Pat Nevin has insisted that Liverpool would be ‘absolutely nowhere near’ Manchester City without Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson.
Speaking on the BBC’s Scottish Football Podcast, Nevin discussed the impact of Liverpool’s full-backs’ on their style of football.
“The importance of those two wing-backs, those two full-backs flying forward, just look at the number of assists,” said the pundit. “They batter everybody, and I mean everybody, including all the players in their own team, the Salah’s and everyone.
“For assists it’s them two and it’s been them two for quite a few of years now. If you take the assists from Liverpool’s full-back’s out of their team, they’re actually nowhere near Manchester City, absolutely nowhere near, not even close.”
Ignoring the fact that Salah finished last season as the Premier League’s Playmaker of the Year ahead of Trent and Robbo, Nevin has a semblance of a point. We think Liverpool would still manage, though.
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Tsimikas shows the way for Ramsay
The context of Nevin’s comments were in a discussion about Calvin Ramsay’s move to Liverpool.
Ramsay completed his transfer to Anfield yesterday and is hoping to cement himself as Jurgen Klopp’s alternative to Alexander-Arnold.
Of course, he’ll do well to get any way to matching Trent’s attacking output. But such is the way that Liverpool play, with the emphasis on the full-backs, he’ll have every chance to.
As seen by Kostas Tsimikas’ impact, Liverpool’s system is designed to have the full-back’s as the creative centres.
Take one out, and if the replacement has a similar skillset, they’ll get opportunities too.
That isn’t to downplay Trent and Robbo’s contributions, they’ve been incredible players for going on five years now. But Tsimikas has poured cold water on the suggestion that, Robertson at least, is completely irreplaceable.
Hopefully they both remain key components of this Liverpool team for years to come.
Should they succumb to injury at any point though, Klopp will be confident his system can accommodate that eventuality.
There should be no pressure on young Ramsay to emulate what Alexander-Arnold and Robertson have normalised. As a full-back though, there surely isn’t a better team to play for.