Liverpool fullbacks give teams heart attacks: Richard Buxton
Assist kings Robertson and Alexander-Arnold are a throwback to Kennedy and Neal
Liverpool's propensity to lead from the front is taking a rare backseat.
Telepathic understandings continue to run through the English Premier League leaders' starting line-up, but have now shifted beyond their traditional surroundings.
In Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, the Reds now boast a genuinely gold-standard pairing.
Alexander-Arnold secured a place in the Guinness World Records this week, after producing the most assists by a defender in an English top-flight campaign with last season's haul of 12.
But the honour could easily have fallen to his fellow full-back, who finished just one behind in the rankings.
Further recognition should have followed at Fifa's The Best Awards last month, but nostalgia saw them overlooked for World XI spots in favour of Sergio Ramos and Marcelo.
Undeterred, the duo are preparing to go again. They have two assists each heading into Sunday's trip to Manchester United.
Only Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah have recorded more for Juergen Klopp's men this term, with three apiece.
Beyond the English top flight, however, their telepathy is gaining further traction.
The pair combined for Robertson's goal in Liverpool's breathless 4-3 win over Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League earlier this month.
Flying fullbacks are hardly a new phenomenon for the reigning European champions.
Phil Neal and Alan Kennedy became notorious for bombing forward as Liverpool went on to sweep all before them during the halcyon days of the early 1980s.
Similarities between their respective rises to prominence and their modern-day successors are difficult to ignore.
Kennedy was likened to Flintstones character Barney Rubble by the Kop for his rough-edged approach to games, but endured a difficult start to life on Merseyside, just as Robertson did.
The Scotland captain was forced to bide his time in his successful bid to dislodge Alberto Moreno at left-back.
By contrast, Neal received the moniker of Zico for an attacking style that resembled Brazil's legendary playmaker.
Temptations to festoon a samba-infused nickname on Alexander-Arnold continue to be resisted, largely out of apprehension to avoid a repeat of recent history.
Liverpool's last homegrown defender to assume a starring role in an EPL title challenge struggled to live up to his billing of the "Scouse Cafu".
But Alexander-Arnold is unlikely to fall into the same trap which afflicted Jon Flanagan following the near-miss season of 2013/14.
Effusive praise was all the two-time World Cup winner offered Flanagan, but his fellow academy graduate has already received more sage advice by the Brazilian, who warned Alexander-Arnold of the need to shun complacency and egotism if he is to realise his true potential.
No one could accuse the West Derby-born player of big-headedness or resting on his laurels, especially ahead of returning to the scene of contrasting personal emotions this weekend.
Old Trafford holds bittersweet memories for Alexander-Arnold.
It was the setting for his full EPL debut, but also arguably his worst-ever performance in March 2018, when he was routinely humiliated by England teammate Marcus Rashford as United ran out 2-1 winners.
Memories of that chastening afternoon remain fresh in the mind; not least because the 21-year-old has yet to run out at the Theatre of Dreams since that defensive horror show.
He also uses it as a continual reference point in his ongoing quest for self-improvement.
Current evidence suggests he is winning that battle with statistical improvements across the board this season, including creating the most chances from open play, with 18.
Only Manchester City's Kevin de Bruyne (29) has amassed more key passes than Alexander-Arnold's 28.
Klopp's side is still reliant on his forward line, but Alexander-Arnold and Robertson are proving that defence can also turn into Liverpool's best form of attack.
12 Trent Alexander-Arnold, (Liverpool) 2018/19
11 Andy Robertson, (Liverpool) 2018/19
11 Leighton Baines, (Everton) 2010/11
11 Andy Hinchcliffe, (Everton) 1994/95