Press conference'Trent is already world-class - and there's still more to come'
Jürgen Klopp feels Trent Alexander-Arnold’s performances this season prove that the right-back’s evolution is continuing.
Liverpool’s No.66 grabbed the headlines by virtue of a breath-taking long-range strike that capped Thursday night’s 3-1 win over Newcastle United at Anfield.
Alexander-Arnold had earlier made a crucial intervention at the other end, with his last-ditch tackle denying Ryan Fraser the opportunity to equalise.
Ahead of the Reds’ trip to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, Klopp was asked what aspect of the Scouser’s game had pleased him most so far in 2021-22.
“Probably the overall performance, because it’s just the next step in his whole development,” the boss replied.
“We adapt our game to his skills, he puts in his skills in our different plans. He obviously plays different positions; ‘different positions’ on the pitch meanwhile than in the beginning because he’s just a much more mature player. He’s a more confident player, he is much more settled in all different parts of the game.
“For us, of course he is still in the right-back position to defend especially, then he’s a right winger, then he’s an eight, is a six, is a playmaker. He’s a lot of different things for us and enjoys it, he enjoys himself on the pitch, you can see that.
“But it’s tough, he’s still young and it’s an intense period. It was not his best game last night – it was one of his best goals, yes, but it was not his best game – but that’s completely normal.
“Even in your not-best games you have to get through with a solid performance and he had two outstanding moments: the goal and obviously the tackle, when he won the ball against Fraser. They were two game-defining moments. Even on a night when not everything is clicking, you can be the decisive man and that’s what he was last night.”
Speaking after the Newcastle match, Alexander-Arnold stated that he had been waiting to hit a ball as cleanly since his first-team debut a touch over five years ago.
The 23-year-old has now netted twice this season and Klopp was quizzed over whether he would like to improve his goalscoring output.
The manager said: “Yes, but it’s part of the game and part of things he wants to improve but I don’t think he gets up in the morning and thinks, ‘How can I score the next goal?’
“It is to improve his game and there is enough space and enough time for him to improve his game in so many parts: reading situations better, dealing with situations better, so many parts of the game he can improve and he is already a world-class player.
“I didn’t ask him but probably when he grew up and he watched Liverpool games he saw Steven Gerrard quite frequently scoring goals like this and knowing you have a very good shooting technique yourself you want to score these kind of goals, of course.
“Now it’s not the case that he is 20 times a game in the position in the half-left half-space where he scored the goal from yesterday, that’s pretty much the only space where he is not very often.
“But scoring from there is obviously something he might have to wait another five years for because it’s just not his position. But doing it is pretty special. I can imagine hitting a ball like this, seeing it flying and then hearing the sound when it goes in the back of the net is absolutely special.
“It’s something each footballer loves and he deserved a goal like this as well because he is just an incredible player.”