The sense that Liverpool's players have still to reach their full potential is something that excites Trent Alexander-Arnold.
June’s Champions League triumph represented the highest point yet for Jürgen Klopp’s team, who have contested the European Cup final in each of the past two seasons.
But the victory over Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid can be just the beginning of a successful period for the club if the squad continues their year-on-year improvement, believes the right-back.
In an interview with Champions Journal magazine, Alexander-Arnold said: “After beating Spurs, there were celebrations but with the sense that: ‘This is literally just the beginning. There’s so much more that this team can do.’
“Nearly every player in every position is world-class and not many, if any, have even hit the heights they can at their full potential, which is incredible.
“The manager talks about it all the time. We’re still a young side, we’re still learning. We need to evolve, adapt and become better. It’s exciting.”
Liverpool begin their defence of the Champions League at Napoli on Tuesday evening after being drawn alongside the Serie A side, Salzburg and Genk in Group E.
If Klopp’s men are to embark on another long adventure in the competition this term, Anfield – and the influence its atmosphere can have on matches – will again be crucial.
Alexander-Arnold underlined the empowering effect of the stadium and the recent shift in mentality that has made the Reds such a force at home and in Europe.
“I remember playing Manchester City at home,” said the No.66. “We couldn’t speak – you can’t communicate on the pitch. You’re trying to tell someone to block a space or tell them they’ve got a man on them and they can’t hear you shout.
“I think the atmospheres we get in the Champions League games are probably the best in the competition. It’s a fortress at Anfield now, getting back to how it was in the old days.
“It’s where the club belongs: being in finals, two [Champions League] finals in a row, coming close in the league, challenging for trophies.
“With the world-class players we’ve got, we shouldn’t ever shy away from the fact that we’re good enough as individuals and as a team to be challenging for trophies, if not multiple trophies, every season.”
This article is based on an interview with Trent from the first issue of Champions Journal. Read it in full at champions-journal.com. Use code LFC10 to get 10 per cent off your first order of the magazine until October 16.
Liverpool took off from John Lennon Airport on Monday afternoon for their Champions League Group E opener against Napoli.
A three-hour flight will carry the 20-man Reds squad and staff from Merseyside to Italy, where their European Cup defence begins at Stadio San Paolo on Tuesday night.
Our photographer was there on the tarmac to see them on their way - take a look in the gallery below...
Photos by Andrew Powell
Liverpool have named a 20-man travelling squad for Tuesday's Champions League meeting with Napoli at Stadio San Paolo.
The European champions depart John Lennon Airport on Monday afternoon bound for Italy, where they will get the defence of their trophy under way against Carlo Ancelotti's team.
Travelling squad: Fabinho, Van Dijk, Wijnaldum, Lovren, Milner, Firmino, Mane, Salah, Gomez, Adrian, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana, Lonergan, Shaqiri, Brewster, Robertson, Matip, Kelleher, Alexander-Arnold.
Liverpool today learned their route through the Club World Cup in Qatar in December—though all teams competing are yet to be confirmed.
Having secured the Champions League title in June, the Reds have already since gone on to reassert their European dominance by winning the UEFA Super Cup.
The next trophy opportunity will be that of world domination—well, sort of—with the intercontinental challenge awaiting Jurgen Klopp and his squad in winter.
And the first obstacle for Liverpool to overcome in Qatar will more than likely be
Mexican side CF Monterrey, after Monday’s draw saw Michael Owen paired the Reds with the Liga MX side.
The convoluted nature of the competition means the Reds only come in at the semi-final stage, with either three or four games to be played before our first fixture.
One other point to note from the draw was that the Reds will play their semi-final on 18 December, one day after the Copa Libertadores winners—as yet unknown—play their own last-four encounter.
The final is on 21 December.
Monterrey have one game to navigate before they are confirmed as Liverpool’s opponents in the semi-finals; they will play the winners of Match 1, which is contested between Al-Sadd of Qatar and Hienghene Sport of New Caledonia.
That said, if Al-Sadd win their Continental title, it will be the AFC Champions League runners-up who instead face Hienghene Sport.
In either case, the Mexican side should prove too strong for either challenger, assuming they play a full-strength side, though they have started the 19/20 Apertura season in uneven form at best.
Should Liverpool defeat the Mexicans—or a surprise alternative—in the semis, the most predictable outcome is that they face the Libertadores winners in the final, though again there are unknown quantities still at play on that side of the draw.
