When Trent Alexander-Arnold's free-kick cannoned into the back of the net 20 minutes into Liverpool's game against Fulham, it seemed that the Reds were in for a straightforward afternoon against bottom-half opposition. While it looked at first as if Alexander-Arnold had executed an unsavable whipped shot off the underside of the crossbar, replays showed that the ball struck the back of Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno before ending up in the net, which means that it officially goes down as an own goal.

There were no such questions about Alexis Mac Allister's wonder strike later in the half, which restored Liverpool's lead after Harry Wilson had haunted his former club with a leveler. But once again, a spectacular effort was canceled out by a lapse at the other end as Kenny Tete beat Caoimhín Kelleher far too easily to pull it back to 2-2.

Liverpool pushed for a third go-ahead goal in the second half, but Darwin Núñez squandered two huge chances, and Jürgen Klopp was forced to go aggressive, withdrawing two midfielders in Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai and moving to a 4-2-3-1 set-up, with Cody Gakpo joining the attack.

READ MORE: Why Trent Alexander-Arnold had his first goal taken away from him in Liverpool win over Fulham

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Rather than Curtis Jones or Wataru Endō, Klopp sent on Joe Gomez to slot in at right-back and shifted Alexander-Arnold into a permanent midfield berth. The 25-year-old has predominantly played in a hybrid role, but the manager had freed him of his right-back responsibilities on a couple of occasions late in games too. He operated as a number six in the 2-1 win against Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup in November and, in the 4-0 victory over LASK on Thursday, he was briefly unleashed as a right-sided number eight.

Here, Klopp paired him with Ryan Gravenberch, whom he'd seen play in a deep-lying two during his time under Erik ten Hag at Ajax. While the Dutchman struggled in the second period, ultimately coming off for Endō, Alexander-Arnold stepped forth to score the winning goal, masterfully guiding the ball into the net after it broke to him just inside the penalty area.

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Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp.

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Before last week's trip to Manchester City, the vice-captain had scored three goals in his last 59 games, and had his free-kick been just that fraction lower, enough to take it beyond the goal-line without the touch from Leno, he would have matched that tally in three games.

We've made the case previously that Alexander-Arnold should be finding the net more often given the quality of his technique, on show for both of his 'goals' here, and the greater opportunities afforded by his central role, and there are now signs that an untapped weapon is coming to the fore at last.

Occupying a full-time midfield role gives Alexander-Arnold greater license to attack the penalty area without having to worry about leaving the right channel exposed. It remains to be seen whether Klopp uses him in that capacity more often, but he will surely be tempted to pursue this experiment further after Sunday's hero act.