pressure | 

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s verdict after his goal helps Liverpool beat Rangers

Defender he answered some of his critics with a man-of-the-match display as Jurgen Klopp's Reds beat Rangers 2-0 in the Champions League at Anfield.

Trent Alexander-Arnold scores Liverpool's opener© Getty Images

Kevin PalmerSunday World

Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold answered some of his critics with a man-of-the-match display as Jurgen Klopp's Reds beat Rangers 2-0 in the Champions League at Anfield.

Alexander-Arnold’s stunning free-kick opening goal dampened down days of debate over his role in the Liverpool team after he was left out of the England team by manager Gareth Southgate last week.

He then turned in a miserable performance in the 3-3 draw against Brighton last weekend, but the 24-year-old suggested his eagerness to remain positive was behind his fine display against Rangers.

"No matter what, I always try to think positively,” declared Alexander-Arnold, on a night when Mohamed Salah scored Liverpool's second goal amid a dominate display.

"People say things but for me it's all about performing for the team. That's all that matters, getting wins and helping the team. It's been a slow start to the season for me but I'm looking forward to the rest of the season.

"We went back to a basic 4-4-2 and played it really well, shifted across the pitch well. We made it compact, they couldn't play through us, they were playing long balls and we picked them off.

"The performance was great from the lads. On Saturday it was disappointing. We never got going, our press wasn't there, we were slow out the blocks. But it's the complete opposite today. We started well and continued throughout the game. They had their spells and the second half was tough but overall we played outstanding.”

Alexander-Arnold also reflected on his brilliant goal as he added: "I don't normally score from that side. I usually score from the other side of the pitch.

"It was just about getting it on target, that's what I've been focusing on when I practice. If you hit the target, there's always a chance it goes in or you get a rebound.”

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson saluted Alexander-Arnold for finding his form at a time when he is under so much scrutiny.

"It can be difficult. You try to not listen to social media especially when you go through a tough period as an individual or a team,” he said.

"You've got to switch off the noise and focus on what you do day-to-day and stay focused on what we're trying to achieve as a team. That's not easy. It can hurt players at times but you've got to try and find a way to use it as fuel and energy on the pitch.

"You've got to give Trent a license to get forward and produce what he can produce up the pitch. I thought he was good defensively tonight, he did the basics really well. I didn't have to cover too much.”

Rangers arrived on Merseyside encouraged by Liverpool’s inconsistent form and incoherent defending but Klopp’s decision to switch formations in order to solve a mini-crisis of confidence had the desired effect.

They were undoubtedly helped by a team who struggled to retain possession let alone make any progress in the attacking third but were never under the kind of pressure which saw Brighton score three here at the weekend to prompt Klopp’s change of formation.

"It was exactly what we needed," declared the Liverpool manager. "A new formation, we had to change things. We had plenty of chances, imagine if we had taken more of them. Really good game. Very important.

"Two set piece goals as well - I love this as it means you don't need to wait for VAR. Unlucky in moments offensively, rock solid defensively apart from the very end. It will be a different game next week.

"We expected a reaction - everyone expected a reaction - we really want to turn this into a positive and for that we need consistency. For that, you need top-class defending and we had that tonight. It worked out pretty well."

Today's Headlines

More Soccer

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos