GLEN JOHNSON: In this week’s blog… why Trent Alexander-Arnold has the world at his feet and whilst it could get tough at the top next season – Liverpool remain in pole position.
Liverpool very much the team to beat
There’s no doubt that Liverpool are the team that everyone else has to beat now. They’ve been so dominant over the last couple of seasons both domestically and in Europe and they are beginning to create something pretty special at Anfield. I think it’s pretty safe to say that the title won’t be won next year by the massive margin that it’s been won by this season because Liverpool’s rivals are all going to strengthen. I actually think the gap that will increase will be the one between the top four and the rest of the table.
Manchester United and Chelsea will improve, Manchester City will always be there and Liverpool aren’t going to go away, so I think those four could easily pull away next season, although everyone’s main job will be to close the gap on Jurgen Klopp’s side. It wasn’t that long ago when there were four teams who dominated the division and I can see that happening again. Arsenal have got a long way to go and Tottenham seem a fair way off too so I think those four sides I mentioned could easily distance themselves from the rest.
Klopp’s side my pick to retain the title
Given how far ahead they’ve been this season, I think it would take a brave man to bet against Liverpool retaining the title. City are still probably the best side going forward, but they are nowhere near the Reds defensively. Pep Guardiola’s side are the most impressive team in that they can blow sides away regularly, but Liverpool have shown over the past couple of season their consistency, and barring the last month or so, they’ve virtually made no mistakes which is incredibly impressive. I just think those small errors build up over a season and that’s why I’d expect Liverpool to retain the title.
Make no mistake, winning the league back-to-back is no easy task. To maintain that level of consistency takes so much out of players both physically and mentally and the fact that you’re the ones being hunted is also very draining. It takes immense levels of concentration to retain the title and although I don’t think anyone would be surprised if City won it next season, I just don’t see anyone getting to Liverpool’s level. The way the club is going from the ground up, they are going to keep improving and that’s going to be very tough for other teams to live with.
Alexander-Arnold going right to the top
We shouldn’t get too carried away given he’s still only 21 years old, but from what I’ve seen so far, Trent Alexander-Arnold really does look to have the world at his feet. Of course, playing in a top team with world-class players helps him, but he certainly needs to improve defensively. That will come though and there are so many areas of his game that are far ahead of where they should be, so the future looks very bright. The boy is an unbelievable footballer who is technically one of the best I’ve ever seen for someone so young and inexperienced. He’s still got plenty to learn and there will be times when he can’t be as expansive as he usually is, but If he keeps progressing then he really could be one of the world’s best in a few years.
He’s in a very similar position to what I was in at Chelsea in that he’s won the Premier League at an early age. He’ll be on cloud nine and rightly so and if there was one bit of advice I’d give him it would be just to not get complacent. He’s got 10 or more years to show what he’s about on the world stage and instead of accepting what he’s done so far, he needs to keep improving and learning because by doing that we’ll be talking about him for years to come. He’s a very special talent and Liverpool look to have a real gem on their hands.
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