Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold returned from injury in stellar fashion with three assists that helped his side take apart Javi Garcia’s Watford in a 5-0 demolition. With both his defensive contributions and offensive capabilities the standout feature of the Reds performance, he secures his position as Maryam Naz’s Offside Rule Premier League Player of the Week.
1) Defensive steel
The 20-year-old paired well with centre-back Virgil van Dijk, enhancing the defensive steel present in Liverpool’s back four.
Gerard Deulofeu and Roberto Pereyra were unable to operate at peak efficiency thanks to the Englishman’s efforts. Alexander-Arnold effectively cut off their route to goal, using his pace and physicality to block through balls, keeping Troy Deeney out of the action.
Despite being sidelined for five weeks, his skill and spatial awareness matched the intensity of the game and his opponent’s play – no mean feat, given that Watford swept aside Cardiff City last week, featuring an attacking masterclass that saw them also score five times.
2) Hat-trick hero
The England international became the youngest player at 20 years and 143 days to get three assists in a Premier League game. This stat is particularly damning towards the Watford defence, which allowed Alexander-Arnold to get up and down the right flank and play provider for a large majority of the game.
It was his inch-perfect delivery that allowed Sadio Mane and Van Dijk to make it onto the scoresheet, which would not have been the case had he not penetrated Watford’s defence. Yet not only did Craig Cathcart and co. allow Alexander-Arnold to freely supply the Reds attack, but they were also unable to stop him from creating four big chances that could’ve seen Jurgen Klopp’s men run close to double figures.
Such attacking flair from the right-back will be a useful addition to the Liverpool attack if they are to go on and clinch their first domestic title since 1990.
3) Passing masterclass
Alexander-Arnold proved his defensive and offensive talents, yet his maturity with the ball at his feet was the most impressive aspect of his performance against the Hornets.
Up against a Watford front three who liked to press high up the pitch, the right-back remained calm and collected, playing important passes into the attacking third.
With 80% passing accuracy and zero possession losses, the channel through to Liverpool’s front three was an easy one to manage.
Yet not only did he retain possession well, but he was also able to steal it back for his team in threatening positions – he did this successfully six times across the duration of the 90 minutes.
4) Honourable mentions
While Alexander-Arnold stole the limelight this week, a player who was also the star of the show for his side was Chelsea’s Pedro. The Spaniard’s goal sealed Tottenham’s fate to consecutive defeats in the League.
Yet his defensive contributions and pressing were also impressive, helping the Blues to an important three points against Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
Follow Maryam on Twitter at @mnaz98