No doubting Liverpool are a real force now, insists Trent Alexander-Arnold
Trent Alexander-Arnold believes that Liverpool's ability to emerge from a gruelling week with three wins out of three demonstrates that they are "a force to be reckoned with" as they chase their first league title since 1990.
After beating Burnley at home and winning at Bayern Munich in the Champions League, Liverpool returned to the top of the Premier League by beating Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage on Sunday afternoon.
James Milner's late penalty sealed the points after Ryan Babel's 74th-minute equaliser threatened to hold Liverpool to a debilitating draw.
Though most would have expected the Reds to triumph against one of the division's worst sides, it was the manner of the victory - grinding out the win amid the pressure of knowing that their title challenge was on the line - that Alexander-Arnold found most pleasing of all.
"These are the ones that go unnoticed during the season," the England right-back said. "But they're vitally important for us. I think we'll probably look back at the end of the season, whatever the outcome may be, and think that this game was important.
"The full week was tough. The goals we've conceded at home to Burnley (in a 4-2 win), it was tough going to Bayern, and then conceding a late equaliser here was tough.
"Mentally we've been put through a lot of tests this week. Maybe a few years ago we might have won only one of those games. Maybe a few years ago we wouldn't have got the three points after conceding. But we've showed how good a team we're becoming. We're a force to be reckoned with."
If Liverpool have occasionally been guilty of a certain brittleness in the past, Alexander-Arnold said that this was a changed side under Jurgen Klopp.
"It all comes from the manager," he said. "Everything we do comes from the manager. We try to play in the way he wants us to play, do the things that he wants us to do, so it's important for us to think the way he wants us to think as well."
He insisted that despite the closeness of the title race, there would be no sly sideways looks cast at Manchester City.
"I'm not even sure when their game in hand is," he admitted. "Or what the situation with the table is. It's important for us to just focus on ourselves. It's a bit cliched, but that's the main thing. Just try and be the best that we can be. And hopefully at the end of the season, we'll come away with some silverware."
This is the first time since 2009 that Liverpool have gone into the spring with genuine chances in both the Premier League and the Champions League. It's their first real tilt at the title since Brendan Rodgers' side fell short five years ago, and for all the tension and tightness to come, Alexander-Arnold maintained that it was still important to enjoy the experience.
"It's nice to be involved in a title race," he said. "You don't get to say that many times in your career. I was a fan during the 2013-14 season, when we came so close. It's massive.
"It's about trying to embrace it, soak it all up. It's important for us to come back fit from the internationals, and then put our all into the final games."
Meanwhile, Andy Robertson feels Liverpool head into the international break on the back of "a massive week" as they remain in the hunt for a Champions League and Premier League double.
"It gets to this point in the season where people are fighting for their lives from relegation, and that's so tough," Robertson admitted.
"People are fighting for European spots and positions and trying to get in the top 10 and stuff.
"It's very rare that teams aren't playing for anything at this time of the season, so people start fighting and giving it their all. Luckily we had enough in the tank.
"(It was) a massive week for us. Beating Burnley at home was difficult, they are in a similar position to Fulham, and we fell behind there.
"Bayern speaks for itself, and then it was all about trying to get our legs ready and go again and go into the international break top of the league, and we have done that."