There is a rather linear debate about Trent Alexander-Arnold’s game at Liverpool:
Is he a full-back or a central midfielder?
Yet, why the rush to find an answer to this question?
Jurgen Klopp doesn’t feel the need to, and we should sit back and enjoy watching the English international rewrite the script at Anfield.
Alexander-Arnold is a rare player; he has the talent to be pretty much effective anywhere on the pitch, which is rare for an English player.
Throughout history – football has marvelled at players who can do the things Alexander-Arnold is able to, just look at how highly Joshua Kimmich is regarded at Bayern Munich and in Germany, Philipp Lahm before him, however in England there is almost a suspicion of these talents.
English football can be too regimented
One of the problems with football in England is the rush to label a player, put them in a bracket and keep them there. We see it at the most basic levels of youth football, telling a 10-year-old they’re a defender or a forward.
In reality, fluid talents such as Alexander-Arnold need to be nurtured and embraced, for the betterment of the national game if anything.
It’s telling that Klopp is so mystified
To a German coach, having a player with these attributes isn’t surprising; he just expects it of the Liverpool academy graduate.
“I don’t know anybody who’s like Trent who is a right-back and is that decisive and influential and all these kind of things,” Klopp detailed to SI.
“The package of Trent is insane.”
“Honestly, I thought he played outstandingly well defensively last night (against Crystal Palace). So it is really good what Trent did there against him and how he kept him busy defensively and where he showed up.”
Praise from Roy keane
“Absolutely brilliant,” Keane told Sky Sports.
“What a player. Fantastic. The stats are absolutely brilliant, brilliant player, local lad bet he can’t believe his luck. [The] chances he creates, the assists- unbelievable.”
“The assists and positions he gets himself in, he’s brave got a lot of courage – what a brilliant player.”
While Alexander-Arnold has been a key player for Liverpool ever since he burst onto the scene back in 2017, his goal contributions this season have been nothing short of remarkable.
Already this term, the Reds right-back has registered 10 assists in the Premier League and a staggering 15 in all competitions after he teed up both of Diogo Jota’s goals in Liverpool’s midweek Carabao Cup triumph over Arsenal.
15 assists is the same tally that he managed during his best-ever campaign as the Reds surged to the Premier League title back in the 2019/20 season – meaning he’s nailed on to record his best-ever season in terms of goalscoring contributions.
“[He] looks like a good athlete, a decent lad, a brilliant player and we all get excited about attacking players but to get excited about a full-back it’s how the game’s changed over the last few years. The full-backs are so important.”
And he had a host of people, including former Arsenal magician Paul Merson, singing his praises after Liverpool clinched their spot in the Carabao Cup final on Thursday night.
“He’s phenomenal,” Merson told Sky Sports after the Reds sealed their slot at Wembley.
“People say, ‘he can’t defend’. Why do you have to defend when you go forward like he does?”
“To put up the figures and the assists that he gets is just mind-blowing, absolutely mind-blowing.”
Courtesy: MARCA and Mirror UK