Liverpool right back powers into history books
Alexander The Great
Published: May 20, 2022 09:00 PM
Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool takes his penalty at the end of the FA Cup final match at Wembley Stadium on May 14, 2022 in London, England. Photo: VCG

Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool takes his penalty at the end of the FA Cup final match at Wembley Stadium on May 14, 2022 in London, England. Photo: VCG

"Completed the set," were the words that Liverpool fullback Trent Alexander-Arnold wrote on social media after his side triumphed over fellow English Premier League side Chelsea in last weekend's FA Cup final at Wembley.

The "set" that the 23-year-old was talking about was the six major ­trophies available to an English ­footballer - the domestic league title, both domestic cup competitions, UEFA Champions League, UEFA European Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.

Liverpool's shootout victory over their London rivals completed it for the England defender, with the end result a mirror of the Carabao Cup earlier in the season which Liverpool also won against the Blues on penalties.

The season could yet end with two more trophies for the team - and a PFA Young Player of the Year gong for the 23-year-old.

It seems strange that he could be considered for the young player title but he is eligible for it having been below the age of 23 when the season started. He ends it with the full compliment of trophies and less than six years on from making his Reds debut.

"It feels special," said Alexander-Arnold. "Growing up you never think you will win all these trophies. You see legendary players who do that and you think it is unbelievable.

"To be able to say I have done that at such a young age is a dream come true and it is motivation to go on and carry on winning more trophies."

He was as good as his word as the young fullback promised at the end of last season.

"Next year we're coming back for trophies. Thank you for the support til the very end Reds. We always find a way," he wrote on social media after clapping the Anfield faithful at the end of a trophyless season.

They have indeed found a way.

"Days like this help me," Alexander-­Arnold said after lifting the FA Cup for the first time.

"I think it comes from within and thinking about what I want my legacy to be and where I think my potential is as a player. The sky is the limit really so I want to carry on and push on and never be satisfied. I will keep my head down, try and win more trophies and hopefully at the end of my career I can be proud of what I have done."

In winning the FA Cup to complete the set of trophies, Alexander-Arnold became the youngest player to do so beating the records of Ryan Giggs, Denis Irwin, James Milner, César ­Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen.

Only Cristiano Ronaldo won the Champions League, English Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup at a younger age than Alexander-Arnold.

While Ronaldo is regarded as one of the game's greats, Alexander-Arnold shone the spotlight on teammate Milner after the FA Cup win.

"He is someone who keeps us all on our toes, he is massive in that dressing room," he said of 36-year-old Milner. "He is one of the biggest characters I have been around and it is credit to him.

"It is no surprise he has carried on winning everywhere he goes because he is relentless in what he does. He instils that mentality in us and he embodies that."

Former Liverpool fullback Jamie Carragher, who named Alexander-Arnold to his English Premier League team of the season on Sky Sports, said the young fullback has become bigger and better this season.

"He looks like he's bulked up," Carragher told Sky Sports' Monday Night Football. "He has filled out and he's just getting bigger and stronger. He looks a lot more like a real man in that shirt.

"He didn't have the power - he never will have the power of a Reece James or a Kyle Walker - but he's a lot stronger now. So when someone is running and they knock it past him, he can get that shoulder and arm across and I've noticed that a lot more in the last four or five months."

Questions over Alexander-Arnold's perceived weaknesses over his ­defensive abilities have been answered by his manager Jurgen Klopp, by the fullback's key role in the second ­tightest defense in the English Premier League this season, and by several key interceptions in the FA Cup final, where many pundits also considered him the best player on the pitch.

Former English Premier League player Andy Townsend agreed.

"He has been the best player on the pitch today. There's been a lot of quality, but he has been a class above," the former Republic of Ireland international told TalkSport.

Carragher dismissed defensive concerns outright when he explained his choice for team of the season, focusing on the role Alexander-Arnold plays.

"I think Trent because what Trent does for Liverpool, in the way they play and dominate, he's not really a fullback. I think he's unique. Actually I think his defending has improved. I thought he was really good against Chelsea in the FA Cup final."

Only Mohamed Salah has more assists for the side in the English Premier League than Alexander-Arnold as he has redefined the fullback role for Klopp's Liverpool.

His playmaking abilities from the nominally defensive position have been bolstered by his setpiece delivery and, as was evident against Chelsea, his newfound skill with throw-ins.

It's a surefire sign that while Alexander-Arnold may have completed the set already, he is far from done - and the right back is right that the sky is the limit.