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Liverpool have not taken advantage of this player who could be an asset to the title

By Charles Cornwall

Liverpool have not taken advantage of this player who could be an asset to the title

Trent Alexander-Arnold possesses a unique skill within the world-class Liverpool squad, but the stats show he hasn't fully utilised it in the past couple of seasons.

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Liverpool only suffered two Premier League defeats last season, but one of them featured a contender for the Goal of the Month award. Away at West Ham on November 7, Trent Alexander-Arnold stood over the ball on the edge of the D. He rolled it to Mohamed Salah, who steadied it, and then whipped around the Hammers’ wall and into the net, with Łukasz Fabiański a spectator. 

It drew the Reds level at 1-1 heading into half-time, but second-half goals from Pablo Fornals and Kurt Zouma would condemn them to defeat. Had the outcome been different, then the strike would be remembered much more fondly.

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It was the first free-kick Alexander-Arnold had scored since 22 July 2020, when Liverpool beat Chelsea 5-3 at Anfield on the night of their Premier League trophy lift. He didn’t manage to net any the following season. It’s important first of all to stress what should be obvious — free-kicks are very difficult to score. Many would regard the position of Alexander-Arnold’s effort at the London Stadium as virtually perfect, but even that was only a 0.11 xG opportunity. He recorded eight shots from free-kicks, scoring once and firing five (62.5 per cent) off target, while the other two were blocked.

The season before

Well, that year he attempted more than twice as many (17) but only two of those (11.8 per cent) made the goalkeeper work, with six (35.3 per cent) blocked and nine (52.9 per cent) flying wide or over the bar. Overall, across the last two seasons, the numbers are decidedly underwhelming. Alexander-Arnold has only managed to clear the wall and find the target three times (12 per cent) from 25 efforts.

It feels like it’s becoming a common sight: Alexander-Arnold stands over a free-kick, the anticipation builds, and then the shot sails over the top or hits the wall in a groan-inducing anticlimax. That may seem overly harsh on Alexander-Arnold, given the slim likelihood of scoring, but let’s now compare his record with some of the division’s best.

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