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RAY OF LIGHT: Reds academy grad Alexander-Arnold displays top potential in UCL debut

Liverpool-Trent-Alexander-Arnold

Liverpool are at a cross roads with their transfer businesses at the moment.

Their midfielder and talisman Philippe Coutinho reportedly tendered a transfer request to Barcelona, who are rumored to have made two bids for the Brazilian.

But the Reds are reluctant to sell and are expected to reject Barca’s new offer of £120 million plus the talented midfielder Ivan Rakitic for the Coutinho.

Also, Southampton have raised the asking price for their captain Virgil Van Dijk to £70million, which is a record fee for a defender that will certainly make Liverpool think twice before breaking the piggy banks.

Lastly, their target Luan, a striker for Brazlian side Gremio, is seeing more intent chasing from other clubs, and is not willing to wait for Liverpool’s bids.

Luckily for the Reds, a ray of light from their youth academy has presented itself in the form of an 18-year-old right back Trent Alexander-Arnold.

There is more to Alexander-Arnold than his two-part surname.

He was once called as one of the most intriguing young talents in Europe, and with his performance in Liverpool’s 2-1 first-leg win over Hoffenheim in their Champions League playoff fixture, he received one of the highest praises a Reds youth product: he showed flashes of being the next Steven Gerrard.

The 18-year-old Arnold not only broke the scoreless deadlock in their match against the Germans, he did it with precision and style with a fabulous free-kick.

In the 35th minute of that match, he shimmied slightly then made two quick steps toward the ball before launching a curling effort that went over the wall and flew into the far corner of Oliver Baumann’s goal. 1-0 for the visitors and faces lit up on the Liverpool bench.

Aside from his goal, the right-back was a menace on defense and forced the hosts at Rhein-Neckar Arena to attack on the left side of the field. In the first half, Arnold led the Reds in passes (24), interceptions (4) and touches (41).

“It’s a thing of dreams to make your European debut for your boyhood club,” said Arnold, who also started Liverpool’s 3-3 draw with Watford in the Premier League. “To mark it with a goal was really special for me as well.”

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp did not seem very impressed with his side after the narrow win, but he was delighted with how Arnold is adapting quickly to playing as a first-option right back.

“He is an incredible young player,” said Klopp, who allowed Arnold to assume free-kick responsibility for the absent Coutinho.

“I have to say for an 18-year-old who has the balls to take a free-kick like that, it is rather more exciting and interesting for me than a little mistake he makes.”

“It was a bit lucky as the wall didn’t jump but it was a very good free-kick and very important for us.”

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