The news that Nathaniel Clyne was ruled out against Manchester United due to a rib injury sustained against Southampton in midweek definitely shook several Liverpool fans. Clyne has been one of the most consistent figures for Klopp’s side so far this season, and his absence was thought to be a real blow for the Reds in such an important fixture.
As a result, Trent Alexander Arnold was handed his first Premier League appearance for Liverpool, thrown in at the deep end by his manager. Many thought he’d sink and struggle against the pace and trickery of United’s Anthony Martial, but the 18-year-old stood firm throughout the match to do himself, and his manager proud.
Alexander Arnold made three key tackles in the match, and showed a calm and collected presence despite the magnitude of the fixture. It was never going to be an easy task for the youngster but apart from a few wayward passes, he handled the occasion superbly and showed just what a bright future he has at Liverpool.
A look at his defensive statistics help highlight how well he did. Up against Anthony Martial, many thought the youngster would struggle and be easily beaten but he managed 8 clearances, 3 tackles and 2 interceptions – he also committed 0 fouls. That’s very impressive considering who he was up against and the occasion itself would have gotten to many other young players.
Liverpool fans have been quick to praise the defender, who could see more chances at first team action in the coming games if Clyne is sidelined for an extended period of time. He certainly didn’t harm his case today.
Here’s how Twitter reacted to Alexander-Arnold’s performance. Do you agree with these thoughts?
Michael Owen just said something about Trent Alexander-Arnold that actually made sense: "These youngsters hold no fear anymore." pic.twitter.com/GWlfcPY4sv
— Rousing The Kop (@RousingTheKop) January 15, 2017
Trent Alexander-Arnold should be very proud. Thrown into the heat of battle and handled the occasion superbly. Got a big future. #LFC
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) January 15, 2017
Terrific performance from @trentaa98. Looked very composed for a player of his age. Huge congratulations.
— Leanne (@_lfcleanne) January 15, 2017
Trent Alexander Arnold was bloody brilliant today. Superb performance, fazed by nothing. His future with us is bright. #LFC
— Anton Clarke (@AntonClarke1) January 15, 2017
When you consider it was his first Premier League appearance for the club, and the fact that he is only 18 years of age, Arnold’s performance was exemplary. He took a while to settle into the match, initially struggling with the pace of Martial, but he produced what was needed of him.
Trent Alexander-Arnold played very well
— Philip Neville (@fizzer18) January 15, 2017
Full of admiration for Trent Alexander-Arnold. An excellent PL debut considering the occasion
— amar singh (@amarjourno) January 15, 2017
He wasn’t shying away from tackles, and he didn’t show the fear or nerves of a player making his Premier League bow – that in itself says a lot about his quality.
Few players can come into a side on such a big occasion and do a job, especially an 18 year old. Hats off to Trent Alexander Arnold for putting in a stellar performance for Liverpool. The future looks bright.