Liverpool star told he is a ‘different player’ if placed in unmissable pairing, as Klopp urged to keep faith

Trent Alexander-Arnold, October 2022

Trent Alexander-Arnold looks a “different player” for Liverpool when captain Jordan Henderson is in the team, according to two pundits.

Right-back Alexander-Arnold has come in for fierce criticism this season, especially amid his England struggles. While his attacking qualities are there for all to see, Gareth Southgate has concerns over his defending.

And that has led the Three Lions boss to definitively claim that he prefers Kieran Trippier at right-back.

However, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has said that he sees the situation differently. He counts on Alexander-Arnold for his attacking attributes, which were on show again on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old netted a brilliant free kick to open the scoring against Rangers in the Champions League. And he made a number of key passes while contributing to several attacks.

According to Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen, though, it is Liverpool captain Henderson allows Alexander-Arnold to perform at his best.

“With the ball he’s [Alexander-Arnold] a magician, the numbers he’s putting up in recent seasons have never been seen from a full-back in this country,” Ferdinand said on BT Sport.

“In that sense, he’s the modern full-back. Where he has been questioned, is in defensive positions and I think he’ll be honest enough to say there is a part of that and there have been lapses in concentration and things he can clean up on.

“But where he does go and vacate was very much protected by Jordan Henderson and I think that factor there plays into him performing his best when he’s Trent Alexander-Arnold.”

Pundits laud Henderson for Alexander-Arnold impact

Owen added that Henderson “was filling in” for Alexander-Arnold “every time he went forward”.

“To have that insurance behind you when you’re going forward must be a great thing,” the pundit added.

“He gets in forward positions and that means there’s a gap there but when someone’s plugging it, it means he doesn’t have to worry about what’s behind him and that’s key.

“If he’s got Jordan Henderson in the team, I think we see a different player.”

Klopp defended Alexander-Arnold and Liverpool’s overall defending as they went on to beat Rangers 2-0.

Henderson also spoke post-match and insisted that he “didn’t have to cover too much” for his right-back.

Liverpool will look to take their momentum into Sunday’s massive Premier League clash away at Arsenal.

Liverpool vs England truth still clear

As far as Liverpool are concerned, they will be over the moon about their performance on Tuesday.

They dominated all game against their Scottish opponents and it was only a third clean sheet of the season, following their 9-0 win over Bournemouth and 0-0 draw at Everton.

And their change of formation to a 4-2-3-1 also helped. It offered Alexander-Arnold more protection, with the right-back able to focus more on his attacking.

It also gave Henderson an even more defined role alongside Thiago Alcantara in midfield, which kept the pair on their toes.

But, Southgate will still have his concerns for Alexander-Arnold on the England stage.

It is clear that Southgate will never truly fancy him until he focuses first on his defending, which – quite frankly – will never happen given his role with Liverpool which comes first for him.