Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold has admitted he wants to stand up and prove himself as a leader in the absence of centre-back Virgil van Dijk.
The towering Dutchman, who has been an integral part of Liverpool's defence ever since his arrival, is expected to miss the majority of the current campaign while he recovers from a knee injury, in what is seen as a major test to the Reds' credentials.
Liverpool, who have also been without Fabinho and Joel Matip of late, have been through a number of different defensive partnerships already this season, with inexperienced duo Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips having been given the chance to impress.
Alexander-Arnold has revealed that he believes he needs to lead by example.
“Missing Virgil, he is obviously a massive player for us, and it has been probably one of the weirdest tests that we have had because since he came in I don’t think he has really missed any minutes of football," he said (via The Telegraph). "For him to not be with us is something we haven’t really experienced. It is a new experience.
"It's something I have thought about myself — showing more leadership and stepping up. “I think I've made enough appearances now and had enough experience to not class myself as a young player any more. When you miss such a leader, and probably the captain of the back-four really in Virgil, then it gives the rest of the back-four an opportunity.
“It would be difficult to say me or Robbo or Joe could step in and do exactly what Virgil does, because we are not the same type of player and it's not easy to do something like that.
"But I think if the players who are really consistently in the back line can step forward and come together and make sure Virgil's presence isn't missed as much as possible, then I think that puts us in a good place. So far we have been able to do that.”
Liverpool have won all four games without Van Dijk, conceding just twice in that time, and Alexander-Arnold went on to suggest that the team's good run of form largely stems from a desire to bounce back from the humiliating 7-2 loss at the hands of Aston Villa in early October.
"To concede seven goals is unacceptable but it is about learning from these things. It kind of humbled us as a team and it let us know that we can't just win games because we are Liverpool with the history of the club and the players we've got, it is about mentality and the work we put in.
“Since then we have been really able to focus on that and looking back on the last two years especially, it is our mentality that has got us to where we are now. That has enabled us to come back from any position, to break through walls and kick down doors in that respect. Since that game we have been able to get back into that stride.”
Source : 90min