Jurgen Klopp: 'Machine' Trent Alexander-Arnold My Biggest Surprise at Liverpool

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 20, 2019

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 30: Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool with Trent Alexander-Arnold during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at Anfield on November 30, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has named star right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold as his "biggest surprise" since taking over the club in October 2015

It was Klopp, 52, who handed the Liverpool academy graduate his debut as an 18-year-old in October 2016, and Alexander-Arnold has since evolved to become arguably the best right-back in Europe.

The coach recently appeared on the At Home with Colin Murray podcast (h/t BBC Sport) and was asked which of the players he inherited or signed at Anfield surprised him most.

Klopp replied: "I have known Trent Alexander-Arnold since he was 17 years old. He had power for around 60 minutes, he was a big talent but we were not sure he could do it physically. Now he is a machine—so he is a big surprise."

The defender, 21, notched his eighth assist of the campaign in his 23rd appearance of the season on Wednesday. Liverpool were drawing 1-1 before he disguised a delightful pass for Roberto Firmino to score an injury-time winner against Monterrey in the FIFA Club World Cup semi-finals:

Alexander-Arnold's haul includes six assists and one goal in 17 Premier League appearances—only Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne (nine) and Tottenham Hotspur's Heung-Min Son (seven) have more assists this term.

His latest direct contribution towards Liverpool's success drew an emotive reaction from The Redmen TV cast, while journalist Chris Williams joined in the plaudits praising his ingenuity:

The Redmen TV @TheRedmenTV

'It's absolutely sublime!' The lads talk about that 'genius' Trent Alexander Arnold assist! https://t.co/awSdAZXGTe

Chris Williams @Chris78Williams

That pass from Alexander-Arnold is unbelievable, you'd expect a lifted ball from there but he's spotted the run and space that Firmino had - the ball is caressed into the path of the Brazilian.

It's rare for a youngster to assume a senior role at this level and look quite so comfortable in such a short space of time, never mind in a team that ran to the UEFA Champions League crown in June.  

Goal's Neil Jones highlighted the player's assist tally in 2019 as being the standard in England's top flight, though De Bruyne's injury troubles earlier this year held back at least one contender in that field:

Neil Jones @neiljonesgoal

Trent Alexander-Arnold has registered 20 assists in all competitions during 2019, more than any other Premier League player. #LFC

Presenter Colin Murray referred to left-back Andrew Robertson as his biggest surprise during Klopp's reign. The Scotland international has also excelled to become one of the best in the world in his position since he joined from Hull City in July 2017 for an initial £8 million, a remarkable bargain in hindsight.

Alexander-Arnold has already made 110 senior appearances for Liverpool and is contracted to the club until 2024, with no signs the Merseysider will be in any rush to leave his hometown club in the foreseeable future.