Trent Alexander-Arnold has admitted that Liverpool felt “rough” after deservedly losing 2-1 at Manchester United – but has backed his side to recover.
The Reds have endured a rocky run this season, with three wins from eight games raising concern over their progress. In particular, their trend of conceding first in games has caught the eye.
The 2-2 draw with Fulham at the start of the season not only carried that trait on from last season but also started a new run in which Liverpool fell behind first.
And the 2-1 defeat to Manchester United in August proved a low point for the Reds this term. United had lost their opening two Premier League matches, but the win over their arch-rivals sparked a turnaround.
For Jurgen Klopp’s side, the defeat exposed all their problems in a tough 90 minutes at Old Trafford.
Alexander-Arnold has now admitted just how hard the result against Man Utd was to take for Liverpool.
“That game was probably the big, bad game we had early on in the season, which was rough,” the right-back said. “I would say the result felt right because it’s what we deserved, but in terms of how we played we didn’t feel right on the pitch.
“It wasn’t natural, it didn’t happen for us, we really needed to look at ourselves after that. It was a humbling one.
“We’ve had meetings, and the emphasis in training has been on our system and how we need to play, where we need to be, the movement of the ball, becoming compact, defending well.”
Alexander-Arnold admits Liverpool issues
Liverpool instantly responded by thumping Bournemouth 9-0. However, the big win was not a turning point. They scraped past Newcastle 2-1 and then lost 4-1 to Napoli in the Champions League.
Indeed, Alexander-Arnold admitted that Liverpool had to go “back to the drawing board” after the trip to Naples.
The England international also commented on the unique schedule of the 2022/23 season.
With the World Cup and a subsequent mid-season break on the horizon, there are more Premier League matchdays squeezed in before the turn of the year. The Champions League group stage schedule also takes place in fewer weeks than normal.
England also have only one international break – in September – instead of the usual three towards the end of a usual calendar year.
“It’s hard because it’s been different to how other seasons start,” Alexander-Arnold added in an interview with Red Bull.
“Because normally you’ll have like three or four games in August, at the weekends, and then it’ll be internationals, then they’ll start to introduce the Champions League, then it’ll be another international.
“I always see the first part of the season as like three little blocks of four weeks with the internationals breaking them up, and each time you’ll play a little bit more football. Whereas now it’s like from the get-go you’re in at the deep end.”
Reds star in spotlight
Alexander-Arnold has not escaped criticism for his role in Liverpool’s on-field issues this season.
The right-back has continued to be highly effective going forwards with his goals and assists.
However, there continue to be question marks over his defending. And those conversations naturally translate into concerns over whether he should play for England.
Alexander-Arnold is in a peculiar predicament in that regard. Gareth Southgate cannot do without his attacking contributions, but certainly has better defensive right-backs in his Three Lions ranks.
It will therefore be crucial to see how the Liverpool man looks to improve that side of his game.
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