Trent Alexander-Arnold relishing defensive leadership opportunity

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Trent Alexander-Arnold is looking forward to proving outside doubters wrong over Liverpool’s defensive capabilities as he looks to grow as a leader in the Reds’ backline.

The injury to Virgil van Dijk has been well-documented in the week since his season was effectively deemed to be over, a period of time which also saw the Reds’ title credentials come under scrutiny.

While the Dutchman is a huge loss for Jurgen Klopp‘s side, they can now only navigate the season with the personnel available to them – players who are intent on stepping up to the plate.

After the win at Ajax, Fabinho acknowledged his need to evolve having stated: “I have to do a little bit of what Virg always does, talking to the team, trying to be a leader.”

And it was a feeling shared by Trent after Liverpool notched their second win of the week against Sheffield United on Saturday, with the right-back and his fellow defenders relishing the chance to fill the void left by the No. 4 and prove doubters wrong.

“He’s a massive presence on and off the pitch, in the changing room, everything,” Trent told the club’s official website.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 12, 2020: Liverpool’s Andy Robertson (L) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (R) before 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. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“His communication and leadership is massive for us back there, he’s probably the leader of the back four and obviously, without him it’s a bit strange because this is probably the first time and the first spell where we haven’t had him since he’s came in.

“So it’s a bit weird for us but we want to adapt and adjust and I think in the two games we’ve been without him – well, three if you include Everton – we’ve shown how good we are defensively.

“Fab’s stepped up and done an amazing job in there [and] Joey G is stepping up and leading as well.

“So even though it’s disappointing not to have Virg, it’s also an opportunity for us to come together as a back four and show our leadership and show that even though Virg is a big miss, hopefully, we won’t miss him as much as everyone potentially thinks.”

It’s the perfect mentality to have in a situation whereby a key pillar of the team is to be absent for the long-term and the collective growth of the intangible qualities across the defensive line will hold the Reds in good stead even beyond the return of Van Dijk.

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