The Libertadores has reached the semi-final stage and we now know one Brazilian and one Argentinian side will be in the final: Flamengo face Gremio and Boca Juniors play River Plate.
On domestic form, Flamengo and Boca are the current favourites to win their respective last-four ties.
Football Expert & Columnist
Last Updated: 16/09/19 2:47pm1:59 Graeme Souness feels Aymeric Laporte's injury has put Liverpool in the driving seat to win the Premier League ahead of defending champions Manchester City Graeme Souness feels Aymeric Laporte's injury has put Liverpool in the driving seat to win the Premier League ahead of defending champions Manchester City
Liverpool now have the edge over Manchester City in the Premier League title race, according to Graeme Souness.
Jurgen Klopp's side, who have now won five out of five in the league, opened up a five-point gap to defending champions Manchester City over the weekend after Pep Guardiola's side fell to a surprise 3-2 defeat at Carrow Road on Saturday.
The absence of centre-back Aymeric Laporte, who faces up to six months out, has already proven costly with Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones both struggling in the loss to Norwich.0:46 Former Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock says he has concerns over Manchester City's defence following the departure of Vincent Kompany Former Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock says he has concerns over Manchester City's defence following the departure of Vincent Kompany
When asked if Laporte's absence gives Liverpool the edge in the title race, Souness told Sky Sports News: "I think so. With Laporte's injury I thought City would find it difficult against the better teams. With all due respect to Norwich, they did a number on them over the weekend.
"I thought they would get by in most games but against better teams they would find it hard to defend and get caught out.
It's not a big advantage, you have to remember that we are still in September but first blood has gone to Liverpool. They have momentum and no one is asking any questions of them while all eyes are on City."'Liverpool stars willing to point fingers' Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah say they have ended their 'feud'
Souness also feels the competitive performance culture instilled by Klopp at Anfield is bringing the very best out of Liverpool's players.
"They are a team I don't think anyone enjoys playing against because they are aggressive and they test every part of your game with the physicality and technique they all have," he added.
"They play as a team. It's unusual in the modern game but they have players who are willing to point fingers at team-mates if they are not at it. That makes them very, very strong.
"They are the team that no one enjoys playing against, people will say that about City in a different way. You have to be at your very best against them."'Stones has potential to be among the best' Man City defender react as Norwich go 3-1 up at Carrow Road
Laporte's absence should give Stones a chance to have an extended run in Guardiola's starting line-up.
Souness believes the England international has the potential to be among the best defenders in Europe if he can improve his decision making.
"[City] have to hope Stones and Otamendi can form a partnership.
"I think Stones is just missing something, whether it is his decision-making? He has the potential to be the best, better than all of them other than [Virgil] van Dijk.
"He needs to get his decision-making spot on, if he gets that City might have one of the best centre-halves in the country, maybe outside the country."
Graeme Souness was speaking on behalf of the The Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK during the annual Bobby Moore Charity Golf Day. All the proceeds are spent on dedicated bowel cancer research by Cancer Research UK.Soccer Saturday Super 6
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A draw to map out the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup schedule took place in Zurich on Monday.
As UEFA Champions League holders, Liverpool have qualified directly for the competition’s semi-finals and will play their last-four tie on Wednesday December 18.
As it stands, there are still up to four potential opponents for the Reds’ opening match in Qatar.
See the fixture schedule below.
Al Sadd SC or AFC Champions League runners-up v Hienghène Sport (Match 1)
CF Monterrey v Match 1 winners (Match 2)
AFC Champions League winners v ES Tunis (Match 3)
Copa Libertadores winners v Match 3 winners
Match 2 winners v Liverpool
Liverpool have handed a first professional contract to U18 midfielder Jake Cain, who has made a hugely impressive start to the 2019/20 campaign.
One of the key midfield components of last season’s FA Youth Cup triumph, Cain is again a cornerstone of Barry Lewtas’ squad this term at U18 level.
While that squad is much-changed for this year, he—along with Leighton Clarkson—have begun this year showing their quality is well-suited to following the likes of Paul Glatzel and Yasser Larouci in taking a step-up toward the U23s soon.
Cain is also a regular in the U19 UEFA Youth League side, starting all seven of those fixtures last season.
His eye for a pass and creative influence were often felt last term as he racked up 13 assists in his 30 games, as well as scoring three times—a tally he has already matched in front of goal in 19/20 after a superb early run of form.
