Jurgen Klopp insisted he was not intending to prompt “another funny discussion” about Trent Alexander-Arnold after Liverpool’s win at Arsenal but could not resist highlighting the right-back’s performance.
Klopp had discussed Alexander-Arnold’s absence from Gareth Southgate’s England squad at length ahead of Saturday’s match.
The Reds manager defended the performances of the 22-year-old, who had provided a relatively underwhelming five assists in all competitions this season heading into the weekend – down from 15 in each of his previous two campaigns.
Indeed, Klopp said Alexander-Arnold’s form “cannot be the reason” for his England snub and described him as “the standout right-back in world football”.
The 12-cap Three Lions star responded to his club boss’s backing in impressive fashion at Emirates Stadium, adding a sixth assist of the campaign in a 3-0 win.
Alexander-Arnold created a game-high four chances, including the cross for Diogo Jota’s opener.
And discussing Liverpool’s improvement after introducing Jota from the bench, Klopp turned the conversation to his defender.
He told Sky Sports: “We scored these wonderful goals – and Trent Alexander-Arnold showed his class… again.”
But Klopp added: “Look, I don’t want to make another funny discussion about Trent – it’s not like that.
“I said it: it’s Gareth’s decision. And he’s pretty much blessed with the choice he has in that position especially.
“But Trent is in a good shape, and if somebody says he’s not, I have to say that’s wrong. That’s all.
“Apart from that, Gareth makes his decisions and I do not. I’m not responsible for his decisions.”
3 – Against no side has Trent Alexander-Arnold provided more Premier League assists than versus Arsenal (3). Whip. #ARSLIV
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 3, 2021
Alexander-Arnold shared the spotlight with Jota, who netted just over three minutes after arriving as a substitute and later completed the scoring following Mohamed Salah’s strike.
That second-half flurry gave Liverpool their biggest ever away league win at Arsenal and moved Klopp’s side to within two points of Chelsea in the top four.
“Great, great,” Klopp said. “We don’t look at Chelsea or whatever or West Ham or Leicester – I don’t know who’s around there – because we have to win our own games.
“But in our situation, other teams have to lose games as well. We cannot do it ourselves. We don’t play Chelsea any more, we don’t play Leicester any more, and all these kind of things.
“We have enough games. We have a tough programme. We don’t have to start dreaming, we have to keep working and that’s what we do.
“But it’s a nice sign. We are still there. Even in the games we lost some, we were not bad, but tonight the package was extremely good. That’s what you need.”
Jota has a Premier League-high four goals from the bench this season and four career strikes against Arsenal in the competition, a personal best.
The Portugal forward scores more often than any other player in the entire division, his eight goals arriving every 91.3 minutes on average.
Although Arsenal were level until Jota’s intervention, the hosts were poor and Liverpool’s two-goal star was surprised by their passive approach, the visitors having over 64 per cent of the ball.
“To be honest, I was expecting a bit more possession from the Arsenal team,” he said. “They’re used to that.
“But that showed that we pressed really well, that we didn’t allow them to have that possession. In the end, we controlled the game with the ball and with the goals.”
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