The genius of Trent Alexander-Arnold is starting to show
The world might know him as a right-back who created a moment of magic for Liverpool's 4th goal against Barcelona to overturn a 3-0 first leg deficit in the semi-final of the Champions League last season. But notwithstanding that magical night at Anfield, Trent Alexander-Arnold has come a long way, developing into a vital component of Liverpool's lethal attack.
One of Alexander-Arnold's most striking abilities is his knack for a pass both from open play and set pieces. After playing his way through Liverpool's youth ranks and being tipped for greatness by Steven Gerrard himself, he made his competitive debut on the 25 October 2016 in a league cup match against Tottenham Hotspur.
A month later, he featured in the league cup once again and picked up his first of many assists for Liverpool by setting up Divock Origi in a 2-0 win over Leeds United.
His first goal for the club came from a free-kick against Hoffenheim in the Champions League qualifiers prior to the 2017-18 season. The same season Alexander-Arnold went on to establish himself in the first team due to Nathaniel Clyne being out with a long-term injury.
At just 19 years of age, Alexander-Arnold took part in Liverpool's run to the final. He became the youngest ever Liverpool player to start a European final, and locked horns with legends like Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos.
There was no doubt that his performances had been great up until that point. But he really began to show how much of an asset he could be to Liverpool's attack in the following season, scoring one goal and picking up 15 assists across both the Premier League and the Champions League.
He has had his share of criticism as far as defensive duties are concerned, but he has proven that going forward he will be one of the most important play-makers for Liverpool.
Alexander-Arnold is a genuine creator of chances in the build-up to a goal. He whips in crosses, plays deep with lob passes, fires quick passes into the feet of the strikers, switches play as and when required to great effect and cuts inside to utilize his left foot.
Most full-backs try to whip in early crosses in their attempt to find the heads of their team-mates. But Alexander-Arnold's calmness on the ball ensures that opposing defenders are always on their toes.
The Englishman's left foot is a lot stronger as compared to most other right-footed players who play in the same position. That becomes all the more evident every time he cuts inside from the right.
One such occasion came against Arsenal at the Emirates in a 1-1 draw, when Sadio Mane's goal was disallowed owing to him being in an offside position. Even so, very few right-backs can float a perfect ball over the opposition defense with their left foot like Alexander-Arnold did that day to set up Mane.
At 20 years of age, Alexander-Arnold is demonstrating tremendous ability going forward and is more than decent in 1v1 situations. He has a long way to go in his career but as he grows older, he will surely become more mature and will start reading the game just like some of the best right-backs out there - if not better.
Considering the fact that he played as a central midfielder at Liverpool's youth academy and has adapted to the right-back position so well so early in his career, we can only imagine how much better he will get with more game time under his belt.