Premier League • England

Liverpool target new right-back signing with role change for Trent Alexander-Arnold to leave Xavi’s Barcelona dream in tatters

Trent Alexander-Arnold Liverpool star linked with Barcelona

Jurgen Klopp is reportedly ready to turn his focus towards signing a new right-back this summer after deciding Trent Alexander-Arnold should now fulfil a different role for Liverpool.

There is no doubting Alexander-Arnold’s technical ability in a Liverpool shirt. His eye for a pass, technique and crossing ability make him one of the best right-backs in modern football. However, on too many occasions his defensive abilities have proven his downfall.

Indeed, his form has been the subject of much debate for a couple of seasons now. To that end, Jamie Carragher insists Liverpool won’t win another trophy again unless they sign an upgrade for the star.

However, Klopp has seemingly come up with an inventive way to get the best out of the player. Over the last two games, Alexander-Arnold has operated in a new hybrid role which sees the player move into midfield when the Reds have possession. And only when Liverpool lose the ball, or have to defend does the 24-year-old revert to his more orthodox role.

The new position worked to its brilliant best on Monday night when Leeds were put to the sword 6-1. And Alexander-Arnold often gave them a midfield overload with his underlapping movements causing the Whites all sorts of problems. It was little surprise they finished the game with 73% possession; Leeds’ lowest since that sort of data was recorded.

Now Klopp is reportedly planning a more regular move into midfield for Alexander-Arnold.

And in order to bring the plan to fruition, Klopp reportedly wants to sign a new more orthodox right-back to take his place.

That’s according to Football Insider, who claim Klopp has now ‘turned his attention to signing a new senior right-back’.

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Liverpool keen to sign new senior right-back

Described as a ‘surprise twist’, Klopp reportedly plans to use Alexander-Arnold far from frequently in midfield.

And with the Reds boss seeking fresh ideas and legs in his engine room, ‘TAA’ could find himself operating there on a more permanent basis.

In order to bring the plan forwards, Klopp now feels the need to sign a new right-back.

Quite who that new player will be remains to be seen. Liverpool have this week been linked with a move for Ajax’s Jurrien Timber, who can certainly operate there. However, he is seen as more of a central defender.

Nonetheless, reports have indicated his girlfriend is ‘house-hunting in Liverpool’ ahead of a prospective move.

Whether Liverpool do move for him or not remains to be seen. The club, however, does have James Milner and Joe Gomez on their books, who can also operate there if required.

Barcelona to fail in Trent Alexander-Arnold pursuit

Criticism of Alexander-Arnold earlier this month had heightened speculation of a move away from Anfield.

Now reports in Spain on Thursday have claimed Barcelona are one such club looking to prise the 18-cap England star away.

The Catalonians are currently top of LaLiga and on the cusp of ending their four-year title drought. But they have done so without a regular right-back in their side.

Indeed, Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo and Sergi Roberto have all been used there in periods this season.

Now reports claim Xavi wants a ‘pure right-back’ signing – with Alexander-Arnold thrust into the headlines.

However, the article admits prising the player away from Anfield will be difficult.

The Reds will demand a €80m (£70m) fee for the star, which is far beyond what Barcelona can afford anyway.

Furthermore, with his new role rejuvenating and reinventing the player on Merseyside, Klopp will absolutely have no intention of listening to offers for the star anyway.

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