A recent outing for the U18s against Man United saw Cain serve notice of both his current confidence and his great promise.
The Reds triumphed 4-3 after a back-and-forth game, with Cain providing two assists in that match.
Now his progress has been rightly rewarded and his future is secure at the club—he has been at Liverpool since age nine—and he can focus on improving even further.
Cain is likely to next be in action on Tuesday afternoon, as the young Reds face their Napoli counterparts in the UEFA Youth League, with a 1pm kick-off ahead of the senior side’s fixture against the same Italian opposition.
Check out 30 photos of Liverpool's Monday morning training session with our gallery from Melwood.
Jürgen Klopp and his coaches put the Reds through their paces on Merseyside before their flight to Italy for Tuesday's Champions League group-stage opener against Napoli.
See how the European champions' latest preparations for the clash at Stadio San Paolo unfolded in the photos below...
Photos by Andrew Powell
Liverpool trained at Melwood on Monday morning ahead of their trip to Naples for their first Champions League group stage game and the squad looked in good shape.
Jurgen Klopp held a brief meeting out on the pitch before the Reds got underway with their warmup and some light ball work, which Pepijn Lijnders took the lead with as usual.
Despite winning the Champions League last season, Liverpool’s away performances in the group stage a year ago were somewhat less-than-impressive; they’ll be aiming to improve markedly on that, and in the results attained, this time around.
It’s the hardest game first this year, with Napoli being a regular foe over the last couple of years, so the boss is likely to revert to his strongest team after making a couple of changes at the weekend.
Divock Origi was not in training, having gone off injured against Newcastle—Naby Keita and Alisson are the other first-team absentees—but that means there’s a space in the squad for a young attacker to emerge, quite possibly Rhian Brewster.
More worryingly for the Reds, Andy Robertson was not part of the training squad, with Klopp noting him as having taken a minor knock after the Anfield game on Saturday.
Roberto Firmino will also certainly return, having been instrumental and unstoppable once more after coming off the bench at the weekend.
And, given the goalscoring form of the duo of late and how difficult a game it’s likely to be, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane will complete the attacking lineup, as the Reds look to improve on not scoring or getting a point at the San Paolo last season.
Goalkeepers: Adrian, Kelleher, Lonergan
Defenders: Matip, Van Dijk, Gomez, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van den Berg, Hoever
Midfielders: Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Henderson, Milner, Jones, Lallana
Forwards: Firmino, Salah, Mane, Shaqiri, Brewster, Elliott
Last Updated: 16/09/19 6:48pmSadio Mane comes into the game having scored six goals in five games this season
Team news, key stats and predictions ahead of Napoli vs Liverpool as the Champions League group stages commence.Team news
Divock Origi missed out on Liverpool's 20-man squad which travelled to Italy on Monday following his injury suffered against Newcastle, with Alisson Becker (leg) Naby Keita (groin) and Nathaniel Clyne (knee) also missing with longer-term conditions. The fitness of left-back Andy Robertson will be assessed prior to kick-off.
Arkadiusz Milik looks likely to miss out for Torino, having been absent since suffering a muscle injury in mid-August, but Lorenzo Insigne, who scored against the Reds when the two sides met in pre-season, may be fit after training alone for part of last week.Lorenzo Insigne scored twice against Liverpool when the two sides met in pre-season Opta stats
This will be the fifth meeting between Napoli and Liverpool in European competition, after they met twice in the 2010-11 UEFA Europa League Group Stage and again in two Group Stage games in last season's UEFA Champions League.
Liverpool didn't attempt a single shot on target in their 0-1 UEFA Champions League Group Stage defeat away at Napoli last season. This is the only time in their last 74 games in the competition that they haven't attempted one.
Napoli have won just one of their last six European meetings with English clubs, losing the other five in this run and failing to score in the last three. The only victory in this time was the 1-0 home win over Liverpool on MD2 of the UEFA Champions League 2018/19.0:44 Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti said last week he was shocked to see the state of the dressing rooms at the Stadio San Paolo ahead of Liverpool's Champions League visit Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti said last week he was shocked to see the state of the dressing rooms at the Stadio San Paolo ahead of Liverpool's Champions League visit
Over the last two UEFA Champions League campaigns, Liverpool have scored more goals (65) and won more games (15) than any other side in the competition.
The reigning UEFA Champions League champion have not lost their opening UCL game the following season since AC Milan did so in 1994-95 against Ajax (W14 D10 since).
