Teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold’s first-team experience helped the defender grow up, according to Liverpool Under-23s coach Mike Garrity.
The 19-year-old was given his senior debut by Jurgen Klopp in the EFL Cup victory over Tottenham in October and he has gone on to make eight further appearances, the latest as a substitute in the win over Arsenal earlier this month.
He will have difficulty displacing Nathaniel Clyne at right-back but his potential suggests there will come a time when he will be pushing the England international.
Alexander-Arnold, who joined the club’s academy aged six, put in a man-of-the-match display in the under-23s’ 2-0 win over Chelsea on Monday night in front of the watching Klopp, winning a penalty for their opening goal and confidently stroking in a second-half free-kick.
“He was a constant threat and he also defended well when he had to as well,” said Garrity.
“He is in a really good place in his development and we are really pleased with how he has done.”
That development has no doubt been advanced by exposure to the first-team environment, training at Melwood and being in the match-day squad.
“I would say it gave him a massive lift, a big surge of confidence,” added Garrity.
“It has made him grow up and mature as a footballer being around experienced first-team players every day, which is what he probably needed and he has taken to it like a duck to water. He has done really well.”
Alexander-Arnold managed to outshine a number of more experienced team-mates at Tranmere’s Prenton Park, which saw centre-back Dejan Lovren launch his bid to be included in Sunday’s top-four clash at Manchester City.
The Croatia international has missed the last five matches with injury but enjoyed an untroubled return to the pitch to give himself every chance of being picked at the Etihad Stadium.
“I think he could’ve completed the full game if he wanted to but we were happy for him to get to 75 minutes and he was happy with that,” added Garrity, who only discovered on the morning of the match Lovren would be playing for his side.
“He looked strong and his authority and experience was really good for the boys.
“He wants to get back in the frame and put himself in front of the manager and he showed that.
“I knew he (Klopp) was coming and I told the lads that.
“Whenever the manager is here it is a time for them to shine and show what they are capable of and a number of them did that and didn’t do themselves any harm at all.”