Trent Alexander-Arnold dreaming of Premier League trophy ahead of Liverpool's return to action
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Last Updated: 21/06/20 9:43pm
"I've thought about it a lot!"
Trent Alexander-Arnold makes no effort to hide his excitement. Sky Sports' Laura Woods has just asked him if he allowed himself to dream of the Premier League trophy during lockdown - and the Liverpool full-back says he cannot wait for him and his team-mates to clinch the title.
"I'm not afraid to say it. Whether we're in the position we're in now or [the position we] were last season or whenever, I think about it all the time because it's something that motivates me."
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The three-month suspension of football has made for a long wait for this Liverpool team to pick up the remaining two wins they need to finally get over the line. But that is nothing compared to the 30 years it has been since the club were last in this position to become English champions.
Alexander-Arnold may only be 21 but the Liverpool-born full-back knows all about the agony of that wait - and what a special moment it will be for everyone attached to the club when the title eventually comes.
"We know we're so close to something special," he says in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports. "A lot of people have been talking about it. We've tried to ignore it and focus on what we need to do - and obviously that's win two games.
"It's been a long wait. I think everyone can agree with that. But hopefully it'll be worth the wait."
The celebrations may not be quite how he envisaged - "Maybe the big celebrations will be on pause for a little while, but I'm sure me and my family will celebrate it in a small way" - but Liverpool will not be denied their reward for what has been an incredible, record-breaking campaign.
They could take the first of those two steps to the title when they travel to Goodison Park on Sunday evening for a Merseyside derby with Everton, live on Sky Sports. And Alexander-Arnold says, as well as getting the points required, Liverpool also want to remind everyone just how good they have been.
"Every player will say we're just so excited to get going and keep doing the things we were doing," says Alexander-Arnold. "We were on a good path. We had a few little slip-ups before the suspension but overall you can't complain about the season we've had.
"Over the last two years it's been phenomenal, the form we've shown. For us it's about getting back to those ways.
"We want to show how good a team we are, as well. We know the world is going to be watching, everyone around the world is going to be tuning in to watch these games and that excites us because we're a team that want to be seen and we want to be watched."
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To do that, Liverpool will have to cope with the shift from playing in full stadiums to empty ones, with the remainder of the Premier League season set to play out behind closed doors.
The players will certainly feel the absence of supporters at Goodison Park, where the atmosphere is usually one of the best in the country, especially for a Merseyside derby. But Alexander-Arnold is confident Liverpool's preparations - including training and matches inside an empty Anfield - will put them in a good position to hit the ground running.
"It's going to be different for both teams so in that sense it is going to be about who adapts quickest and who is better adapted to those situations," said Alexander-Arnold. "That's something we've been working on in training in different circumstances. We have had to train ourselves in those conditions.
"Hopefully when it comes on Sunday we'll be well prepared. Their manager is known throughout Europe as an unbelievable tactician. I'm sure he'll be setting his team up to counter what we do and to try to enhance what they do well. We know we have our strengths and weaknesses, and so do they, but it's about our game plan and focusing on ourselves. We know we're in a good position to go there and hopefully win."
'I look up to Sterling'
The return of Premier League football has been exciting for all followers of the game but players have also been involved in wider, more important issues.
Alexander-Arnold says the Black Lives Matter movement should spark change in football as well as wider society, while he says England team-mate Raheem Sterling is an inspiration for young players.
"For most clubs and for English football in general, to be seeing managers and people in power of colour it's a positive and it shows there's development, but there's still room for more," he said.
[Sterling] is making change, he's making a difference, so for me he's someone I look up to in that respect.
"Hopefully it's giving more opportunities, that's the main thing. That's where the change needs to happen: it's not enough to see one or two in those positions we want more coaches, managers, CEOs, directors just to be given the opportunity to do what they want to do.
"Raheem is massive. He's a role model on and off the pitch for a lot of young people. I think the things he stands for and his beliefs are something that he's passionate about and you can see that with the way he pushes it through his platforms and speaks about it with a passion.
"He is someone that a lot of people look up to and he's making change, he's making a difference, so for me he's someone I look up to in that respect. I want to be using my platform to be pushing my beliefs in the same way as he does in a positive way and affect as much change as possible.
"I'm sure the younger generation are able to use him as a role model, someone to look up to and follow and look to him to see what's right and wrong in the world."
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Rashford a role model, too
Meanwhile, another England team-mate, Manchester United's Marcus Rashford, has been making a change by raising money and affecting government policy on free school meals for children. And Alexander-Arnold is full of praise for his international colleague and club rival.
"We have to admire the things Marcus has done over the course of the lockdown, what a player and what a person he's shown to be. It's fantastic what he's done and to do that for so many young people - and affect the lives of so many young people - is fantastic.
"It's not just Manchester based, it's around the north west and there's people in Liverpool, Burnley, Preston, all these regions that are benefiting from him and the things he's pushed.
"He's a role model to be showing young people that when you believe in something you can affect so much change is amazing. He should be proud of himself."