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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

WATCH: 'Who needs Coutinho?': British media and Gerrard hail Liverpool teenager Alexander-Arnold

18-year-old player wins pseudonym 'Alexander The Great' after his free-kick wins clinches away Champions League win against Hoffenheim.

Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold is naturally pleased after he helped his team beat Hoffenheim. Ralph Orlowski / Reuters
Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold is naturally pleased after he helped his team beat Hoffenheim. Ralph Orlowski / Reuters

Trent Alexander-Arnold's stunning free-kick for Liverpool in their 2-1 Uefa Champions League win over Hoffenheim had the British media purring 'Who needs Coutinho?' in reference to the wantaway Brazilian star.

The 18-year-old player's opening goal for Liverpool in the tie in Germany - setting them up nicely for next week's home leg - incited the Daily Mail to headline their report "Alexander The Great".

Klopp pleased as punch

Alexander-Arnold called it a "thing of dreams" to score on his European debut for his "boyhood club" and was lavishly praised by club hero Steven Gerrard.

But had Barcelona target Philippe Coutinho been fit, Alexander-Arnold probably would not even have taken the free-kick.

Watch Alexander-Arnold's goal

Gerrard, who coaches the Liverpool Under 18 side, said the former club mascot - another Liverpool hero Jamie Carragher tweeted a photo of him and Alexander-Arnold in the tunnel before a League Cup match in 2009 - could threaten England international Nathan Clyne's first choice spot at fullback this season.

"It was a fabulous free-kick and it's ironic really because Coutinho might have taken it if he was available," Gerrard said. "He has played superbly in general play but to have the character to take that before the likes of [Jordan] Henderson and [Sadio] Mane says a lot.

"I know this kid very well, he's going to be a top, top player and Nathaniel Clyne has to be very, very careful this season because he is already breathing down his neck."

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Former Republic of Ireland striking great Tony Cascarino, now a respected pundit for The Times, praised the youngster for his boldness in stepping up to take the freekick, which reflected "the respect that his team-mates have for him".

Cascarino added that defensively it was hard to judge him -- though his "electric pace" is eye-catching -- and whilst he was at fault for the late Hoffenheim goal, he would learn from it.

Also read: Liverpool tell Barca 'no offers will be considered' for Coutinho

"Overall he's very athletic, though he needs to fill out a little, but that will come," Cascarino wrote.

"In terms of defending it's pretty hard to judge him in this Liverpool team because the full backs are often so exposed.

"The late Hoffenheim goal was the only time he put a foot wrong... but that's why he plays these big games, to learn and get the mistakes out of his system."

Try translating that!