Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes defender Trent Alexander-Arnold is a unique talent with an “insane” skill-set.
The right-back took his tally of assists this season to 14 with a couple in the Carabao Cup semi-final second-leg victory over Arsenal on Thursday.
Since the start of the 2018-19 season, only Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller and Paris St Germain’s Lionel Messi – both forwards – have created more goals than the England international.
“I don’t know anybody who is like Trent. Who is a right-back and is that decisive and influential and all these kind of things,” he said.
“I really don’t like always when they mention his defending, ‘defensively he’s not that good, but he’s offensively better’.
“I thought he did outstandingly well defensively last night.
“The package of Trent is insane.
“It’s not that he delivers every day, there are still departments where he can improve and has to improve and we will work on them and I will not stop telling him, but the package is really interesting, I would say.
“I’m not sure what it means in history. Still 15 years or whatever time to play and to create and to score and to learn and improve but the last five years were a good start in a career I would say.”
Another player who has had a good start to his Liverpool career is back-up goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher.
He has kept seven clean sheets in 15 first-team appearances, featuring in nine victories and been on the losing side just twice, one of which was the youth team’s League Cup defeat to Aston Villa while the first team were in Qatar at the Club World Cup.
His reward has been to establish himself as the club’s Carabao Cup goalkeeper, only sitting out the first leg to give Alisson Becker a game after a period of inactivity, and Klopp has confirmed he will start the final against Chelsea next month.
“Caoimhin will play, if he is fit. We consider Caoimhin as an outstanding goalie. Not a good goalie, an outstanding goalie, and we want to keep him here,” added the Reds boss.
“And to keep him here you need to make sure of a few things. Before a season you need to think and talk about about the different games he will get.
“It is all about performing of course and if he didn’t perform on the level he performed when he played, then I would maybe think differently.
“But he has shown he deserves all the trust and faith that we have in him.
“My idea in this moment is to play him (at Wembley). I don’t see any reason why we should not do that. Caoimhin deserves that.
“Last week against Arsenal I had to explain to Caoimhin why he is not playing.
“I usually do not do that, but it was his competition and I thought Ali needs the game because he was lacking rhythm after Covid and all these kinds of things.
“What I really liked was that Caoimhin was not like, ‘Oh yes, I understand’. He was like ‘What? Why?’ – so he matures in all departments and that is good. That is the goalie we want.”