EPL

Alexander-Arnold 'underestimated' Rashford in toughest individual battle

By Sports Desk November 01, 2019

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold admitted he was guilty of underestimating Manchester United star Marcus Rashford and consequently experienced his most difficult outing.

Rashford was deployed wide on the left by Jose Mourinho and scored twice in the first 24 minutes when Liverpool visited Old Trafford and suffered a 2-1 defeat on March 10, 2018.

Alexander-Arnold was making just his 15th Premier League start and had a torrid time against the United attacker but was not replaced until the 80th minute.

The 21-year-old right-back has since lined up against teams including five-time Ballon d'Or winners Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo but that battle with Rashford remains his most testing appearance.

"[That match against United was] the toughest in terms of a direct opponent and someone getting on top of me in professional football. I'd say I underestimated him," Alexander-Arnold said of Rashford to The Athletic.

"It was a massive learning curve for me. It was something that I hated happening. As a Liverpool player it's probably the worst game of the season to perform like that. But when things like that happen you have to learn from them.

"It was a wake-up call. You hate days like that. You don't want to experience that. You remember how it felt and that makes you try everything you possibly can to ensure you don't have another one like it."

Alexander-Arnold was key to Liverpool's Champions League success and Premier League title challenge last season, when they finished just one point behind Manchester City. 

Having already conquered Europe, the defender says the Reds have their sights set on dethroning City and ending a 30-year wait for a top-flight crown.

"I want to help this club achieve as much success as I possibly can. We had a taste of it in Madrid and now we want more," said Alexander-Arnold.

"If there was one trophy that would mean the most to the fans it would be the Premier League. It's been too long. It's something all of us are desperate to achieve and hopefully that's the next step for this team. We've put ourselves in a strong position. Now we need to kick on."

City and Liverpool look primed for another two-team tussle for Premier League glory in 2019-20.

Asked if the rivalry with City is bigger than in games against United and Everton, Alexander-Arnold replied: "Traditionally, no, because of all the history with United and Everton. But in terms of intensity, quality, concentration and tempo, they're probably the biggest games of the season now.

"You know that if you step one foot out of line against City you'll get punished. You need to be bang on all the time. The two games last season were so marginal. The 0-0 at home and then the 2-1 defeat away when one went in off the post and one was cleared off the line. Tight as you like. Those sort of games can define a season these days.

"Last season City away was probably the one game when we looked back with disappointment and thought if we had done better there things would have been different [in the title race]."

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