With Van Dijk leaving London due to illness on the eve of Sunday’s clash, Alexander-Arnold was captain for the third-round tie at the Emirates.
But it was a captain’s display from the right-back, who led by example and, as explained by Bradley in his post-match interview, led his younger team-mates through the game.
Bradley replaced Harvey Elliott with 75 minutes on the clock and the score at 0-0, allowing Alexander-Arnold to move into midfield, which meant he was paired up against Gabriel Martinelli.
“I just tried to force him inside,” was the 20-year-old’s assessment to LFCTV.
“As soon as I came on, Trent told me just force him inside and he’ll be there to cover me.
“Any time he did try to take me on, I tried to force him inside – and I think I did alright against him, so I’m happy.”
Alexander-Arnold himself only turned 25 in October, which still makes him one of the younger players in the squad, but he is just two appearances away from 300 for Liverpool.
That puts him in a strong position to lead, particularly when it comes to a right-back like Bradley, who was left in awe as his delivery forced Jakub Kiwior’s own goal for 1-0.
“It’s just unbelievable the way he can whip it in. Every corner, free-kick we get, we know it’s a good chance to score,” Bradley said.
“We’re just glad we got that first goal, then we got the second to see the game out.”
Both Bradley and Bobby Clark were vital to Liverpool securing a place in the fourth round, with the young midfielder joining his academy team-mate for the interview.
“He was just saying do my defensive jobs well and be myself on the ball, express myself,” the 18-year-old said.
“[I needed to be switched on] 100 percent. Obviously they’re all world-class players, so you’ve got to be switched on at all times.”
On the occasion, Clark added: “It’s a great feeling.
“Coming on with Conor, I’ve played with him in the academy for a bit now, it’s a good feeling. Obviously a few [nerves]!”