Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has confessed that he was impressed by right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold from the moment he first saw him.
When Klopp arrived at Anfield in 2015, Alexander-Arnold was still part of the Reds’ academy, but a series of impressive performances with the youth side earned him a spot in Klopp’s pre-season squad ahead of the 2016/17 season.
Since then, Alexander-Arnold has gone from strength to strength and is now viewed by many as the top right-back in world football. Speaking on the Pure Football Podcast, Klopp revealed he never had any doubts about the youngster’s ability, but his fitness levels were a real concern.
When asked which of his signings stood out to him most, Klopp responded:
“Then he came and there was only one problem, Trent was not fit enough. But he was a kid, so he was not fit enough but we saw immediately – wow, football wise, no doubts.
“But then he made steps by himself that were really unbelievable and that was really nice to see. Then he made mistakes and didn’t give up.”
When pushed to elaborate on those mistakes, the conversation soon turned to Alexander-Arnold’s disastrous showing against Manchester United in March 2018.
Marcus Rashford completely dominated his fellow Englishman, bagging two goals inside 24 minutes to fire United to a 2-1 win, but Klopp insisted that all of Alexander-Arnold’s errors that day were because of him.
“I know after the United game a lot of people said immediately that’s how it always is in football,” he confessed. “‘They need a new right-back’ or whatever.
“If he makes mistakes like he made in that game that’s really my fault. Especially these mistakes were my fault.
“Especially against Rashford playing on the left wing, it is clear you have to do that but I didn’t tell him again before the game. So, I really feel responsible for that.”