‘It burns’ – Alexander-Arnold couldn’t watch Man Utd lift the EFL Cup trophy

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold couldn’t bear to see Manchester United lift the EFL Cup trophy last weekend as it ‘burns’ to see them savor the success.

United won their first title in almost six years a week ago, beating Newcastle United 2-0 at Wembley to cap Erik ten Hag’s encouraging start in life at Old Trafford.

Their triumph officially ended Liverpool’s reign in the competition. It was another highlight in a largely positive season for United and came just three days after Barcelona were eliminated from the Europa League.

Liverpool looked on as they pulled away amid a challenging and turbulent season and Alexander-Arnold had to look the other way when it came to United getting their hands on the trophy.

“I watched the game but as soon as they got ready for the cup lift I tuned out,” he told The Telegraph ahead of Sunday’s Anfield clash with bitter rivals United.

“I thought, ‘No way am I looking at this’. Knowing that they lifted that trophy, it burns. Oh yeah, it definitely burns.”

But apart from his dislike for United, their triumph helped him see there can be light at the end of the tunnel, as Alexander-Arnold was convinced Liverpool’s troubles this season were only temporary.

“It shows you how football is changing very quickly,” he added.

“Look at Arsenal. At the end of last season everyone was talking about not making the top four. All of a sudden they are leading the title race. Football-wise these changes really happen overnight.

“It’s the same with Manchester United if you look at the difference from last year. Even at the beginning of this season when they lost to Brentford. How many people said, ‘Here we go again?’

“Now they fly. It’s happening, so I won’t allow myself to consume myself with what just happened to us because I know it will change in a few months, maybe even weeks. I’m determined to stay level-headed and balanced about what happened.”

Still, it doesn’t change the reality of how disappointing Liverpool have been this season.

They are six points off the top four, eliminated from the FA Cup and trailing Real Madrid 5-2 in the Champions League round of 16 ahead of their second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.

It is unthinkable for Alexander-Arnold not to make the top four and he accepts that only divine intervention will help them lift a trophy before the end of the season.

“If you had asked us at the beginning of this season what we were expecting in March, it would have been that we were approaching the pinnacle of the title race,” he continued.

“That’s the best feeling in football, going into every game and knowing you have to win and most likely watching Manchester City games and thinking if they lose or lose two points we’re going to tumble.

“Now it’s going to be difficult to win a trophy this season. It looks impossible. We’re going to need a miracle. So there’s a different kind of motivation and it’s difficult to adapt.

“We drew a line and know that the top 4 is everything now. I can’t imagine not being in the Champions League. That motivates us all.

“As a club, we have to play Champions League football. We didn’t take it easy for ourselves, but given the level and quality of our players, we expect it.”

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