(Reuters) – Few things have fazed Liverpool’s defensive tyro Trent Alexander-Arnold this season so it is no surprise that he is taking the prospect of keeping Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo under wraps in the Champions League final firmly in his stride.
The 19-year-old has been one of the most compelling stories of Liverpool’s thrilling run to the final, having greeted every challenge with a nerveless calm since marking his Champions League debut with a goal in their qualifying round tie against Hoffenheim in August.
Whether it was his man-of-the-match performance in their 3-0 victory over Manchester City in the quarter-final, first leg at Anfield or his unflappable demeanour as they ousted AS Roma in the semis, Alexander-Arnold has risen to every occasion.
Should he start against Madrid on Saturday he would become the youngest player in the club’s history to appear in a European final. It is not a stat that is likely to instil fear in Liverpool’s young right back and nor is the prospect of facing five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo.
“He’s one of the best players ever. He’s done unbelievable things in the game, but he’s got weaknesses as well, as every player has,” Liverpool’s academy graduate told reporters. “On Saturday we’ll try to exploit them and stop him from doing what he does best.”
The defender said he would be watching videos of Ronaldo ahead of the final to learn more about where those weaknesses lie, but he would not be looking to copy other players who had kept the competition’s top scorer quiet.
“I’m different to everyone else,” he said. “Everyone is different as a player, the only person I need to look at is him (Ronaldo). To be able to know what he does and when he does it. To be able to know what he’s going to do is the difficult thing.”