The nine-month wait for fans to return to Premier League stadiums will soon be over, and Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold has revealed just how excited he is to see supporters back at Anfield.
While every team was hit hard by the absence of fans, Liverpool had it rougher than most. They ended their 30-year wait for a league title during lockdown and had to lift the trophy in an empty stadium.
To celebrate the imminent return of fans, Red Bull gave Premier League legend Ian Wright the chance to sit down with Alexander-Arnold to discuss what it will mean to the Liverpool right-back, both as a player and a supporter, to see fans back in the stadiums.
"It’s difficult because you don't realise how much fans influence game plans, like with momentum and the sounds you can hear… I miss the fans so much," he confessed to Wright. "It feels empty without them.
"Even though you know they're watching at home and they're all over the world tuning in, it's not the same without them. Football’s not the same. Obviously times are hard and stuff like that but it's the world we live in right now. I miss the route into the stadium, all the fans there, tens of thousands waiting to greet us every single game. No matter what there's at least ten thousand fans just waiting to watch the bus come into the stadium, it's crazy."
Alexander-Arnold has spoken of his pride towards being a 'normal lad from Liverpool', and like every Liverpudlian his age, there was only one man he idolised growing up - Steven Gerrard.
"He was everything to me," Alexander-Arnold said. "When I was growing up I just wanted to be him, no other way about it. I wanted to live how he lived, I wanted to play how he played, I wanted to kick a ball how he did. I’d walk down the road and I see an empty bottle and I’d run up and strike it, and shout ‘Gerrard!’. To be fair I think a lot of kids in the city were doing the same thing!
"There was a Champions League game and he was suspended. At that time I played for Liverpool and they gave us complimentary tickets – I think it was me, my brother and my mum who went.
"Before the game we all went to the players’ lounge and then he walks in and I don’t think I've ever felt that feeling. You know when you don't think someone’s human? You've built them up so much you don't even feel like they're a real person...you just crumble! We got a picture and stuff like that. He was amazing with us and it’s a day that I'll never ever forget."
Alexander-Arnold has fond memories of watching his beloved Liverpool playing at Anfield, but he admitted that getting out in front of the crowd himself is a different feeling entirely.
"I'm telling you there’s something in the stadium, like spiritual," he added. "It’s just something in the atmosphere, you can feel the history, you can feel [the force], yeah.
"The Barca game was obviously amazing but that City game [Champions League in 2018], I've never felt like that. The only negative about those nights is you can't speak to your centre back as you can't even hear them. You're screaming at the top of your lungs, and they can't hear you! You're trying to tell them “Your shoulder, watch your shoulder” but they can't hear you. That’s the only negative but it’s a positive really."
To watch ‘Can’t Wait to See You’ in full head to: redbull.co.uk/cantwait.