Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold seems to be relishing the added responsibility he has this season, according to Reds writer Neil Jones.
Alexander-Arnold has been in superb form in recent games, including his stunning performance in Liverpool’s win over Fulham at the weekend, with signs that he’s taken his game up a level since a bit of a dip in form at times last term.
Speaking exclusively to CaughtOffside for his Daily Briefing column, Jones stated his view that Alexander-Arnold seems to have relished becoming the club’s vice-captain over the summer, with the 25-year-old now clearly one of the more senior members of this squad after initially breaking into the first-team at a young age.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp may also be using slightly different tactics now to get Alexander-Arnold on the ball more, according to Jones, so the combination of these two changes really seem to be having a positive effect on the England international.
“There is no doubt that Trent Alexander-Arnold took last season’s disappointment harder than most, and I think that has shown in his performances so far this term, as he’s taken his game to another level – no mean feat considering the level he was at already,” Jones said.
“It may sound insignificant, but think back to the first day of pre-season, when he arrived at the AXA Training Centre with a new, shorter haircut. “Business only,” he said that day, suggesting a new focus, a new mindset ahead of the new campaign.
“A week or so later, Alexander-Arnold was promoted to vice-captain following the departures of Jordan Henderson and James Milner, and it has been clear since that day that he is embracing the idea of being one of the club’s leaders, both on-field and off it.
“Liverpool, remember, redesigned their system in the spring to give Alexander-Arnold more responsibility, and to allow him to have as great an influence on games as possible. They wanted him moving inside the pitch to get on the ball and create midfield overloads, and using his passing to break lines centrally as well as switching the play diagonally.
“And while there are still elements of that switch that occasionally cause problems – teams know that attacking down Liverpool’s left is usually a good idea – it is clear that he relishes the chance to play more centrally. His recent goals against Manchester City and Fulham show the benefit of having him there.
“I imagine there will be more discussion over the idea of moving him into midfield on a permanent basis, something we have seen with England and more recently at club level within games, but from a Liverpool perspective the most important thing is that he has undoubtedly got his mojo back. He’s a symbol of the club, and one whose importance to Jurgen Klopp is greater than it has ever been.”