Trent Alexander-Arnold is still only 25 but should be considered among the best full-backs in footballing history, as an eye-opening statistic has proved.
Midway through his eighth season as part of the Liverpool first team, Alexander-Arnold is now vice-captain of his boyhood club and arguably producing some of his best form.
The No. 66 has adapted his game as part of Jurgen Klopp‘s new system, which like the last is specifically designed to get the best out of his right-back.
Such is Alexander-Arnold’s influence from a traditionally defensive role that he, along with Andy Robertson on the left, is widely viewed as changing perceptions of full-backs.
While Paolo Maldini, Ashley Cole, Javier Zanetti and Cafu are standouts in their field, none produced the numbers that Liverpool’s academy graduate has at the other end of the pitch.
In fact, according to French statisticians PopFoot, across Europe’s top five leagues in the 21st century, Roberto Carlos is the only defender to tally more goals and assists for club and country over a calendar year.
? Les défenseurs latéraux les plus décisifs sur une année au 21eme siècle (buts + passes décisives) pic.twitter.com/pqrSphYh7L
— PopFoot (@ThePopFoot) December 23, 2023
With the top 10 going viral in a post on Twitter, Alexander-Arnold’s feat is made all the more remarkable that he is the only player to feature three times.
Roberto Carlos directly contributed to 26 goals for Real Madrid and Brazil in 2003, which is one more than Alexander-Arnold managed for Liverpool and England in 2019.
PopFoot’s findings were posted prior to the Reds’ final two games of the year, which means the West Derby native actually takes third spot with his 24 goal contributions in 2023.
Dani Alves, with 23 in 2008 and 2011, takes fourth and fifth, with Ricardo Rodriguez (2014), Leighton Baines (2014) and Jordi Alba (2021) all tied with Alexander-Arnold’s next-best tally of 22 from 2021.
David Alaba rounds off the top 10 having scored and assisted a combined 21 goals for Bayern Munich and Austria in 2013.
It is an outstanding feat which highlights Alexander-Arnold’s worth to Liverpool – and how he has been bizarrely overlooked by Gareth Southgate for England.
And given last season was largely viewed as a difficult one for the right-back, who received widespread criticism from the English media, it is telling that his 2023 output ranks third in the 21st century.
By far and away one of the greatest right-backs in not only modern football, but the history of the sport.