MANCHESTER, England — Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold says Manchester City targeting him in both legs of their Champions League quarterfinal spurred him on to deliver even more.
Alexander-Arnold was part of the back four that restricted City, soon-to-be Premier League champions, to just one goal and three shots on target over 180 minutes as Liverpool reached the semifinals with a 5-1 victory on aggregate.
After Alexander-Arnold struggled in recent matches with Manchester United and Crystal Palace, City also pinpointed the 19-year-old as the area to exploit during the quarterfinal tie.
However, Alexander-Arnold was named man of the match in the first leg last week for containing Leroy Sane before he maturely overcame a first-half yellow card in the return fixture on Tuesday.
“I guess Man City looked at it and [felt] I’m the weak link,” Alexander-Arnold said. “Maybe that gave me that underdog mentality and [I] tried to prove them wrong.
“That’s what I went out to try [to] do — to go and prove them wrong and show them I’m not the weak link in the team.
“I think over the two legs I tried my best and done my best to win my personal battles and help us win the tie.
“You look forward to playing these type of games, these of opponents and testing yourself when you can.
“I got the opportunity to do that over the two legs and I tried to do the right things. Hopefully I came out on top and I hope everyone sees it that way as well.
“It was a bigger, harder test. I had to play to a better level than I’ve probably ever played before. It tested me to a new level.
“In that sense it has taken me to a new level and personal views in my performances, knowing that I’ve got that in myself now.
“That’s the level I need to require of myself to keep them standards really high and hopefully be able to play in these European elite games and come out on top in them.”
The wins over City see Liverpool in the semifinals of the Champions League for the first time since 2007-08.
Alexander-Arnold insisted Liverpool fear no team remaining in the competition, having just beaten City for the third time this season.
“Throughout the whole tournament there hasn’t been a team who strike fear in us,” Alexander-Arnold said. “We’ve looked at it from the start that we’re in it to win it.
“As it goes on, you get closer and closer to getting that chance to win it. We’ve took another step closer to the final and there’s still two more games ahead of us.
“Whoever we draw on Friday, we’ll look forward to the game and hopefully get to the final.”
Meanwhile, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain admitted reaching the semifinals of the Champions League is a longtime dream of his.
The midfielder never reached that stage of the tournament during his time at Arsenal, having only got as far as the round of 16.
“It is massive,” Oxlade-Chamberlain said. “It is everything you dream of when you are a young lad.”
Ahead of Friday’s draw in Nyon, Switzerland, Oxlade-Chamberlain insisted Roma are not Liverpool’s preferred pairing after they managed to overcome a 4-1 deficit on Tuesday to eliminate Barcelona.
“I don’t really mind [who we draw], it’s going to be tough whoever you play,” he said. “People might say [the preferred draw] is Roma but look what they did, they performed amazingly well and look a great side.
“It doesn’t matter who we get now, we have to make sure we are ready for anyone and we can beat anyone.”