McAteer suggests 24-year-old Liverpool player didn't do his job against Bournemouth today
Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

McAteer suggests 24-year-old Liverpool player didn't do his job against Bournemouth today

Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold didn’t do the job asked of him during defeat to Bournemouth today.

That’s the suggestion of former Reds midfielder Jason McAteer. Speaking to beIN SPORTS post Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat, McAteer said that Trent and fellow full-back Andy Robertson need to be doing more against low block sides.

“They dug in Bournemouth today and that’s where Liverpool have failed so many times this season – to break teams down when they sit on the edge of the box and they ask them questions. That’s where the creativity comes into it. Robertson’s got to stand up, Trent’s got to stand up and be counted. He’s [Jurgen Klopp] got that extra bit of creativity in midfield with an Elliott or a Bajcetic. They didn’t do today what their job was,” said the pundit.

Touching on the performances of Elliott and Bajcetic, McAteer also suggested that Klopp made the wrong call in picking them today.

“They’re [Elliott and Bajcetic] alright when there’s space on the pitch, but when teams are deep and it’s tight and you’ve got to figure out a different way of scoring, that’s where you can look at them and go ‘you’re experience isn’t helping here because you don’t have enough in this scenario,'” he claimed. “They’re great when there’s space, but we can all be good players when there’s space on the pitch.”

Liverpool pay for one-dimensional approach

McAteer is completely correct in both of his points here. Firstly, with Liverpool struggling to create any kind of attacking opening, they needed their full-backs to step up and provide a way through. Secondly, there’s no way that Klopp should have gone with both Elliott and Bajcetic today.

That’s easy to say after a 1-0 loss, but it should have been clear to the manager before the game, too. Bournemouth’s midfield is one of the biggest in the Premier League. Jefferson Lerma and Philip Billing are two big lads who don’t especially take prisoners.

In what world was Harvey Elliott going to be able to compete with that? You can understand the manager wanting to reward Elliott for a fine display last week against Manchester United. But this was a totally different assignment.

Against United, Elliott often had the freedom of Anfield to play in. With matters much tighter at Bournemouth, he never looked like the right fit during his 45 minutes on the pitch. In fairness to Elliott and Klopp though, Liverpool arguably got worse following his substitution.

On Trent and Robertson, today was another example of Liverpool’s lack of ideas when faced with a deep-lying defence. Without the space to operate in, the Reds forwards were nullified. Although this in itself is a problem, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a big one if the two wide defenders can step up.

On days like today, where they can’t, it makes Liverpool look incredibly one-dimensional. That has been happening way too often this season, as seen in Trent and Robertson dwindling assist numbers. Having claimed 12 and 10 respectively last campaign, they have two and six this time around. We need more.

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