Alexander-Arnold, then only 17 years old, made his first appearance for what was then the side of the under 21s after having taken a step forward compared to the U18s. It was a punishing experience.
“It was one of the first times I played in the right back,” said the defender, reflecting later in the afternoon. “I hadn’t played it too often.
“It was probably one of the most difficult games I had. It reminds me of bad memories, but these are the types of games that help you learn. They are not the good, they are the bad. ”
The day before, 21-year-old Andy Robertson faced his own disappointment at being part of a Hull City team that, while leading the championship, was beaten 1-0 at Burnley.
Fast forward 18 months, and the pair were dating for the first time for Liverpool in the Premier League.
Proven in fast learning, Alexander-Arnold made his league debut at Old Trafford in January 2017 while Robertson had impressed enough in Hull to make £ 8 million at Anfield this summer.
But their outing against Burnley in September was one of four Premier League appearances in the same starting lineup in the first half of the season – and one of them, in Brighton and Hove Albion, saw the duo used as wingman.
While Robertson’s long adaptation period is well known, it is easy to forget that Alexander-Arnold was challenging Joe Gomez for the right-back.
It was not until February that he started three successive league games, when Robertson was installed as a regular left-back due to an injury to Alberto Moreno.
They haven’t looked back since, perhaps the best attacking duo in world football.
In the 27 Premier League games they played together last season, they have collected 22 assists. That term is 20 out of 29 games.
Alexander-Arnold, who is only 21 years old, has become not only an integral part of the team, but also an exceptional ambassador for the club, a model for the prospects of the Academy and the supporters as a whole.
In addition, of course, he is the Scouser of the Liverpool team that dominated Europe, the world and is now, finally, champion of England.
He also redefined the role of the right-back, essentially becoming the Reds’ playmaker from that position.
The top came in his display in the 4-0 victory at Leicester City the day after Christmas, when he claimed two assists before sealing the victory with an arrow arrival from Carlos Albertoesque in the bottom corner.
Players of yesterday and today, normally good enough to spot a talent, couldn’t help but be impressed.
“Alexander-Arnold” tweeted former Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano, while Gary Lineker said, “This is just a joke. Fantastic footballer. ”
Anyone who had paid even a cursory notice to the Liverpool Academy in the years before the Alexander-Arnold breakthrough would not have been completely taken aback by its impact.
And in retrospect, it should have been blindly evident that Robertson would also become a resounding success at the club.
With contagious enthusiasm from Joey Jones and progressive play from Steve Nicol and Alan Kennedy, Robertson is an amalgamation of popular left-backs with the Reds.
Oh, and it turns out he’s Scottish.
The influence from the north of the border has prevailed in every successful Liverpool championship bid, to the point that in the late 1970s and early 1980s photographers regularly asked for “Jock pictures” in which Alan Hansen, Kenny Dalglish and Graeme Souness have paraded the latest hard drives. earned silverware. Steve Nicol, Gary Gillespie and John Wark would also be involved later.
Gary McAllister was at the heart of the Cup triplets in 2001 and Charlie Adam could claim a League Cup in 2012, but otherwise Scottish representation has been slim on the ground since the title triumph in 1990.
Robertson has now returned to balance. “He has been the best left-back in England and, possibly, in Europe for two years,” said Danny Rose, who was part of the Tottenham Hotspur team defeated by Liverpool in the Champions League final last year.
“He’s the one I’m looking for, no doubt. He is the best. Andy Robertson looks like a nature freak. He’s just brilliant. ”
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The final word, however, must go to Jurgen Klopp, whose approach to the game, faith in youth and an eye for a player allowed the duo to thrive so beautifully.
“Few young boys mean they want to be back, but they are now much more important,” said the Reds boss.
“The game has changed now and you have to be very strong on the defensive, but now the teams clear the wings for the backs, you have to have the football quality to put crosses on the other end too. ”
Alexander-Arnold and Robertson didn’t just change Liverpool. They changed the perception of the role of the model in the back, standard bearers for a new era.
And, of course, they are Premier League champions.