Wednesday 11 December 2019, 10:00

Mane, Alexander-Arnold prepare to take on the world

  • Sadio Mane is one of the planet's most in-form forwards right now

  • Trent Alexander-Arnold arguably the most exciting young full-back in the world

  • Duo head to the Club World Cup seeking to clinch new silverware for Liverpool

Crowned European champions in June and unbeaten in the league for over 11 months, Jurgen Klopp’s side will arrive in Qatar for the FIFA Club World Cup purring like a well-oiled machine. And one of its greatest assets is the vast array of highly-functioning components.

While Sadio Mane has continued to show his prowess as one of the world's top forwards, Trent Alexander-Arnold has risen to the upper reaches of the global full-back ranks, with both wowing the Anfield regulars. And they're just two of a long list of star performers.

Since the 2019/20 season kicked off, they have been involved in 26 goals between them, fuelling the Reds’ lengthy strides to runaway leaders in England. sat down with the wing wizards ahead of them setting on their quest for a first global title. You’re heading to the Club World Cup, so do you think Liverpool are playing some of the best football on the planet right now?

Sadio Mane: Wow, I think this is a compliment from you, but we’re trying to do what we can.

Trent Alexander-Arnold: We feel as though we are a world class side, that’s what we want to be and that’s one of our aims – to be world class. We are playing really good football at the minute and we want to keep that up and make sure that we keep our standards really high and keep playing the football that we are now.

Mane: By the way, I think the most important thing is for us to win the game. Though I’d always prefer to play well, I’d rather play bad if it meant we won the game for sure.

What would you say Liverpool are the best at in the world right now? And why?

TAA: I’d probably say the intensity in our game. I’d say not many teams in the world can match us. The intensity that we put in, the numbers and the amount of running we do during games – not many teams can match that.

Mane: I think the pressing and the counter-pressing. We always do it at the training ground and we’re good at it. It’s one of the keys to our success.

How are you feeling about taking on some of the best sides from across the globe? Do you expect this to pose a different challenge to what you normally face in the UEFA Champions League?

Mane: Football is always a challenge. As well it’s going to be an experience for us, which is going to serve the season. Playing against different cultures and different styles of football always helps in your career, but at the same time we’re going there to do everything possible to win every game. That won’t be easy, we know that, but it’s always a challenge.

TAA: New challenges are always the ones that bring out the best in you if you apply yourself. Obviously, we play international football, we know the different cultures, we know that when you go around the world you’re going to come up against different types of sides. We understand what it’s going to be about, we understand that it’s going to a difficult competition to win but we travel over there with all intentions to win it.

Mane: I think all of those teams are very good, for sure, and that’s why they won the Champions League in different continents and it’s always exciting to play against the best team in the world all the time. We know they’re going to be really tough games, but like I said, we expect this kind of game. We’ll take on the challenge positively and try to beat them.

There are not many things Liverpool haven’t achieved in their history but winning the Club World Cup is one of them. Doing something completely new at Liverpool would be a rare accomplishment.

TAA: There’s not much room for us to do anything else what with the successful teams we’ve had in the past and the history of the club. It’s so great that for us now it’s about us adding on to that history and obviously now we’ve got an opportunity to write our own little bit in that long line of historical teams to play for Liverpool. We know that’ll add more pressure, but we know that it’s a massive opportunity for us.

Mane: That will be massive and really, really big for us personally as players, the club and the fans, which is a great thing for everyone, and we’re looking forward to it.