Trent Alexander-Arnold has made more key passes than Riyad Mahrez this season

Jurgen Klopp and Trent Alexander-Arnold

Saturday night was a statement victory for Liverpool.

The club have endured a torrid 2021, losing eight league matches since the turn of the year. 

However, Saturday's win was a major step in the right direction. The Reds took full advantage of Chelsea's slip-up earlier in the day against West Brom, as they dismantled Arsenal 3-0 at the Emirates.

They are now just two points outside the top four, within striking distance of a Champions League place.

There were a number of impressive performances from Jurgen Klopp's men - none more so than the one put in by Trent Alexander-Arnold who Whoscored rated as their man of the match.

The right-back was recently left out of Gareth Southgate's England squad, and is in danger of failing to make the cut for this summer's European Championships.

Yet Saturday's display was a reminder of his qualities. Is he back?

GIVEMESPORT's Sam Brookes takes a look at why he maybe never even went away...

The stat comparable to Mahrez

When Liverpool were at their best, winning the Champions League and Premier League in consecutive seasons, Alexander-Arnold was a key creative presence for them.

Across the 2018/19 and 2019/20 campaigns, he managed a staggering 25 top-flight assists. Has his service been that much worse this year?

Not when compared with Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian winger has been one of the standout wide men in the division this term. Despite Pep Guardiola's rotation, Mahrez has featured in 10 of City's last 11 league games.

Yet he still does not match up well with Alexander-Arnold when it comes to key passes.

As per WhoScored, the Liverpool defender has completed 51 key passes in the Premier League in 2020/21. Mahrez is some way behind that number, having clocked up just 40 key passes.

Has Alexander-Arnold been harshly criticised?

Ahead of Liverpool's game against Arsenal on the weekend, former Chelsea forward Tony Cascarino pointed out that the right-back had been found wanting defensively at times this season.

Cascarino told talkSPORT: "He’s not had a good season defensively and that means teams have tried to exploit Trent – Raheem Sterling did it for Man City, Marcus Rashford did it for Man United, I’ve seen Grealish do it when Villa won 7-2, trying to exploit the space in behind him."

Is Cascarino right? Of course, that is a subjective matter, but the statistics indicate that Alexander-Arnold has not been as bad as suggested.

The 22-year-old has made 35 interceptions in the league this year - more than any other Liverpool player. He backed that up again on Saturday by making three more. None of his teammates bettered this total.

These numbers highlight that the full-back is perfectly capable of reading the game well, and does tend to be in the right place at the right time.

But even if Alexander-Arnold has been more susceptible to opposition wingers this season, the fact remains that he's still making vital contributions going forward.

Against Arsenal, that manifested in an assist for Diogo Jota's opener, and ultimately the pros of Alexander-Arnold's offensive output still massively outweigh the cons of his alleged defensive frailties. 

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In which season did Liverpool wear this kit?

Can Alexander-Arnold win his place back in the England squad?

Having failed to make the final squad before Southgate names his final 23 for the Euros, things don't look too promising for Alexander-Arnold.

However, he can draw inspiration from fellow right-back Kyle Walker in terms of winning his place back with the national team.

In the second half of 2019, Walker was consistently left out of the squad and it seemed that his England days may be behind him. When he did return to the side in 2020, he was sent off against Iceland.

He has continued to work his way back, though, and started England's last two matches against Albania and Poland.

This shows that the door is far from closed on Alexander-Arnold's Euros aspirations. If he keeps performing like he did on Saturday, when he received a match rating of 8.25 from WhoScored, it will be very difficult for Southgate to overlook him again.

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