Trent Alexander-Arnold is at “Championship level” with one aspect of his game, according to a pundit who thinks he might struggle in a system other than Jurgen Klopp’s.
Alexander-Arnold now has more than more than 200 appearances to his name for Liverpool. Still only 23 years old, he has long since cemented his place as a regular at right-back. Having contributed more than 60 assists, he has certainly been a standout player in recent years.
However, there are still areas that Alexander-Arnold has to develop. He has struggled to replicate his Liverpool form on the international stage with England, perhaps as a result of some of his remaining shortcomings.
One of the main criticisms of Alexander-Arnold is his lack of defensive awareness. He came through the ranks as a midfielder, which is why he has still sometimes been below standard defensively, despite spending most of his senior career at right-back.
Some of his issues have been exposed in the first few weeks of the current season, which Liverpool have not started as they would have liked.
It has prompted fresh examination of Alexander-Arnold’s skillset and deficiencies. Now, one former Premier League defender has gone as far as describing the number 66’s defensive abilities as only being good enough for the second tier.
“Look at Trent Alexander-Arnold. I love the guy, his offensive qualities. But defensively, he’s Championship level,” Frank Leboeuf told Journal du Dimanche.
“Only Klopp’s system works for him. When it doesn’t work as well as it has this season, all you see is his defensive shortcomings.
“I want to take him with me to work on the basics. I would say to him: ‘Turn your head and look behind you, it will be better already’. It was Roberto Carlos who deformed generations of defenders.”
Alexander-Arnold could become more complete
It is up to Alexander-Arnold and his coaches to work on this particular aspect of his game. Only time will tell whether he can improve his skillset by becoming sharper defensively.
In the opposite direction, he has all the attributes to class himself as one of the best in the world in his position. But as long as the defensive questions linger over him, Alexander-Arnold might even struggle to retain a role of prominence with his country.
For Liverpool, though, he is almost untouchable. The club brought in Calvin Ramsay to compete with him this summer, but the new arrival is an even younger option. Hence, Alexander-Arnold still has Klopp’s faith – and rightly so.
After all, his positive attributes have outweighed his negative traits up to this point of his career.
Still, to reach his full potential, there are adaptations that Alexander-Arnold may have to make.