Premier League • England

Liverpool urged star who ‘can’t defend’ needs to move and be unleashed in another role

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson, Liverpool, February 2023

Frank McAvennie feels Liverpool are right to seek a new right-back, as Trent Alexander-Arnold “can’t defend” but “moving him into midfield is a good idea”.

Alexander-Arnold’s defensive capabilities have always been the weaker side of his game. That doesn’t tend to matter too much, as he’s one of the world’s best at creating chances.

The Reds full-back has provided 70 assists during his 267 games in the Liverpool first-team, along with 15 goals.

This season, Jurgen Klopp’s side have come under threat more often. As such, Alexander-Arnold’s abilities have been exploited by other sides.

Jamie Carragher identified that recently, calling the full-back “vulnerable”, as Liverpool have “not executed” their normal style this season.

Of late, the full-back has looked more confident. That’s as a result of him being utilised in a more advanced role, essentially playing as a midfielder.

In the space of four Premier League games in April, he provided five assists – he’d chipped in with only two all season before that.

With his success in a more advanced role, Liverpool seem ready to recruit at right-back. They’ve already identified Ajax youngster Devyne Rensch as a good addition to the side.

McAvennie feels Alexander-Arnold needs to move full-time

McAvennie feels Liverpool’s desire to add to the squad at right-back is the right thing to do, as he believes Alexander-Arnold shouldn’t be playing there and needs to remain in the midfield.

“Trent Alexander-Arnold should not be a right-back, he can’t defend,” he told Football Insider.

“He would cover because he is that way inclined. But you have got to have him in the team, moving him into midfield is a good idea.

“He has got the energy, the pace, the enthusiasm for midfield. Let the big boys like Thiago [Alcantara] control the midfield and push him out wide.”

McAvennie feels Alexander-Arnold is similar to David Beckham in his lacking defensive abilities, but feels his desire to impact games will stand him in good stead if he’s to move away from the back line.

“David Beckham was the same, could not defend but gave 100 per cent, that is what Trent will do.”

Moving Alexander-Arnold could bring Liverpool joy

Moving Alexander-Arnold full-time could be a good idea. He’s shown how good he is going forwards and he would then not be as heavily burdened with a need to do other things in his game.

That could benefit Liverpool both going forwards and in defence.

Indeed, moving the Englishman would give them an opportunity to replace him with a more stable defender. They would not need to recruit a full-back who is particularly adept going forwards, given Alexander-Arnold does that job so well.

The defence could become much more solid as a result of that, which seems crucial for them at the moment.

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