‘Convinced’ Carragher claims ‘vulnerable’ Liverpool regular could be ousted by Klopp successor
Jamie Carragher has added to his recent claims about Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold, taking issue with those “pretending” he doesn’t need to make a major change to avoid being left behind – while suggesting he might face an uncertain future beyond Jurgen Klopp’s reign.
Alexander-Arnold has been under pressure at various points throughout this season. The right-back’s defensive qualities have always been questionable, but his flaws have been exposed more often than before this term.
His attacking output has even deteriorated this season. So far, he has contributed to six goals from 36 appearances, in comparison to 21 from 47 last time out.
But the main concern about Alexander-Arnold – who this week was left out of the England squad again for the upcoming international break – remains his weaknesses in defence.
After Liverpool’s exit from the Champions League was confirmed in midweek, Carragher claimed Liverpool need to bring in more competition for Alexander-Arnold.
Now, in his regular column for the Daily Telegraph, he has justified his recent comments, adding why he thinks Alexander-Arnold has become so vulnerable.
Carragher wrote: “His skill set suits a particular style which Liverpool have not executed this season. That has made him more vulnerable.
“For the last six years, Liverpool have been a front-footed team dominating the ball. That has allowed Alexander-Arnold and left-back Andy Robertson to operate effectively as wing-backs in Jurgen Klopp’s favoured 4-3-3, the majority of opponents sitting back and trying to absorb pressure.”
However, after acknowledging that Liverpool’s system hasn’t functioned properly this season and other teams have been targeting Alexander-Arnold’s territory, Carragher went on to suggest the 24-year-old will have to evolve his game to avoid getting left behind in the post-Klopp era, whenever that comes.
The pundit added: “I truly believe Alexander-Arnold is at a crossroads and must think carefully this summer about how to evolve.
“If Trent wants to think long-term – and win the trust of whoever is England’s coach and even a future Liverpool manager who might see the game much differently to Klopp – he has to step up to become the complete full-back.”
READ MORE: Liverpool star ‘up for sale’ as Jurgen Klopp removes once-acclaimed player from long-term plans
Carragher considers ‘immediate’ Alexander-Arnold role change
Alternatively, Alexander-Arnold could complete his transition back into being a midfielder, like he was when coming through the academy.
Indeed, Carragher is “convinced” he will end up back there at some point in his career. Given Liverpool’s current issues in that department, Klopp might even be encouraged to utilise him there immediately.
Carragher concluded: “In terms of his passing range, Alexander-Arnold is as good as anyone in Europe and the closest Liverpool have to Kevin De Bruyne or Steven Gerrard.
“Given how desperate Liverpool are for a creative midfielder, would turning him into a No. 8 so he can fill those areas to whip those extraordinary passes into the penalty area be such a radical move? With Stefan Bajcetic out for the season, would Klopp even consider it as an immediate measure?
“I am convinced Alexander-Arnold will return to midfield eventually, whether it is in his late twenties or early thirties. It does not matter how many medals a player has won, the best will always be looking at ways to get better.
“Until then, he needs more competition for his place and guidance to eradicate mistakes to stop him being targeted and exposed.
“What will not help is those with his best interests at heart burying their heads and pretending Alexander-Arnold does not need to improve at right-back.”
READ MORE: Massive Liverpool boost as midfield target presented at £20m discount amid serious club concern