Former Liverpool star John Aldridge has had enough of the criticism surrounding Trent Alexander-Arnold. The right-back continues to make headlines.
Trent Alexander-Arnold put in a magnificent display for Liverpool against West Ham United at the weekend. He was our Man of the Match by some distance as he performed wonderfully at both ends.
That’s not something you always see, of course. Alexander-Arnold is quite clearly the world’s best full-back going forward. Defensively, though, he comes into some stick.
John Aldridge, however, calls that criticism ‘ridiculous’ in his column for the Liverpool Echo.
“Trent Alexander-Arnold is brilliant,” says Aldridge. “You still get people questioning him, which is ridiculous. If you’re asked to go on the offensive, like he is, it’s virtually impossible to be in a defensive situation all of the time, to cover. That’s why we’ve got players like [Ibrahima] Konate.
“I thought Konate and [Virgil] van Dijk were excellent at the weekend and they had to be to let our two full-backs do what they do.”
Trent Alexander-Arnold for Liverpool
The criticism has always been ridiculous. For one, Liverpool had the league’s strongest defence in both 2018/19 and 2019/20. That’s impossible to do if one of your back four is a weak link that teams can easily target.
And Aldridge is absolutely correct in his analysis here. Alexander-Arnold does leave plenty of space behind him and can be isolated – but that’s just a part of Liverpool’s gameplan. You can’t cover the entire pitch with 11 players and Jurgen Klopp sacrifices the space in behind as a result.
That’s why athletic, powerful defenders like Konate, Van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez are so vital. They can sweep up behind and the biggest part of their job is covering the incredibly attacking full-backs.
Is it perfect? No – no strategy is. But in pushing Alexander-Arnold forward and making him a little vulnerable defensively, Liverpool have an elite system that delivers the biggest trophies.