’s men must hurdle to end that wait for FA Cup glory comes in the form of a Chelsea side with whom they played out an enthralling Carabao Cup final.
Penalties – indeed, 11 rounds of them – were required to separate the teams at Wembley that day following a goalless stalemate that was anything but stale.
Alexander-Arnold anticipates a similarly absorbing and well-matched encounter this time around.
Inside Wembley: How the Reds won the Carabao Cup
“Very, very close,” he said of the previous showpiece clash. “I think there were a lot of disallowed goals by fine margins and both teams had good chances to do that.
“From a neutral point of view, I think it was one of the best finals we have seen in a while, especially for a 0-0! Hopefully we’ll be able to bring that entertainment again and I’m sure it will be a very tight game, as it always is with Chelsea.
“Tactically they are very well regimented, and they know what they are doing, as do we. So, two very different styles of football come together and often creates a very good game.”