Trent Alexander-Arnold: Liverpool defender on title race and 'becoming a legend'

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Gary Lineker

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold says there is "no nervous tension" from his team in the Premier League title race, just an "eagerness" to succeed.

In a wide-ranging interview with Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker, the 20-year-old also talks about his dreams of becoming a Liverpool legend and lifting the World Cup with England.

Liverpool are currently one point below Manchester City in the league table and are chasing their first title in 29 years.

The full interview will be shown on the Premier League Show, which returns this Thursday at 19:00 GMT on BBC Two.

Title race 'definitely excites us'

Premier League table graphic
Liverpool dropped one point below Manchester City after their goalless draw with Everton at Goodison Park

Liverpool were nine points clear at the top of the table following their 5-1 victory over Arsenal at the end of December but that gap was cut to four points with defeat at Manchester City five days later.

Since then, Jurgen Klopp's side have drawn four of their last seven league games - including away trips to Manchester United and Everton.

Those results helped City return to the top of the table on Sunday - the first time they have moved ahead with no games in hand since 7 December.

But Alexander-Arnold told Lineker just being in the title race "excites" the Liverpool players.

"There is not so much a nervous tension, just eagerness to get it going," said Alexander-Arnold. "Not until four or five games left will we start to look forward a little. It is important right now to stay focused.

"At times you can feel the supporter's expectations. We know Liverpool fans are so passionate. We can hopefully give them performances that they can go home and talk about the next day. That is the main thing for us - to give them a reason to come back.

"We know how hard it is to win a league title. You have to be consistent across a full season. Quite a few of the lads have never been in this position before, including myself. It is important for us to enjoy it, learn from it and just see how it goes."

'We want to do him proud'

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp gave Trent Alexander-Arnold his debut against Tottenham in the League Cup back in October 2016

Jurgen Klopp took over as manager in October 2015 and has since guided Liverpool to two European finals, as well as turning them into title challengers.

The German handed Alexander-Arnold his debut a year after joining the club and he has gone on to make 46 league appearances in total, as well as starting in last season's Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid, where he lined up against Cristiano Ronaldo.

The full-back describes Klopp as a "fun, loving guy" who is full of "competitiveness".

"We want to do him proud," said Alexander-Arnold. "He understands I am still young and I am not used to playing every game in a season. He understands my body, how much I can play and when he needs to rotate me.

"In the last two years especially we have brought a lot of joy to the fans. Last season it was more ruthless, heavy-metal football. We were beating teams 4-0 or 5-0 then the next week drawing 0-0. Now if two games are 1-0 then that's as good if not better for us as we get six points not four."

Klopp's influence on Alexander-Arnold is perhaps greater than some of his team-mates. The 20-year-old has been moulded into one of England's best right-backs despite coming through Liverpool's academy as a midfielder.

"When I was younger I was always a defensive centre-mid player - someone who liked to get on the ball and make things happen," said Alexander-Arnold. But now it's up to the manager.

"I am happy to play wherever the boss wants me. At the moment he sees me as a full-back and I am happy there. It is important to bring in different dimensions to the position.

"When I was growing up Ashley Cole came in and showed that you don't just have to be a defender. You can go forward and attack. He showed what full-backs can be.

"The dream is to win everything possible for my club and country. I want to be a legend for Liverpool and England. Hopefully one day I can be captain for them both."

Liverpool's performances under Jurgen Klopp in the Premier League
Games played135
Goals scored281
Goals against135
Clean sheets54
Final league positions8 (2016), 4 (2017), 4 (2018), 2* (2019 - with nine games to go)

'Competition in the squad is healthy'

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson comparison graphic
Trent Alexander-Arnold picked up a hat-trick of assists in the 5-0 victory over Watford in the Premier League in February

Alexander-Arnold isn't the only full-back excelling for Liverpool under Klopp.

Left-back Andy Robertson has evolved into one of the most exciting defenders in the Premier League and has already clocked up 10 assists and one goal in all competitions this season.

There is a competition between the two, Alexander-Arnold revealed. And Robertson is winning.

"We both thrive of each other's performances," said the right-back. "We have got a competition between ourselves this season to see who gets more goals and assists. It's a healthy competition.

"I have certainly bettered my numbers from last season and I think he has too."

Alexander-Arnold's numbers have risen since he became a regular set-piece taker for Liverpool. He is often in charge of corners and free-kicks despite his inexperience and young age.

He says he is confident enough to take them because of the "respect he gets from the senior players".

"Hopefully they see the quality I have and they want me to take them," said Alexander-Arnold. "If the team believes in your ability then it gives you confidence."

Trent Alexander-Arnold playing for England at the World Cup
Trent Alexander-Arnold made his World Cup debut for England in the final group game against Belgium

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