Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold has said that Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha is the toughest opponent he has faced so far, despite having played against Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.
The 20-year-old said that although the two are very intelligent footballers, they struggled to get the ball when they played against his Liverpool in the Champions League.
Alexander-Arnold said that on the other hand, Zaha’s style of play makes him difficult to play, and the way he keeps ahold of the ball has caused problems for him in the past.
Speaking in an interview to The Times, Alexander-Arnold said: “On the day, I’d say Zaha was the hardest. Just his athleticism. You can’t get the ball off him, hard to tackle, fast, skilful, can score goals, set them up, a match-winner.”
The two faced off when they met in August’s Premier League clash, but Alexander-Arnold got the better of him in a 2-0 win at Selhurst Park.
Zaha has been at Crystal Palace for eight years, having been promoted from the academy. Although he made a big move to Manchester United in 2013, the Ivorian never really hit his stride at Old Trafford, and he was loaned back the next season before the move was made permanent. The Ivorian is the Eagles’ top scorer this season with three goals.
Alexander-Arnold has faced some of the best players in the world in his two-year senior career, facing the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar. However, he explained that they didn’t cause as much trouble for him, as their teams didn’t get much of the ball when facing the Reds.
“With Neymar and Ronaldo, you can see they are very intelligent players, people who know their trade, different movements, but they never got much of the ball against us.
“Obviously Zaha is not at a level of Ronaldo and Neymar, but for me on the day Zaha was probably the hardest.”
Zaha has flourished since his return to Selhurst Park, winning the club’s Player of the Year award for the last three seasons. He signed a new contract with Crystal Palace this summer, committing his future to the club until 2023.
Crystal Palace return to Premier League action with a trip to Everton on Sunday afternoon, before hosting Arsenal in a London derby at Selhurst Park on 28 October.