IT’S always a special moment when a local talent tipped to come good at the football club you support does just that.
There has been a buzz about Trent Alexander-Arnold for some time now — his name being touted around by those that watch Liverpool at every level for a few years.
One such observer in the city has a cheeky bet on full England honours at an early age when he spots an up and coming talent. And you wouldn’t bet against him being quids in when it comes to Trent, would you?
The teenager was making his European debut for Liverpool tonight. And at 18, making only his 14th appearance for the first team, to be handed the responsibility of a free-kick chance at goal in such an important tie says it all. He’s trusted. He’s rated. And rightly so.
The execution of the free kick is sublime, the reaction to it brilliant. A late curl, pinpoint accuracy, ‘keeper no chance — cue delirium. A moment to remember. Whatever else happens, he did that. For Liverpool. His club.
This is a lad living the dream. A West Derby boy who has grown up a stone’s throw from the Melwood training ground. Like so many others he will have dreamed of a day like today — holding your own, beating players, looking comfortable, among the best performers on the pitch. Then the cherry on top with the free kick. At 18.
He’s come a long way from being escorted onto the pitch by Jamie Carragher as a Liverpool mascot.
— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) 15 August 2017
And for us, the fans, it’s brilliant too. A romantic moment when football can so easily frustrate and depress you and leave you thinking such times have gone; a snapshot that makes you smile and remember why we love it all.
And, on the subject of romance, and perhaps just as important as anything else, tonight there will be another boy like Trent once was watching, wondering and dreaming. He’ll try that free kick on the park. He’ll wonder if he can make it too. And perhaps he can. Football needs inspirational figures. So does inner-city Liverpool.
Alexander-Arnold has been impressing through the ranks for some time — with his attitude, his dedication, his ability, his athleticism and his application.
In the first team he’s already passed some huge tests that have seen lesser men crack: away at Manchester United, now in a pressure cooker of an away leg of a televised winner-takes-all Champions League playoff.
WHAT. A. GOAL! 😱
— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) 15 August 2017
The miserable and the morbid may point to Hoffenheim’s late goal, suggesting a degree of naivety and a lack of nous as he appeals for offside rather than playing to the whistle and is punished accordingly.
Some will say temper the excitement, keep expectations on the down low, don’t pile on the pressure.
But the genie is out the lamp — he’s good, very good. Yes, he’ll make mistakes. Yes, he can improve. But this is still a relatively new position to him. He’s been coached and developed for it. But one day — with more maturity — you feel he may again switch his place on the pitch to something more influential, more involved.
More, those young shoulders can handle the increased pressure. He’s 18 and he’s doing what he’s doing. Leave the big worries to Nathaniel Clyne, who has a real challenge to what was a nailed-on starting spot on the right.
Instead, celebrate that he’s ours and he’s scouse. A Liverpool fan playing for Liverpool. The stuff that doesn’t happen often enough.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is the first Liverpudlian to score for Liverpool since Steven Gerrard was putting them in the net. It’s been too long. It’s special, it will always be special. And so it should be.