Sunday, January 29

Why Trent Alexander-Arnold’s Liverpool goal proves he could have the best right foot in football

It is not the first time this season that Trent Alexander-Arnold has wowed Liverpool fans with his world-class ability. But most of the time, it has come in a cross from the right or a fixed piece precise delivery. The goal that killed Newcastle at Anfield Road took the surprise factor to another level.

Alexander-Arnold kicked the piece of leather onto the field with his right foot, the net rippled and Anfield exploded.

Scoring his second goal of the season, the 23-year-old right-back secured the vital three points for Liverpool amid a run for the Premier League title. He also raised a few eyebrows in the process (and forced referee Mike Dean to make a memorable run out of the way).

“I told him after the game that today was his best long ball,” coach Jurgen Klopp told the media after the game. “It was wonderful. His shooting technique is on another level.”

Alexander-Arnold somehow seems to be reaching another level this season. With 16 caps for England under his belt, he is redefining the right-back position.

In a game in which Liverpool dominated possession against relegation fighters Newcastle, TAA completed 64 of 84 passes, including 29 of 43 in the attacking third and six of 13 in the penalty area. Completing six passes in the 18-yard box is a breakthrough for a forward, let alone a fullback.

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It is well known that Klopp loves to see his defenses bombard the field and enter attacking areas, but he needs players who can do it.

At Alexander-Arnold, Klopp has that player and he knows it. Earlier this year, Klopp called him the best right-back in the world and laughed at talks about transferring him to England’s midfield when he portrays the modern defender.

During the 90 minutes against Newcastle, Alexander-Arnold recovered eight fumbles, completed five accurate crosses, found his mark with two of six corners and created three chances. That’s as complete a performance as any defender could hope for.

But that’s not what has the whole world buzzing about. It is his hammer of a right foot. Let’s go back to November 7 and what resulted in Liverpool’s only loss of the season so far: Alexander-Arnold moved his right foot and took a shot into the top corner:

West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski had no chance. While Liverpool would lose that match, Alexander-Arnold had a collector’s item.

Last season against Tottenham, in what wasn’t exactly a difficult shot from a saved shot by Sadio Mane, he still managed to hit a bobbling cleanly and powerfully.

Then there was the hit against Aston Villa in April of last season, when he threw the ball from outside the area with precision. We could move on.

And yet Thursday’s goal was the choice of the lot. Those are the words of Alexander-Arnold.

“I’ve been waiting for that for five years, it’s that clean!” Alexander-Arnold told BT Sport after the match. “I took some from the edge of the box and dragged them. I caught that candy, it’s located in the top corner and obviously I put the game on the bed.”

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Alexander-Arnold doesn’t score too often, it’s not his main job on the field, but when he does, it usually involves that right foot. He has produced countless crosses and free kicks, but when he scores goals of the quality seen against Newcastle, the world definitely takes notice.

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