Gary Neville believes Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold is now ‘the equal’ of Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne after his recent displays.
Alexander-Arnold, 25, scored a sensational late equaliser as the Reds earned a 1-1 draw with City on Saturday. The result left the Merseysiders third in the standings, a point behind the Citizens and two adrift of table-topping Arsenal. And it is shaping up to be a three-way race for the title in 2023-2024.
Much will depend on the clubs’ ability to keep their best players fit. Alexander-Arnold certainly falls into that category.
Primarily a right-back, he has featured in midfield for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Sometimes criticised for his defensive capabilities, there is no questioning his ability to find team-mates with pinpoint crosses from the right flank.
And it is this trait that has seen many pundits wax lyrical about the Liverpool-born ace. Neville is among them.
And, following the Etihad draw, he compared the England man to a player the champions have missed for most of the season to date.
“This is a sensational football player and a striker of the ball you just don’t see,” he said on The Gary Neville Podcast.
“City had a player injured today, Kevin De Bruyne, who is world-class in terms of delivery and striking of a ball and his pass. And Trent Alexander-Arnold is the equal of him and he’s a right-back.
“Not a traditional right-back but he’s a right-back, that’s where he plays.”
Jury out on Alexander-Arnold role
Alexander-Arnold and his best position have been the subject of much debate over the past couple of years.
His defensive ability has been found wanting on occasions, with Jeremy Doku causing him issues at the Etihad.
But a sublime right foot has led a few ex-players to suggest he is worth pushing further forward into midfield.
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher is one of them.
Back in the summer, the Sky Sports pundit eulogised about the defender, suggesting his old club did not need to invest in a new schemer.
“It feels like I’m watching a faster, more energetic player,” he told Redmen TV.
“I see some of the passes he plays from midfield and no matter who we buy – even if we bought Jude Bellingham – how much more could he do than what he does in midfield?”
Liverpool went on to sign Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton following those comments.
And it has meant that Alexander-Arnold continues to be deployed at right-back.
However, with a fluid system, he is often seen in midfield where he can add his skills to Liverpool’s attacking stars.
Whether or not he is on the same level as De Bruyne quite yet is open to debate.
The Englishman is seven years the Belgium ace’s junior and so has plenty of time to develop his game in the coming seasons.
De Bruyne’s expected return in the new year will be welcomed by all at City. He made prove to be the difference as the champions go for four in a row.