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'Alexander the Great' - Press rave about Liverpool's teen sensation

The 18-year-old defender gained plenty of plaudits for his display against Hoffenheim last night.

Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold, left, celebrates his side's opening goal.
Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold, left, celebrates his side's opening goal.

TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD’S stunning freekick for Liverpool in their 2-1 Champions League win over Hoffenheim had the British media purring ‘Who needs Coutinho?’ in reference to the wantaway Brazilian star.

The 18-year-old’s opening goal for Liverpool in the tie in Germany — setting them up nicely for next week’s home leg — incited the Daily Mail to headline their report “Alexander The Great”.

Alexander-Arnold called it a “thing of dreams” to score on his European debut for his “boyhood club” and was lavishly praised by club icon Steven Gerrard.

But had Barcelona target Philippe Coutinho been fit, Alexander-Arnold probably wouldn’t even have taken the freekick.

Gerrard, who coaches the Liverpool Under-18 side, said the former club mascot — another Liverpool great Jamie Carragher tweeted a photo of him and Alexander-Arnold in the tunnel before a League Cup match in 2009 — could threaten England international Nathan Clyne’s first choice spot at fullback this season.

It was a fabulous free-kick and it’s ironic really because Coutinho might have taken it if he was available,” said Gerrard.

“He has played superbly in general play but to have the character to take that before the likes of (Jordan) Henderson and (Sadio) Mane says a lot.

I know this kid very well, he’s going to be a top, top player and Nathaniel Clyne has to be very, very careful this season because he is already breathing down his neck.”

Former Republic of Ireland striking great Tony Cascarino, now a respected pundit for The Times, praised the youngster for his boldness in stepping up to take the freekick, which reflected “the respect that his team-mates have for him”.

Cascarino added that defensively it was hard to judge him — though his “electric pace” is eye-catching — and whilst he was at fault for the late Hoffenheim goal, he would learn from it.

Overall he’s very athletic, though he needs to fill out a little, but that will come,” wrote Cascarino.

“In terms of defending it’s pretty hard to judge him in this Liverpool team because the full backs are often so exposed.

“The late Hoffenheim goal was the only time he put a foot wrong… but that’s why he plays these big games, to learn and get the mistakes out of his system.”

© AFP 2017 

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