Sunday, June 4, 2023

Klopp: Alexander-Arnold´s midfield suitability never in doubt

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 21 Apr 2023


Trent Alexander-Arnold’s ability to step into midfield was never in doubt, says Jurgen Klopp, but the Liverpool boss has warned his new hybrid role cannot solve all the Reds’ problems.

Alexander-Arnold produced an impressive display in Monday’s 6-1 rout of Leeds United at Elland Road, drifting infield from his right-back position to register two assists.

By teeing up goals for Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez, Alexander-Arnold reached 50 Premier League assists – only Kevin De Bruyne (84), Andrew Robertson (53) and Mohamed Salah (53) have managed more in the competition since his December 2016 debut.

Alexander-Arnold’s position has been the subject of much debate this term, with his defensive shortcomings being criticised amid a poor campaign for Liverpool.

Asked whether Alexander-Arnold would remain in his new role for the long term, Klopp said: “We will see that.

“In all the positions he played for us, Trent has always been a super important player. This slightly advanced role, at the moment, suits him really well. It’s good.

“It’s a challenge for everybody else to cover the spaces when we lose the ball, theoretically, but with him there we didn’t lose many balls [against Leeds], which was helpful.

“It’s not written in stone or whatever. He can play in different ways, and how he played in the last two games was really, really good. That’s true.”

Having only registered two assists in his first 27 Premier League appearances this season, Alexander-Arnold has three in his last two ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Nottingham Forest at Anfield.

Liverpool approach that game nine points adrift of the Premier League’s top four, and while Klopp has been delighted with Alexander-Arnold’s impact in his new role, he knows the 24-year-old cannot solve all the team’s problems.

“It’s not the first time we played it like that. It’s slightly different, but not as different,” Klopp continued. “Trent’s a smart player, but it’s more about how we set up around Trent.

“Whether he could play the position was never in doubt, but you have to set up around him, because there are moments when we lose the ball and have a different formation.

“How do we get him on the ball? Obviously that’s important. Maybe we’ll do it like this tomorrow – we will see – but maybe Trent shows up there and gets a man-marker.

“It’s not the solution to all the problems we had this year. He has the potential to play that position, that was always clear. We will see where it leads to.”


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