Trent Alexander-Arnold hit a personal best to ensure Liverpool kept the pressure on Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.
Liverpool went into their game against West Ham United at Anfield knowing they could close the gap on Man City to just three points but this was a Hammers side in good form chasing Champions League football.
And they were made to work hard for the 1-0 victory, with West Ham arguably having the better of the chances particularly in the second half. But in the end it was Liverpool’s clinical nature in front of goal that won it, and another assist for Alexander-Arnold.
It was an excellent assist too, taking down Naby Keita’s pass with his chest before firing a cross into the box on the bounce where Sadio Mane was to tap in.
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There was a brief moment of worry when VAR got involved to check on an offside on Mane, but the goal counted as the Senegalese forward was deemed onside by the slimmest of margins. 1-0 to Liverpool and Alexander-Arnold’s 16th assist of the season across all competitions.
That’s a personal best for Alexander-Arnold for assists, beating his previous record of 15, set in 2018/19 and 2019/20 when he was making a name for himself as one of the best right-backs in the world – if not the best, helping Liverpool win the Champions League and Premier League.
“I try to contribute as much as I can to the team,” Alexander Arnold told Sky Sports of his record.
“We all want to help win games for the team and I am happy to be able to continue.
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“Both me and Andy (Robertson) tried to get forward when we had the chance, but to keep a clean sheet was our aim.
“We have been able to do that over the last few weeks. Being able to clear one off the line was great as it helped us keep that clean sheet.
“Look at the Burnley game, when we also got a 1-0 win. It’s great to win by a big margin but these are the ones that matter. It doesn’t matter how you do it, you have to get the job done.”
But was his assist an accident? When Robertson joked about his assist being a shot, Alexander-Arnold said: “They all count, I have dragged it.”
Alexander-Arnold’s 16 assists also saw him level Steven Gerrard’s personal best in a single campaign for Liverpool, which the former Reds captain achieved in three separate campaigns – 2004/05, 2005/06 and 2007/08. But the right-back is surely on course to beat that record and in fewer games too.
In 2004/05, Gerrard’s 16 assists came in 43 games, in 2005/06 it was 53 and 2007/08, 52; Alexander-Arnold has hit 16 in just 32 matches.
And Graeme Souness is a fan. “There’s a reason why they (Liverpool) are top goalscorers, because they’re got him in the team.
“He’s got great delivery, he passes the ball like very few people can even in this high level of football the Premier League. He’s got every single club and he uses it perfectly.
“He can draw it, he can push it, he can do whatever he wants with a football. And when he gets into the attacking third, the last third, nine times out of 10 he’s picking the right choice. He’s got a wonderful range of passing.”
The best right-back in the league? He may just be, and Virgil van Dijk will be happy for his defensive contributions too which included a goalline clearance, preserving the Dutchman’s unbeaten run at Anfield. Van Dijk has now gone 60 games unbeaten in the Premier League at Anfield, a record for home games unbeaten for a single club in the division.