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Trent’s defending in spotlight after toughest lesson in Paris

Trent Alexander-Arnold knew that the spotlight was on him. He knew that this game was different and he knew that his duel with Vinicius Junior was being described as the key to the game. He will know too that it was a duel that he lost.

That verdict may seem harsh, but it is the inevitable conclusion after a Champions League final decided by one goal, one moment. When the story of Real Madrid's victory is told, when the video plays, it will show Vinicius ghosting in beyond a static defender.

It had always looked likely that this match-up would be defining. Alexander-Arnold, even from that nominal right-back position, is Liverpool's most potent creative force, the catalyst for those attacks. He is part of the back four, but he is a playmaker, primarily.

Even before the stunning denouement, Vinicius had enjoyed the season of his career so far, creating more chances and completing more dribbles than any player in the Champions League. Getting the ball to him would be crucial for Carlo Ancelotti's side.

There were signs that Alexander-Arnold was being targeted. Toni Kroos looked for that pass over his head on a regular basis, just as he did to good effect when Liverpool were eliminated from this competition at the quarter-final stage last season.

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