The dynamo was at his scintillating best at the King Power Stadium…
Whisper it quietly, but Liverpool creep closer toward Champions League qualification after dispatching stricken Leicester City 3-0 at the King Power Stadium on Monday night.
Anything other than victory would have left Jurgen Klopp’s Reds chasing shadows as they look to complete a remarkable seasonal resurgence and ascend from the trenches following a dismal fall from grace for the majority of the year.
Aseventhsuccessive win in the Premier League places the Anfield side just one point off Newcastle United and Manchester United in top four – with the third and fourth-place outfits level on points and both holding a game in hand on Liverpool.
It was a “proud night for the academy” – in the words of The Athletic’s James Pearce – with midfielder Curtis Jones bagging a first-half brace before resurgent right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold sealed the resounding win with an impudent strike from distance following Mohamed Salah’s lay off from a free-kick, the Egyptian completing his hat-trick of assists.
While Jones was bestowed thePlayer of the Matchfor his sublime showing, Pearce even dubbing the affair “the Curtis Jones show“, it was indeed Alexander-Arnold whose performance will leave Klopp just as buoyed over.
How did Alexander-Arnold perform against Leicester?
The 24-year-old marauding full-back has endured a tumultuous campaign, to say the least.
So imperious down the right flank over the past several years, it is not a coincidence that Alexander-Arnold’s ascension from the academy ranks runs parallel with the illustrious inception of Klopp’s dynasty on Merseyside.
With Liverpool falling flat this term, however, the Scouse-born phenom has been at the epicentre and has certainly left a lot to be desired with his questionable defensive acumen, branded a “training dummy” by reporter Casey Evans after being dismantled by Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr. in the Champions League.
Klopp needed to rectify Liverpool’s floundering system and atactical tweaksaw Alexander-Arnold invert from his right-back role to more of a double-six, drifting infield to utilise his superlative ball-playing skills from central pockets, still with license to drift to the flanks when required.
STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND WATCH THIS STRIKE FROM TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD 🤯 pic.twitter.com/gEFjyatEfI
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) May 15, 2023
And against Dean Smith’s Leicester, this was on full display, withSofascorerecording the£180k-per-weekgem’s match rating at 7.7 – Jones being the only outfield player to boast a higher score – and complementing his exquisite goal with 125 touches, creating one key pass, and seeing success with three of his five dribble attempts and three of his six attempted crosses
Goal’s Neil Jones waxed lyrical over the18-capstar’s “absolute rocket“, while Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler’s incredulity was apparent, remarking that Alexander-Arnold’s effort was “sensational“.
The maverick won just three of his nine ground duels and made just one interception all night, which illustrates his emphasis on attack but also must be taken with a pinch of salt given the blunt edge to the home side’s offensive efforts.