Saturday, February 4, 2023

´People expect us to be immaculate´ – Alexander-Arnold wary of lofty Liverpool expectations

SoccerNews in English Premier League 13 Jan 2023

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Trent Alexander-Arnold feels underperforming Liverpool are expected to be “immaculate” after enjoying such a successful spell under manager Jurgen Klopp.

Since Klopp’s arrival from Borussia Dortmund in 2015, Liverpool have lifted both the Premier League and Champions League, while also winning two domestic cup competitions.

Klopp’s side finished runners-up in both the Champions League and Premier League last season, finishing just a point behind Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the latter having taken the title race to the final day of the campaign.

However, Liverpool have not been at their normal levels this term and sit 16 points behind league leaders Arsenal, while they will have to overturn a seven-point deficit to fourth-placed rivals Manchester United if they are to finish in the Champions League qualification spots.

Alexander-Arnold believes Liverpool have raised the bar for themselves to a level that fans now expect constant success, telling Sky Sports: “There’s a level of expectation now. It’s almost like being a victim of your own success.

“People expect us to be immaculate every season and we’re not allowed to have off seasons. There’s a level of consistency that’s demanded and we demand that from ourselves as well.

“It’s a season that we’ve not been overly happy with, but there’s still a long time left.

“We would like to be higher up the table, pushing for the title, but at the same time we are in a position to go and challenge for Champions League football.

“There will come a time when things click into place and we’ll be back to where we were and where we have been. When that happens, then everyone will be happy. It’s just a matter of time.”

A key part of Liverpool’s recent glory was Sadio Mane, who joined from Southampton in 2016 before going on to score 120 goals in 269 appearances in all competitions for the Reds.

Mane departed for Bayern Munich prior to this season, and replacement Darwin Nunez has endured a mixed start to his Anfield career after signing for a club-record £85million fee.

While Alexander-Arnold acknowledged Liverpool are missing Mane, he also defended Nunez, who has come under fire after a number of missed gilt-edged opportunities in the early days of his Premier League career.

“Sadio is a world-class player and has been for many years,” the right-back said. “He’s someone who will help any team he’s at and do the things he does to a level that others can’t, so of course we are going to miss what he brings to the team.

“But we’ve got other players with different qualities who bring different things to our game who will help us in what we need to do.

“[Nunez] is a player who I think it’s easy to just write him off, it’s easy to say he’s not scoring goals. But he’s getting himself into areas and places where he’s able to hurt the opposition. We have faith that the goals will start coming.”

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