While it was a bit surprising to see an 18-year old kid step up to take a free-kick in the first leg of Liverpool’s Champions League play-off tie with Hoffenheim, it was even more surprising to see Reds defender Trent Alexander-Arnold — making his bow on Europe’s biggest stage — whip it over the wall and in to the far corner to open the scoring.
“Obviously it’s a thing of dreams to make your European debut for your boyhood club. And to mark it with a goal as well was very special for me,” the Scouse fullback told BT Sport. “But, more importantly, we got the win. We’ll still be a little bit disappointed with the late goal, but it’s always good to take a lead back to Anfield,” added Alexander-Arnold before revealing that it was a bit of peer pressure that got him to take a pop. “I kind of got egged on to do it, to be honest. I didn’t put my hand up at first. But I had the confidence to finally take it and it paid off!”
Video courtesy of PH Comps
Building on a excellent pre-season that saw him put in an impressive shift against Bayern Munich, there was no doubting that the 18-year old was up for the occasion — and, at the same time, will learn from the experience. For the most part solid on the night, the fledgling fullback still has a long way to go before he’s ready for the full time rigors of a regular place in the starting eleven, but if his performance on the night is any indication, he’s closer than expected.
“I have to say for an 18-year-old who has the confidence to kick a free-kick like that, that is rather exiting and interesting for me than a little mistake,” said Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, obviously pleased for the youngster. “It was a very intensive match for him, he still has a little few things to learn, but he is a really great player and I’d rather have this 2-1 than a 1-0.”