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Andy Robertson embracing assist battle with Trent which could be closer than ever

Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold will renew their assist battle in 2020/21, and Liverpool’s 4-3 win over Leeds hinted at a renewed effort from the left-back.

Robertson began the campaign with an assist on Saturday, laying on Virgil van Dijk‘s header to make it 2-1 on the way to a wild victory to kick off the Premier League.

The Scot also played a key role in Mohamed Salah‘s second of the evening, with his free-kick cleared into the No. 11’s path by Pascal Struijk, allowing Salah to hammer it into the top corner.

There has been a marked difference in Robertson’s delivery in recent months, and with Leeds focusing their attentions on Alexander-Arnold in particular, it allowed the left-back to thrive.

Over the past two seasons, Robertson and Alexander-Arnold have been embroiled in a friendly competition over who can end the campaign with the most assists, with the No. 66 winning out in both 2018/19 and 2019/20.

Last term, Alexander-Arnold finished with 15 and Robertson with 12, and the left-back is hoping for another fruitful duel this time around.

“It’s a long, long season so we’ll see how it plays out this time!” he told the club’s official matchday programme.

“I had a lot of games to make up last season and I nearly got there. We both do this competition to get the best out of each other.

“These last two seasons we’ve shown that we can take the numbers to a whole new level for full-backs, especially with Trent breaking the record for a full-back that had stood for many years in 2018/19, and then breaking his own record the year after, which was incredible.

“If I’m anywhere close to him this season then I think we’ll have both had a successful season because I can’t see him not assisting with goals and long may that continue.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 12, 2020: Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (R) celebrates with team-mate Andy Robertson (L) after scoring the winning fourth goal, his hat-trick, from a penalty-kick to make the score 4-3 during the opening FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leeds United FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. Liverpool won 4-3. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Robertson is right to acknowledge how beneficial this healthy competition is for Liverpool, and he continued that “making chances and creating goals is a big part of how we play and we get a lot of joy from it.”

But the evolution of the Reds’ approach, and the way sides set up to defend against them, could give the left-back an edge as the campaign unfolds.

There appears to be a bigger emphasis on Robertson’s overlapping runs from the left, and not only that, but his quality in the cross looks to have improved significantly from this time last year.

After the 2-1 win at Chelsea in 2019, it was noted how Robertson is better at delivering balls when they are already moving, setting up Roberto Firmino‘s winner in that game as Alexander-Arnold rolled a free-kick into his path.

But now, the 26-year-old is standing over free-kicks and corners with confidence, while also managing to diversify his creative options and tightening up his work in possession.

He is considerably older than Alexander-Arnold, of course, but Robertson is still developing as a player, and it would be no surprise if he runs his fellow full-back even closer in the assist charts in 2020/21.

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