Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hailed Trent Alexander-Arnold’s performance after the teenager fired the Reds on their way to a 2-1 win over Hoffenheim in their Champions League play-off first-leg.
The Liverpool-born full-back, deputising for the injured Nathaniel Clyne, opened the scoring in the 35th minute by curling home a free-kick from outside the box on his European debut.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, remember the name. pic.twitter.com/EcACpDKBId— Anfield Express (@AnfieldExpress) August 15, 2017
Liverpool added a second 13 minutes from time when James Milner’s cross was deflected in by fellow substitute Havard Nordtveit.
But Hoffenheim, who saw Andrej Kramaric miss a 14th-minute penalty, grabbed a lifeline late on when Mark Uth halved the deficit.
“He only plays because he is good,” the German said.
“He has to improve in all departments, that is clear, but offensively he is nice to watch and defensively he was good today.
“That is the challenge. We are fine. You saw him, he needs a long ice bath and a warm bed for recovery.
“It was a really good free-kick.”
Klopp is hoping a return to Anfield will see Liverpool advance to the Champions League group stages.
“We need Anfield. You saw what an intense game it was,” Klopp added.
“Anfield doesn’t decide anything, but we need to work together and we are looking forward to another European night there.”
Alexander-Arnold said afterwards that he was in dreamland .
“It is a thing of dreams to make your European debut for your boyhood club,” Alexander-Arnold told BT Sport.
“Especially to make it with a goal was very special for me.
“More importantly, we got the win. We are still a bit disappointed with the late goal but it is always good to take a lead back to Anfield.
“I kind of got egged on to take the free-kick, to be honest. I never put my hand up first but I had the confidence to take it and it paid off.”
Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson felt the German side’s late goal slightly took the shine off the result.
“We will be disappointed with the late goal because we wanted to take a clean sheet back to Anfield,” Henderson said.
“At the end we will be disappointed with that, but overall we have got to be pleased with the result and how we played at times.”