For a time now, there has been been an on-going debate to move Trent Alexander-Arnold into central midfield with some supporters believing Liverpool’s most creative asset is wasted at right-back.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 24: Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool celebrates a goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United at Anfield on February 24, 2020 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Visionhaus)

The 21-year-old has recently emerged as the best right-sided full-back in world football following 18 months of unrivalled success that culminated in Alexander-Arnold becoming the youngest ever player to start in back-to-back Champions League finals.

The idea of Alexander-Arnold eventually moving into midfield never seemed logical amongst the majority of the fanbase with Liverpool lacking a right-back of the same calibre as the Scouser in our team.

However, Liverpool’s clash at Chelsea gave us our first real insight into what our strongest back-four could look like if Alexander-Arnold were to one day move into the middle of the park.

For the first time this season, Klopp utilised a defensive quartet that contained Andy Robertson, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and 18-year-old Neco Williams.

The Welsh-born full-back has been hugely impressive for the Reds this season having started in all of Liverpool’s previous FA Cup matches.

Williams gave a mature and assured performance but sadly Klopp’s defensive unit failed to demonstrate whether this could be a sustainable system going forward.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 03: Mason Mount of Chelsea is tackled by Neco Williams of Liverpool during the FA Cup Fifth Round match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge on March 03, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

This wasn’t due to the performance of Williams by any means, in fact, the U23s star was arguably Liverpool’s standout defender in the 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge.

 

However, Liverpool desperately lacked Alexander-Arnold’s delivery from set-pieces. Although Williams can strike a venomous cross from multiple sections of the pitch, the teenager wasn’t entrusted to oversee the Reds’ set-piece duties in the absence of his fellow academy graduate.

Bizarrely, it was Fabinho who was spotted taking corners and free-kicks for the visitors who failed to demonstrate their usual cutting edge from set-pieces.

Liverpool have scored 16 league goals (including penalties) from set-pieces so far this season, more than any other team. Last season, they topped that table with 29 set-piece goals. Bournemouth and Manchester United were joint second on 21.

However, with Alexander-Arnold out of the team, there wasn’t enough sustained evidence that the Liverpool-born defender is best suited away from his usual right-back duties.

Already, the England international has more assists (24) from full-back than any other player in the PL since the start of last season.

Although it was an experiment worth trying, for the meantime, Liverpool’s strongest back-four has proven it doesn’t need to be tinkered with going forward.

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