Trent Alexander-Arnold has praised Liverpool teammate Andy Robertson for ‘sacrificing himself’ for the good of the team recently.
Trent shifting into midfield has meant Robertson being asked to play a slightly different role of late. And speaking to liverpoolfc.com about his own change of position, Alexander-Arnold thanked both Robbo and Ibrahima Konate for their help in making it possible.
“I think it’s one of those things, we all appreciate each other, we all appreciate our qualities,” said the 24-year-old. “I think the system suits profiles: Ibou [Konate] is an athletic centre-back who can move, he can run, he is strong, fast, he can cover big spaces and defends outstandingly well in those big spaces. So, I think maybe that gap I’m leaving when I am coming into the middle of the pitch is filled by a player who can handle that and do that.
“We’ve got other profiles of centre-halves who can do that as well. You see big Joel who stepped in at West Ham away, and he did that outstandingly well as well.
“I think there are a lot of different things. Robbo is sacrificing himself as well, playing as more of a left-sided centre-half. And Mo [Salah] has to come deeper a little bit to get the ball and be an option for Ibou because there is no right-back there now. So there’s a lot of moving parts to it and I think we all appreciate what we bring to those roles and we all try to play to those strengths as much as possible.”
Liverpool hand Robertson new duties
If Robertson has lost a little of his attacking output, then you’d never really have guessed it. The Scotsman has still managed a pair of assists in the seven games since Trent first took up his new position.
But it clearly has been noticeable that Robertson has been asked to be more mindful of his defending. With Alexander-Arnold tucked in, the whole team more or less has to shift across to the right.
As Liverpool adapt to this more and more, it will be interesting to see whether they ultimately decide to target a different kind of full-back.
Kostas Tsimikas was given the chance to show how he can adapt during last week’s win over Fulham. But the Greek looked undercooked and underprepared. He’s very similar to Robertson in that his first instinct is always to get forward and help the attack as quickly as possible.
In Liverpool’s previous system, this was perfect. However, it now looks like they may have to go out and identify a long-term option to play in the new style. Whether that’s a left-back or a more left-sided centre-back, we shall see.
For now though, they’ll surely persist with Robertson. At twenty-nine, he’s no longer the youngest in the squad, though. Trent is almost five years younger than him and is looking well-suited to his new role in the long-term.
Robbo is going nowhere for now, though, and he’s showed that he can do his new job effectively so far. But if Liverpool want to keep playing this way, then a change may not be all that far way.