Trent Alexander-Arnold has stressed the importance of Jurgen Klopp in his breakthrough as a young player, from the German’s first weeks at Liverpool.
Klopp marked four years as Reds manager on Tuesday, having restored the club to its place as one of Europe’s finest, winning the Champions League in June.
Liverpool are now eight points clear at the top of the Premier League after eight games, and though there is a long way to go until they can celebrate a title win, it is a marker of their progress under Klopp.
Trent was part of the pre-season squad in Brendan Rodgers’ last summer on Merseyside, featuring in the 2-1 win over Swindon Town in 2015, but made his official debut after the Ulsterman’s dismissal.
It was Klopp who gave the right-back his bow just over a year after his appointment, and he has now made 97 appearances for his boyhood club, and is a European Cup winner at 21.
Reflecting on Klopp’s role in his rise in a press conference on Tuesday, Trent conceded he owes him “everything.”
“Without him, who knows what would have happened?” he told reporters.
“He’s the one who’s given me the most opportunities, and more opportunities than I could even ask for.
“I think he’s obviously put a lot of trust and faith in me personally, and I’ve tried to repay him every time he’s done that.
“A massive thanks to him, and hopefully there will be four more years of success!”
Klopp joined Alex Inglethorpe and then-U21s manager Michael Beale on the viewing balcony at Kirkby just days after his arrival at Liverpool, watching the under-18s’ 1-0 win over Stoke.
Ben Woodburn and Ovie Ejaria were among those to start, while a 15-year-old Rhian Brewster made his debut from the bench, rushing over after 50 minutes in the under-16s’ clash playing at the same time.
Trent used this as an example of the “statement” Klopp made early on in his tenure, and how it convincing him he would be given the opportunities he required.
“That almost gave us a bit more faith and gave a statement to the club that he was going to use young players and give us chances,” he explained.
“He’s shown over the four-year period that he’s given those young players the chances, and given the opportunities.
“And obviously I’m one of the youngsters that has been given them.”
Trent is also fortunate to have a strong family unit to support him, with the youngster joined by his mum, dad and two brothers on the pitch after the Champions League final in Madrid.
He deserves credit himself, too, for his dedication to developing as a player, acknowledging the “sacrifices” he has made to reach this stage in his career.
“There’s a lot of distractions and different avenues that you can go down as a young player,” he admitted.
“It’s important to have the right people around you and make sure you’re focused all the time.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have those people around me that motivate me and push me to do better every day.
“So there have been a lot of sacrifices, but with the end goal and the motivation that I’ve got, it’s always been easy to make those.”
The key aspect of Klopp’s revival of Liverpool has been the fostering of a winning mentality, and this was clear as Trent stressed he is hungry for more after lifting the European Cup.
“I think it’s the same as if you haven’t won a trophy yet, you want to do more,” he continued.
“That determination and hunger to win silverware never really dies out, I think.
“No matter how many you win, there’ll never be enough for you. You need to keep pushing to get better as a player and as a team.
“Whatever you’re playing for, the aim is always to win, and that’s the mentality that we’ve got at the minute.”