Alexander-Arnold breaks through at Liverpool despite Man United links

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold, the teenager described by Steven Gerrard as destined to become a "top professional," has made the breakthrough at Anfield despite being the nephew of one of the most influential figures within Manchester United's hierarchy.

Alexander-Arnold, 18, produced a man of the match performance for Jurgen Klopp's team during Tuesday's 2-0 EFL Cup quarterfinal victory against Leeds United after making his senior debut against Tottenham Hotspur in the previous round.

He was watched against Leeds by John Alexander, Man United's club secretary, who, senior Liverpool sources have confirmed to ESPN FC, is the England under-19 international's uncle.

United are currently in the process of overhauling their recruitment staff and academy set-up after falling behind the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool in terms of producing young talent in recent years.

Liverpudlian Alexander, who began his role as secretary at Old Trafford in July 2010 after leaving a similar role at Tottenham, is heavily involved in the plans to improve United's academy alongside the club's head of elite development and head coach Nicky Butt.

Despite his family ties with Alexander-Arnold, however, the 61-year-old arrived at United too late to prevent his nephew from signing for Liverpool.

Born in West Derby, the Liverpool suburb which houses the club's Melwood training complex, Alexander-Arnold signed for Liverpool as a six-year-old in 2004.

In September 2009, the youngster filled the role of mascot before a League Cup tie against Leeds at Elland Road.

With Alexander-Arnold rated as one of English football's brightest young prospects, former Liverpool captain Gerrard even singled the defender out as one to watch in his autobiography, "My Story."

"Trent Arnold has a terrific chance of making it as a top professional," Gerrard wrote. "He's quite leggy, but he's got a lovely frame and seems to have all the attributes you need.

"He has the right attitude and comes from West Derby, home to Melwood. So Trent is another Scouser and apparently, just as I tried to be John Barnes and Steve McMahon, he grew up pretending to be me while playing in the Merseyside parks.

"He can play as a number 6, a holding midfielder, but he's versatile and I've seen him fill various positions. I know England are all over him."