The reports claim that Jurgen Klopp had granted Alexander-Arnold time off this week under the assumption he would be representing the Three Lions.
Alexander-Arnold omitted from England
Indeed, from a Liverpool perspective this reduces the worry of another Reds player sustaining a serious injury on national team duty, following Joe Gomez’s season-ending setback in November.
Alexander-Arnold did speak to Southgate on the phone before the announcement, and the player and manager exchanged some words before Southgate revealed that Reece James, Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker were chosen ahead of the Liverpool right back.
This isn’t all good news for Liverpool, though, as reports from The Athletic say that Alexander-Arnold has understandably been left devastated at missing out on Southgate’s squad.
The 22-year-old knows that time is running out, with this the last chance to impress under Southgate before he picks his squad for this summer’s delayed European Championships.
Klopp’s response to the news was reportedly one of pure shock and bemusement. After all, the Liverpool boss considers Alexander-Arnold as one of his standout performers since December.
He has maintained high-performance standards during the most difficult period of Klopp’s tenure. It’s a crying shame that Alexander-Arnold has been made to suffer for his team’s fall from grace this season.
The timing is perhaps the most confusing element of Southgate’s decision. Alexander-Arnold was back to his brilliant best during crucial victories against RB Leipzig and Wolves.
What RTK has to say
Let’s get some things straight. This isn’t an attempt to deny irrefutable evidence that Alexander-Arnold has suffered a dip this term, especially given his sustained brilliance over the previous two years.
Operating as Liverpool’s main source of creativity, Alexander-Arnold has clearly suffered from a dip in confidence with the Reds not quite able to function at their fluent and brilliant best in recent months.
He has just one goal and three assists in 2020/21, after all. To put his drop-off into perspective, he had four goals and 13 assists last term.
Still, despite the drop-off, this is arguably the best right-back in Europe we are talking about. A few bad months do not warrant a case to question Alexander-Arnold’s quality.
This is a player who has won both the Premier League and Champions League before the age of 22 – there is no doubt that he is one of the country’s breakout talents of the modern era.
Yes, England are blessed with an array of other talented players and Southgate faces a daunting prospect of trimming down a squad ready for this summer’s Euros.
However, England aren’t exactly littered with world-class players, yet Alexander-Arnold is certainly one of them. The likes of Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling also belong in that category.
If Southgate really is questioning whether Alexander-Arnold has what it takes to make the cut this summer then you really have to question the judgement of a coach who is blessed with one of the most complete and talented England squad in years.