Jurgen Klopp has issued a staunch defense of Trent Alexander-Arnold and claimed that criticism of the “world-class” right-back betrays a misunderstanding of how Liverpool play.
The Liverpool The manager has refused to be drawn into a public row over Gareth Southgate’s decision to drop Alexander-Arnold from the England squad to face Germany, or his insistence that Kieran Trippier’s “all-out match” is ahead of the 23-year-old. Klopp admitted his right-back defense must improve – along with the rest of Liverpool’s squad – but believes Alexander-Arnold is being judged unfairly on this aspect of his game when his overall contribution is unique. Liverpool manager surprised by the criticism.
“When we do a high press, Trent is often the loudest of all those at the back. This is the way we play football,” Klopp said in his press conference for Saturday’s home game against Brighton. You defend better”, but you can’t have everything because if you want to play high pressure, you need players in specific positions. If the next ball goes into it [right] side then joel [Matip]i bo [Konaté] or jo [Gomez] You must cover it. It is the risk we are taking. It’s not a crazy risk and we’ve won the ball nine times out of 10, but the moment we don’t win, people ask, “Where’s Trent?” This is a question I don’t understand from people who watch football a lot. People say this is his main job but I told him he should be there [higher up the pitch].
“Yes, there are other cases where he was not aware or there was a challenge he should have won. Every player has these challenges. But with him? Every time it is captured and analyzed, all the experts say this is a weakness. Honestly, I just I don’t get it. A world talent judged by the one thing he doesn’t have as world class as the other things? If he’s not a good defender, he won’t play.”
Klopp believes Alexander-Arnold has suffered because of Liverpool’s general decline in defensive level but stresses that no right-back in world football can match the talent of the local club. He said: “In the first part of the season we didn’t defend as a good team. The analysis was easy. It was like: ‘Oh my God, what is this?’ As a defender, Trent is part of that but with the other three as well, or in our case the other six as well. Defense is an art, If you like, because everything has to work together Offensively one skill or one man makes the difference Goal Defensively it’s not possible for one player to defend the whole field You need everyone involved and we weren’t good at it That’s the truth and my responsibility .
“Trent hasn’t done well in these moments either. In other moments he defends very well but no one mentions him. If you judge a player you think about his overall group. His ability to be influential in possession is insane. I don’t know if you’ve seen a full-back. Right back like this – passes here, passes there, changes sides, free kicks, corner kicks, smart decisions, quick decisions.He is a fantastic footballer in a situation where three other right-backs in this country play really well. We must not forget That. Gareth Southgate can’t line up all of them. So one or two would be disappointed.”