Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Alexander-Arnold eyes Premier League title at packed Anfield

SoccerNews in English Premier League 12 Aug 2021

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Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold has set his sights on lifting the Premier League trophy in front of an Anfield next May.

The Reds ended their 30-year wait for a top-flight title two seasons ago amid the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Jurgen Klopp’s men finished 18 points clear of nearest challengers Manchester City after a remarkable campaign in which they secured the title in record time, with seven matchdays remaining.

They won an astonishing 26 of their first 27 games, ending on 32 victories in total, and at one stage held a 25-point lead at the top, the biggest ever in England’s top flight.

However, for Alexander-Arnold, there remains a sense of disappointment about having trophy celebrations behind closed doors – something he hopes to rectify this season.

“All that matters is winning… that at the end of May, if I’ve got a trophy in my hand and a medal around my neck,” he told the Athletic.

“I know when I was a kid when I dreamed of lifting league titles, it wasn’t in front of an empty Anfield. For me, we have won the league but it wasn’t the way I expected. So it’s still what I need to do. I’m hoping next May, that’ll be ticked off the list.”

Alexander-Arnold believes it is true that Liverpool missed playing in front of fans perhaps more than others last season as their title defence proved deeply disappointing.

At one stage, Liverpool lost six home matches in a row and looked destined to miss out on the top four until a strong run late in the campaign saw them win 26 points from 30 to finish third.

It was Klopp’s encouragement to forget the injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Jordan Henderson and embrace their difficulties that proved pivotal.

“Up until that point it was, like, ‘Aaargh, we’re not winning because of this, because of that; Virg is injured, Joe’s injured, Joel is injured, Hendo’s injured,” said Alexander-Arnold.

“Then, we said, ‘Right, we’re not getting them back now. We can only work with what we’ve got here – we’ve got to make it work. That was a turning point for us, realising we were not going to get any help from anyone else, realising we weren’t going to get every decision go our way; thinking everything was against us while also thinking we’re still good enough to pull through.

“The fans impacted us the most last year, we felt it. To have them back should impact upon us the most again. It will give us a big boost. We’re all excited for it, because it brings a certain level of intimidation to the other team. Anfield can become hostile and loud very quickly. People don’t shut up once they sense a weakness. The stands are tight to the pitch and they’re high. Then you have You’ll Never Walk Alone and the history.

“I know that I wouldn’t want to come to Anfield as an opposition player. The occasion is huge. Then you have to consider the team. It all combines to make sure we go out there and win. Last season, we missed a lot of that massively.”

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