Liverpool's forward Sadio Mane has scored 14 goals in 24 UEFA Champions League appearances. Should he score in his next appearance in the competition, he'll equal Didier Drogba's record of 25 appearances to score his first 15 goals in the UCL; which is the current quickest to 15 goals by an African player.Charlie Nicholas' prediction
This will be a good test for the Champions League holders. We saw a vulnerable side to their defence at the weekend again, conceding after just seven minutes against Newcastle. They have walked away comfortably and won, but that is not the point.
The difference Roberto Firmino makes is unbelievable. He doesn't get the goals that Mohamed Salah gets or has the pace that Sadio Mane does but he has skill and cunning. He is a real team player and is my favourite out of the three, my favourite to watch, although he may be easier to mark than the other two.
Liverpool have not improved in midfield. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still a fringe player. We know they are a good side but those three have to be on their game to win matches.
Napoli are all-action and very strong at home, but not convincing away from home. Dries Mertens just rocks up and does the job. He gets big goals and I expect him to grab another through the week.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-1 (10/1 with Sky Bet)How to follow with Sky Sports
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Jake Cain has signed his first professional contract with Liverpool FC.
The midfielder, who turned 18 earlier in September, is a member of Barry Lewtas' U18s group and the club's UEFA Youth League squad.
Born in Wigan, he has been at the Liverpool FC Academy since the age of nine and made his U18s debut as an U16 player under Steven Gerrard in 2017-18.
A creative influence with an eye for goal, Cain already has several assists to his name this season as well as finding the net three times himself.
In 2018-19, he played an important role as the Reds lifted the FA Youth Cup after a penalty shootout against Manchester City.
Another win at Anfield for the handsome Reds. Even when going a goal down I doubt any Liverpool fan was particularly concerned, 3 points was always likely to be the result. That’s 5 wins from 5 Premier League games now with a trip to Naples up next in the Champions’ League.
The defence didn’t have a whole lot of defending to do. The Jetro Willems goal could have been avoided in the build-up as an offside trap seemed to go awry. However, there was very little anyone could to about the strike. Trent forced him onto his weaker foot before Willems thundered his shot past Adrian without him even seeing it. As for going forward, the fullbacks produced arguably their best performances of the season. After a difficult first 20 minutes, Robertson started to look like his usual self for the first time in 2019-20. Having Origi in front of him instead of Mane could have been a factor for his slow start to the match, but after the introduction of Firmino and therefore the switch of Sadio Mane to the left, he began to perform at the level we all expect. Similarly, on the other side, Alexander-Arnold looked sensational as he delivered countless tantalising crosses and was an absolute menace to the Newcastle defence for the entirety of the game.
Onto the midfield and that man Fabinho was at it again. Is there anything he can’t do? His legs appear to extend the whole length of the pitch as he incessantly hooks the ball away from the feet of the opposition when it appears impossible for him to reach it. It was also great to see Oxlade-Chamberlain from the start and, while you could tell he hasn’t played a lot of football over the last 18 months or so, the signs were certainly there. A couple of driving runs and great energy proved that there’s a chance he can get back to the level he was at before the injury.
Finally, the front 3. Mane continued his ruthless streak in front of goal with a sublime finish to level the score before getting both his and Liverpool’s second after a great bit of play from Firmino and a mistake from Dubravka. Salah also managed to help himself to a goal after a wonderful 1-2 with Firmino before he slid a composed finish into the far-bottom corner. Firmino however, although he was the only member of the attack not to get a goal, is the winner of this game’s Man of the Match. Klopp chose to rest him for this one after his national team duties in the last couple of weeks but was forced to bring him on after Origi picked up an injury in the first half-an-hour. Although it is unfortunate that Bobby couldn’t get the rest he was going to be afforded, it was simply a delight to see him play. He won’t get credited for the assist for Mane’s second, but the goal was all down to him. He robs the ball off of Christian Atsu in their half before playing the through pass which leads to the Dubravka mistake and eventual goal. He was constantly playing delicate little flicks around the corner to Salah and Mane, and finally his magic turned into an assist. Salah rolls the ball into Bobby on the edge of the box and continues his run before Firmino backheels it into Salah’s path who dribbles into the box and finishes expertly. It was a joy to watch and epitomises the season that Roberto Firmino is having so far. Football fans around the world are now beginning to see what a special player he is, and it is thoroughly deserved.