Trent Alexander-Arnold how I train
© Greg Coleman / Red Bull Content Pool
Soccer (Football)

How I train: Trent Alexander-Arnold

From bossing free kicks to navigating the all-seeing eye of Jürgen Klopp, the Liverpool superstar explains how he gets the best out of himself on and off the practice pitch.
Written by Joe Ellison
6 min readPublished on
Trent Alexander-Arnold isn’t your typical Premier League footballer. Not by a long shot (or a 50-yard diagonal pass, for that matter).
Thanks to a combination of natural skill, steely determination, and world-class vision, Trent continues to redefine what a modern wing-back is, all the while making history in the process.
During Liverpool’s spectacular run to the 2019/20 league title, Trent broke the Premier League record for the most assists by a defender in a single season (13), which would have been mind-blowing enough if not for the fact that he was actually breaking his own record he’d set the season previous.
Then there’s the preposterous amount of silverware that he’s won, including a Champions League, Premier League, Ballon d’Or nomination, and PFA Young Player of the Year Award. That the 24-year-old has managed to do it all with his boyhood club makes him even more of a rarity.
But just how did a local lad who grew up idolising Steven Gerrard become a Kop idol in his own right? What mentality did it take to go from the youth teams right to the top, and more importantly, what work does it require to stay there?
Here, he reveals what goes on behind the scenes…
Red Bull Trent Alexander-Arnold training drills at Liverpool

Trent spends over five hours at day at the training centre

© Greg Coleman / Red Bull Content Pool

How often do you train, and what does a normal training day look like?

We train when we play. So, if we’re playing at 4.30pm the following day, we’ll train at 4.30pm, which means we’re in for 2.30pm and leaving at 7pm. We’re usually at the training centre for five and half hours in all. Training gradually increases during the week but the day before the game it will be tactical, almost static, getting information into us rather than doing anything strenuous. I might even go to the physio to get a pre-training rub, especially if I’ve had quite a strenuous week. When playing two or three times a week you’re either playing or recovering.

Do you have a trainer who puts your schedule together?

[Assistant coach] Pep Lijnders will set out our training sessions and explain them to us, but the manager overlooks it. He’s always out there, watching us, and he will say what needs to be said. His man-management is mentality-based, just knowing what to say to get you in the zone. It’s different for every player. He might not say much to you but when he says it you listen, and you know what he’s saying is honest and is something you need to learn from.

Do you warm up before hitting the pitch?

I’ll spend 40 minutes in the gym before hitting the pitch. This won’t be with weights, it's more activation work; stretching, getting everything fired up, ensuring I feel right and making sure my ankles and joints are loose before I put my boots on and go to train outside for an hour and a half. I also do yoga and lots of stretching at home. It’s a 24/7 job these days, so if you can recover better or sleep better, there’s so much in addition to [the work in] the training centre that you can do.

What about rest days? How many do you need?

Red Bull athlete and footballer Trent Alexander-Arnold

Trent swears by one rest day a week to aid recovery

© Greg Coleman / Red Bull Content Pool

Competition has brought the best out of me, so that’s the way I need to train. If it’s not competitive, then I find it hard to motivate myself
We have around one rest day a week, but I think three per month is fine. The more games the better for me – I enjoy them. It gets intense and it’s strenuous but it’s the best way. We have underwater treadmills, a pool, a hot and cold jacuzzi, and an ice bath, which all help to aid recovery. Some players might spend 10 minutes in an ice bath, others may only need three minutes, or even one minute in the cold jacuzzi and one minute in the hot jacuzzi, doing that five times. It’s about experimenting.

Are there any specific drills that you do regularly that you’d recommend for upcoming players in your position?

One-vs-one. Find the player in your team who best represents the biggest threat down your channel and ask them to run at you. I have Sadio [Mané]. Any of our front three [Mané, Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino] are going to be tough to face, and during the week, if I’m training against Sadio, it’s going to be difficult but then, come the weekend I’ll already know that whoever I’m playing against is not likely to be as good. It’s a mental boost as well. I also like to practise passing and crossing so it’s finding someone who wants to do that with you.
Red Bull athlete Trent Alexander-Arnold training at Liverpool, 2019

In the zone: Trent's training sessions can last up to 90 minutes

© Greg Coleman / Red Bull Content Pool

What tips do you have for anyone looking to get better at dead ball scenarios?

First and foremost, you have to find a technique and routine that suits you. Work out how many steps you take, where you angle the ball, and where you angle yourself. For a set piece to be consistent, all of this needs to be consistent — you can’t have a two-step free kick and then later a four-step free kick and expect them to go in the same place.
Everything needs to be the same, and once you’ve found that, then that’s when you can start to move the ball, to manipulate where you’re taking it from and what you’re aiming for. Taking at last 10 extra free kicks a day is a good start.

What were your memories of training with the senior team for the first time?

It was a massive step up for me. It’s cutthroat. Nobody’s going to sugarcoat things and make you feel good. If you’re not good you’ll be told, so you’ve got to make sure you’re on it. It’s almost like, ‘If you train at this level, you need to be at our level. You can’t bring us down; we’re going to bring you up whether you like it or not’.

What’s the worst type of training?

I don’t like pre-season that much. I prefer to play football – I’m not amazing at running without the ball! Every day, senior players such as Virgil [Van Dijk], Hendo [Jordan Henderson], Mille [James Milner], and Robbo [Andy Robertson] are making sure the intensity is right. I don’t think there’s a fitter player in training than Milner, who regularly wins the pre-season lactate test.

How do you stay motivated?

Competition has brought the best out of me, so that’s the way I need to train. If it’s not competitive and no one is really keeping count, keeping score, then I find it hard to motivate myself. Motivation is competition, not wanting to lose and wanting to win everything. No matter what it is – even if the other person doesn’t know it – I’m keeping score of what’s going on no matter what!