Trent Alexander-Arnold's defending in the spotlight after lapse in Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid

· Sports

It was a cruel night for Trent Alexander-Arnold as Liverpool's brilliant creative full-back paid for one defensive lapse in the Champions League final that saw Real Madrid emerge as champions again. The questions about his characteristics as a player will continue...

rent Alexander-Arnold knew that the spotlight was on him. He knew that this game was different and he knew that his duel with Vinicius Junior was being described as the key to the game. He will know too that it was a duel that he lost.

That verdict may seem harsh, but it is the inevitable conclusion after a Champions League final decided by one goal, one moment. When the story of Real Madrid's victory is told, when the video plays, it will show Vinicius ghosting in beyond a static defender.

It had always looked likely that this match-up would be defining. Alexander-Arnold, even from that nominal right-back position, is Liverpool's most potent creative force, the catalyst for those attacks. He is part of the back four, but he is a playmaker, primarily.

Even before the stunning denouement, Vinicius had enjoyed the season of his career so far, creating more chances and completing more dribbles than any player in the Champions League. Getting the ball to him would be crucial for Carlo Ancelotti's side.

There were signs that Alexander-Arnold was being targeted. Toni Kroos looked for that pass over his head on a regular basis, just as he did to good effect when Liverpool were eliminated from this competition at the quarter-final stage last season.

Karim Benzema drifted out to that flank, trying to create an overload to help fashion the opening for Vinicius. Alexander-Arnold would have been aware of it - the questions about how he would cope with the Brazilian winger came at the pre-match press conference.    

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