Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has addressed the claims that Trent Alexander-Arnold can’t defend
Alexander-Arnold didn’t feature for England during September’s internationals and his place at this winter’s World Cup in Qatar is in jeopardy.
Klopp was asked about Gareth Southgate dropping Alexander-Arnold from the Three Lions squad ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Brighton and he replied: “My honest opinion would create headlines.”
Later on in his pre-match press conference, the German coach would go on to explain exactly how Liverpool play and how the full-back fits into that. Alexander-Arnold and left-back Andy Robertson drive forward and are a key part of Liverpool’s attack. Both players are important to the high press and have a wicked cross on them as well.
Klopp said: “The way we play, for example, if you are not a football specialist, if we do high press, very often, not always, but very often Trent is the highest of all three in the back, so it means in the high-press situation, he’s the one who goes to arrive – and that’s the way we play football. Now you can say, ‘Yeah, then defend better.’ You cannot have everything.” So if you want a high press, you need players in specific positions.
“Either way, we put a striker a bit wider to cover that area and the midfield a bit higher, or we cover the last line with three players, plus Fabinho or whoever plays the six and have him higher.” Klopp added.
A common criticism of Alexander-Arnold is his lack of positional awareness.”The 23-year-old often leaves gaps at the back and the right-sided centre back has to cover him. Klopp claims that is a ‘risk’ of his tactics and Alexander-Arnold is only following his instructions.
He continued: “So now we don’t get the ball there and the next ball goes long on that side, yeah, now Joel [Matip], Joey [Gomez], Ibou [Konate], whoever on that side plays, has to cover that, and that’s fine. It’s the risk we take, it’s not a crazy risk. We win the ball in nine out of 10 times but in that one moment where we don’t win it, people ask, ‘Where’s Trent?’ And that’s a question I don’t understand.
“Everybody who watches football that often, that long, why you would then say, ‘Yeah, that’s his main job’? But I told him he has to be there.”The whole explanation is fascinating and puts into perspective how harsh the criticism of Alexander-Arnold is.
Liverpool have won two Premier League games this season and currently sit eighth in the table. They return to action on Saturday afternoon.