Fans of Liverpool and England would’ve been happy with Trent Alexander-Arnold’s big moment at EURO 2024, but how much will that feeling stick around?


I’M made up for Trent Alexander-Arnold. Absolutely made up for him.

To go through the nonsense he’s endured with the national team – from scapegoat to hero – and come through it with headlines can only be a good thing.

I’ll admit to mixed feelings here. My own relationship with England has changed significantly over the years. It started in 1975 when I saw them for the first time on the telly, beating Scotland 5-1 at Wembley. Kevin Keegan played so I was into it.

When I was a kid in the 70s, I was all over them as they had half the Liverpool side in the team. I got onboard with Italia ‘90 and I was at Euro ‘96, coincidentally at the Netherlands game, but since then… Well, things changed a bit.

You’ll know why and either scoff at that or nod accordingly.  Let’s just leave it there and talk about the football rather than cultural identity and the unwillingness to stand for a sitting monarch. No, I don’t boo it, but I’m not getting off my arse for them either. I’m scum, I get it.

Back to Trent. It’s easy to be paranoid in these situations. Southgate has been a manager under pressure and was mere minutes from being ousted by an, at best, alright Slovakian team.

He’s faced criticism for including and then dropping Trent and then chooses him for the fifth pen. A scapegoat in the making? If he scores it’s all fine, but if he doesn’t it’ll be ‘well, I told you’. He couldn’t win.

I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but the press would be the first to point out that it was a Scouser (and our/their disassociation from the national team) who ballsed it up.

Unlucky, lads.

Thus it came to pass that a lad with a working knowledge of West Derby chippies became a national hero to those who aren’t overly keen on the existence of West Derby or the areas around it.

On the whole, I’ve enjoyed the tournament. I was in Copenhagen for the Denmark-Germany game and seeing the pubs with their reverse St George flags (the oldest in the world, fact fans) all over the place was great.

The energy in the capital was amazing. It was an energy that lasted right until five minutes in when everyone realised that Germany are pretty good and Michael Oliver was the referee.

For their part, England have been awful and it’s not difficult to see why. Harry Kane will score goals (which, admittedly, is all you can ask him to do), but not do much else in terms of coming deep or creating space.

There isn’t enough full-back cover and the best right back in the world (I don’t care if you’re laughing) is nowhere near his best position. I like Kyle Walker, incidentally, so that isn’t a slight on him.

Poor Bukayo Saka has played pretty much everywhere so far, and Conor Gallagher has gone from being ‘the-next-to-Rice’ answer to being the exact opposite. Hardly any shots on target, a telling paucity of quality and two tedious rounds of extra time to endure. Great.

Tell that to the BBC, though! At half-time on Saturday it was all I could do not to rewind the telly and check if I was watching the right game. Jesus, the hagiography! The fervour mounted with every soundbite. I thought Rio Ferdinand was about to pull a shirt on and get out there such was his enthusiasm for what he’d seen.

It’s that reluctance to see the game as it is without the accompanying jingoistic zeal which made it so unappealing. I’d rather be told that a shit game is a shit game than sit through the opportunistic ‘we’re still in this’ idiocy. England have a hell of a squad and, in particular, a dream of a midfield, but it lacks the cohesion to make it work properly. It’s led to some awful football.

Awful maybe, but by no means unsuccessful. Southgate may be a genius given his unrivalled success of two semis and a final so maybe there’s a method in all this sterile stuff. Two wins this week and he gets a knighthood. Probably.

Napoleon once said that he ‘would rather have a general who was lucky than one who was good’. Is he just lucky? I don’t know. Maybe that’s harsh on Southgate. He’s been ‘good’ for a while now even if his brand of football is far from that.

The semi will probably see Trent watching Virgil van Dijk and Cody Gakpo from his now familiar place on the bench, but it’ll be (one of) the Scouser(s) in our team who made it all possible. It probably won’t earn him a recall, but it gave us non-believers something to cheer about on Saturday. Liverpool put England through. That’s how I chose to see it anyway.

A mate of mine summed up these tournaments as ‘football without pain’. I get that entirely.

I’ll always watch because someone is kicking a ball around and there’s the possibility of a Liverpool player doing well, but the result is usually met with indifference rather than joy or sorrow. It’s just someone else’s team with fans singing songs I wouldn’t go near. That stance might well be heretical for some, but that’s how it is. Trent won on Saturday.

Our new manager will have more cause to hope that doesn’t continue. I love that he was so pleased for Cody on Friday.

Maybe it would mean more if — politics aside — Jarell Quansah, Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones were involved. They aren’t, so it’s a moot point. So I hope that all three Liverpool lads (five if Ryan Gravenberch and Joe Gomez get on) do well in the semi final.

Liverpool first. That’s not said to be antagonistic, it’s just how things are, and it’ll never change. I’m certain some fans of other clubs feel the same way.

If it’s your team, then I hope they do well.

Oh, but leave Sweet Caroline alone. At least give us that.


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