Liverpool's 14-year-old ball boy is now being hailed a hero on social media after his quick throw-in during the Champions League semifinal win vs. Barcelona.
Trent Alexander-Arnold became a hero with his quick corner kick in Liverpool's stunning Champions League comeback over Barcelona on Tuesday. But the move was no accident. Rather it was a planned strategy, reports The Independent's Simon Hughes.
Alexander-Arnold pretended to walk away from the corner flag before quickly reversing course and serving up an assist to Divock Origi, who turned it into the net and sent Liverpool to the Champions League final, shocking an off-guard Barcelona with the goal. With the score, Liverpool took an aggregate lead of 4–3 after a 3–0 loss in the semifinal first leg in Spain last week.
According to Hughes, Liverpool's match analyst noticed after last week's loss that Barcelona players were distracted and upset whenever a free kick or throw-in was awarded against them, even if it was the correct call, and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp saw that as an opportunity to strike against his opponent.
Hughes reports the strategy made it as far down to Carl Lancaster, who is a coaching mentor at the club’s academy and coordinates with the ball boys. Lancaster told the kids to serve Liverpool players as quick as possible, which put 14-year-old Oakley Cannonier into a crucial role, when he fed the 20-year-old Alexander-Arnold the ball after Liverpool was awarded the 79th-minute corner kick.
Alexander-Arnold didn't even have his head turned around when Cannonier tossed the ball to him.
Cannonier is now being called a hero on social media for his role in the win, which sent Liverpool to the Champions League final for the second straight season.