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What would Trent Alexander-Arnold know about winning a Treble?



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What would Trent Alexander-Arnold know about winning a treble? That’s the question both Erling Haaland and Ruben Dias have asked in the build-up to Manchester City’s clash against Liverpool this week. The answer, well… he wouldn’t. 

Liverpool’s right-back-turned-midfielder had plenty to say about the Blues ahead of Sunday’s crunch Premier League meeting. In an interview with FourFourTwo, Alexander-Arnold hinted that success under Jurgen Klopp has ‘meant more’ to Liverpool supporters, because of how it was achieved.

“Looking back on this era,” the England international said. “Although they’ve won more titles than us and have probably been more successful, our trophies will mean more to us and our fanbase because of the situations at both clubs, financially. 

“How both clubs have built their teams and the manner in which we’ve done it probably means more to our fans.”

In one sense, Trent is right. Manchester City have been more successful than Liverpool. Although, there’s no ‘probably’ about it.

Since Pep Guardiola joined City back in 2016, the Catalan coach has lifted 16 major honours. In that same time, his adversary Jurgen Klopp has managed eight. City have definitely been more successful. 

But probably the weirdest part of those comments from Alexander-Arnold addressed how much each team’s success has meant to their respective fans. As if it is in any way measurable or even comparable?

There are City fans still alive who watched the club in its first ‘Golden Era’ of the 1960s and 1970s, when the then-Maine Road outfit were winning league titles, lifting FA Cups and facing the likes of Borussia Mönchengladbach, AC Milan and Juventus in European competition. 

Those supporters – along with the many others picked up along the way – watched the very same club slide into footballing oblivion during the 1990s, culminating in a first-ever relegation to the third tier of English football in 1998. 

If it wasn’t for the heroics of Paul Dickov, Nicky Weaver and Co. in the 1999 Division Two play–off final against Gillingham, there’s every chance Alexander-Arnold wouldn’t ever have played against Manchester City. In fact, there’s every chance there wouldn’t have even been a Manchester City. 

It’s something that needs to be considered when discussing the value of success to each fanbase. From an on-field perspective, City supporters have suffered infinitely more than Liverpool. Hence the backlash towards Alexander-Arnold’s self-righteous comments. 

Above everything else though, there’s a sense of foolishness about the remarks. Just days before Liverpool’s (and City’s) biggest Premier League game of the season, why would Alexander-Arnold deem it a good idea to hand the City squad any added motivation?

Of course, it could work in Liverpool’s favour, and Klopp’s men might edge the contest at Anfield this weekend, while positioning themselves as favourites for the title. But going off the reaction of the City players so far, all it’s done is light a fire underneath them. 

Haaland was the first to issue a response, telling Sky Sports: “I’ve been here one year and I won the treble… I don’t think he knows exactly this feeling.”

Quickly followed by Dias, who said: “I think it’s pretty certain between us, between our fans, how much it meant for all of us… a treble is a feeling that you only know how it feels when you actually do it (via BBC Sport).”

In a way, it has set things up nicely for Sunday. City vs Liverpool has been the standout meeting across European football across the last decade – the El Clásico of its time. It’s a fixture that needs no introduction. 

And while Sunday’s clash might represent the last instalment of Pep vs Klopp in the Premier League, Trent’s clumsy comments have at least ensured the needle between City and Liverpool will live on well beyond the two manager’s departures.