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'He's like Hazard' - Alexander-Arnold expecting tough test against Napoli's Insigne

goal.com, 16 September 2019, 20:30
The Reds return to European action on Tuesday and their young right-back singled out the tricky Italian as one to watch

Trent Alexander-Arnold admits he is wary of the threat posed by Lorenzo Insigne as Liverpool and Napoli prepare to face off in the Champions League.

The Reds get their European Cup defence underway on Tuesday night as they take on the Serie A runners-up at Stadio San Paolo.

The sides met in Naples last October, with the home side winning 1-0 thanks to Insigne’s last-minute strike.

The Italy international is set to be key once more for Carlo Ancelotti’s side, and caused Alexander-Arnold serious problems when the teams played out a pre-season friendly in Edinburgh back in July. Napoli won 3-0 that day, with Insigne on the scoresheet once more.

Unsurprisingly, then, the Liverpool right-back is expecting a tough test again on Tuesday.

“Obviously he's a really good player,” Alexander-Arnold said. “He's someone who really helps them play football, understands the way that they want to play, really encourages the team to play out. They are able to hit [it to] him and he'll be able to hold the ball up.

“He's a really tricky player, really strong, fast, quite agile. He's kind of like Eden Hazard I'd say, that type of player who is tricky to get hold of and mark. Coming up against him is always a tough test but they're the things that you expect in the Champions League.

“He's a great player, probably a little bit underrated in terms of the respect and the plaudits that he gets. But he's a real fantastic player. I think his team-mates will say the same and the people that come up against him will say how tricky he is to actually nullify.

“He's a good player, they've got many a good player and we need to be ready for that.”

Alexander-Arnold admits that Liverpool have something to prove having lifted the Champions League trophy last season. The 20-year-old knows sides will be out to take the scalp of the holders, and says Jurgen Klopp’s team have to be ready to deal with that.

“A lot of the players that we have are world class players,” he said. “They know what it takes to win things, what it takes to be successful, so I'm pretty sure we'll be able to embrace that as a team.

“I think we have so far this season in the league. We obviously know that last season we did so well so this season we're up there again. A lot of teams will want to come to Anfield, beat us, play different ways and we know that's going to be the test for us. But we need to be ready for all types of tests.”

He added: “We know that being able to keep clean sheets and being able to win games away from home are massively important - especially in the Champions League when you've probably only got one or two chances to beat teams and get results.

“You're playing Europe's elite, you're going to get fewer chances than you do in the Premier League so it's about maximising those chances and minimalising the opposition.”

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